The World Cup Is Nigh

Being on the wrong side of the 30s, I sometimes wish that I was younger. Maybe have ten years shaved off my life clock. Yeah. That would be good.

And then I remember 1983. June 25. World Cup final.

Dancing about as the radio announced the demise of King Richards in front of India’s mighty flower-arrows of Madan-Dev, dying a hundred deaths as Dujon and Marshall soldier on, inching closer to the target of 183. And then those final moments of disbelief as Mohinder Amarnath starts running to the pavilion.

No I would not exchange youth for that experience, being born in 1985 would not have been worth the extra ten-years. Being old enough to be able to understand what we had seen in 1983  was like having been alive on August 15, 1947, a privilege few generations get. Not that we realized it then, but that day we had witnessed the start of a revolution, not just in the history of the sport but also in that of the nation.

Even today, I can barely manage not to feel something welling up in my throat as I watch on Youtube those golden summer moments of long long ago—–Damn, is it me or was the world just more young and innocent then?

If 1983 taught a seven-year old the power of prayer, 1987 taught the same young man the agony of disappointment. The Reliance World Cup was being held in the sub-continent and India was a firm favorite according to Sportsworld, Sportstar and Sportsweek. Which meant I was sure they would win, in a thrilling final versus Pakistan at the Eden Gardens, where I visualized Kapil Dev hitting a six off the last ball after coming to the stadium riding his trusty BSA-SLR. The campaign started off badly with a one run loss, when Maninder Singh would lose his head, characteristically, against the “death bowling” of an young Aussie making his name in the world. Someone called Steve Waugh. But then India righted itself, rolling through the preliminary matches with a new star emerging ( a man who we later realized had been mined in the depths of the “Mount Doom of the English language and humor”), a man who would be come to known as Navjyot Singh Sidhu, who was making a stunning comeback to the team after a horrible start in 1983. Unlike in 83, I was following other teams this time, reflecting my interest in cricket in general—appreciating David Houghton’s one-man show against New Zealand in an innings of matchless heroism,  Abdul Qadir’s last-over pyrotechnics against “spirit of the game” Courtney Walsh ( my uncle kept repeating at my side “Of course they will win the close games. They eat beef you see”) and Richards blasting the Sri Lankan bowling like he was teeing off against the Dover Lane local team.

This was all well and good. But ultimately India ‘s winning was the most important. It was kismet. I was confident with the healthy optimism that pre-teens seem to possess. After all had I not prayed my team to a win in 1983? My faith was further strengthened when in the last prelims match against New Zealand, Sunil Gavaskar unleashed carnage against Ewen Chatfield and John Bracewell of the kind Yusuf Pathan would find tough to match with the mentor of the Chennai Super Kings and the patron saint of Murali Vijay also blazing away with solar intensity.  This team rocked.

Even in the semi-final when Ravi Shastri kept getting swept by Graham Gooch (Kapil kept the field open so that Gooch makes a mistake—he never did) to a century, I was still sure we would win. After all, Ravi Shastri was the Champion of Champions, whose big poster selling Proline Tshirts plastered in front of “Amrita Bastralaya”  (the official supplier of our school uniform) never failed to make me go wink-wink (He was dating Amrita Singh then–Amrita–Vastra…get it?) confirmed his all-round grooviness. The first sign of panic was when Phil Defreitas sent Sunil Gavaskar’s stump walking (his last international appearance). And then India imploded. Against the run of play, with the match in balance, Kapil Dev hoiked Hemmings straight down mid-wicket’s throat. When Azhar fell , missing one of his trademark paddle sweeps and then finally Shastri holed out, I remember sitting in front of my Telerama color set, my head in hands, weeping uncontrollably.

I learnt a few lessons that day. The world could be cruel. And God may not exist. After all, who but the Devil would have a England-Australia final at the Eden Gardens?

1992 the World Cup went to Australia. My board exams were on. With parents leaving to go somewhere, I cheated on studying to watch India vs Australia. What a game it was, Azhar playing an amazing innings in a losing cause, a match that concluded with the amazing Srinath dancing thinking he had hit a six, when in actuality the ball had hit a headwind, not crossed the boundary, fallen down with the catch being also dropped. If only he had run. If only. But India did not deserve to win. New Zealand did, unleashing a totally new strategy that took everyone by surprise—-opening the bowling with the slow spin of Deepak Patel and the batting with a more sober version of Jessie Ryder—Mark Greatbatch with the genius of Martin Crowe beefing the middle. A New Zealand team with flair. Now isnt that a four leaf clover?

But alas New Zealand would miss the bus. On the day of a board exam was the semi-final between them and Pakistan. Around the thirtieth over, Pakistan was finished, being neutered by New Zealand’s dibbly-dobbly medium pace attack. As I was leaving for the exam, putting on my shoes, I remember still unable to concentrate on my studies.  Who was this tall Pakistani man batting? I have never seen anyone hitting like this,  shots murderous in their relentless intensity. The camera focused on the face. What a strange dude—- boredom writ large on his face, as if he just wanted to go to sleep. Not that I realized it then but a legend was being born in the cauldron of the World Cup, the Samuel Beckett of Pakistan, Mr. Potato-Head. For an Indian, it is always painful when Pakistan wins but the “lover of cricket” side of me applauded Pakistan —–there would be rarely a team that combined talent and madness all together like these people did. And 1991 was their greatest hour. You had to stand up and applaud.

1996 marked the birth of the modern one-day game. Jay and little Kalu set the standard of scoring in the first fifteen overs—-whereas 75 would be considered an excellent start, they made 105 the norm. The rest of the world was caught in the hellfire of their passing.

In Jadavpur University, I had become a pragmatist. It was that or becoming a Naxal. I chose the more difficult option.

I knew India had a good chance but I had come to believe that the side would let me down. After all it depended too much on one person. The man was in sublime form while the rest of the side was at its flimsy worst. No. I did not give them much of a chance. Did I tell you I was in college then? Yes I did. Which is why I wanted to think of myself as less of a “partisan fan” (that was sooo high school) and more a connoisseur of “good cricket”. Which is why I enjoyed Brian Lara’s sublime assault on Pat Symcox (one of the most genius innings one could see) that knocked South Africa out, Shane Warne’s ability to lift his team up when they needed him the most (in the match against West Indies) and Aravinda De Silva’s stunning strokeplay.

My heart was in control. Till the Bangalore quarter-final when Ajay Jadeja lit up the sky with fireworks. The crowd roared as the game became a gladiatorial spectacle. All pretense of being dispassionate was gone. I was seven again.

One of my geeky friends called me to ask a question while the game was on. I said “What’s wrong with you? Aren’t you watching the cricket “. He said “No”. Then as an afterthought, asked me “What’s the score?”. I said something like “238 for 6”. He asked “All out?”. I hung up the phone. I knew then and there he would go onto become a bigshot in the software business. He did.

Then of course the match started going bad. Just as Pakistan were psyching out India as they had done for a decade ever since Sharjah, an unlikely hero stood up. After Aamir Sohail pointed his bat at the crowd, Prasad charged in, sent his stumps flying and ran towards Sohail, pointing to the crowd. At that moment, Prasad would have won back PoK from Pakistan with just leg-cutters, so pumped up was he. So was I. It was a game no one, not even the man from Ghajini, could ever forget. Neither could they forget the next match. The Eden pitch was known to crack up under lights. Yet Azhar won the toss and fielded. The most devastating opening attack of the world was dismissed in an over. From that position, India blew it. Then the crowd did. Possibly the worst World Cup memories ever, made even worse by the fact that it followed  the heady rush of Bangalore. Damn. One should never get behind India. Never. I thought.

1999. I was just getting ready to leave for the US to do my PhD. When would I see cricket next? (Remember this was the pre-Sopcast days) In that gloomy state of mind, I sat down to watch the tournament, to see cricket for one last time. No mercy. One got to witness India’s capitulation to first South Africa (another peerless performance by the matchless Agarkar) and then the highly suspicious defeat to Zimbabwe, which I would like to believe was fixed because the alternative explanation, that they were really that bad, is even more painful to accept. India was disappointing throughout, and not even a victory against Pakistan alleviated the sense of gloom. Sure there was the Dada-Dravid jugalbandi against Sri Lanka, one of their finest moments together, and Debashish Mohanty (Orissa’s Sourav Ganguly—an Oriya man would beat up Chappell in 2007 for not playing Mohanty) giving the English a piece of his mind for two centuries of colonialism. But such priceless slices of time were too few.Way too few.

Disappointed, I again became the dispassionate aficionado waah-waahing over Shane Warne’s spell against South Africa, Gilchrist’s assault on the Pakistani bowlers in the final and slapping my forehead at South Africa’s moment of brain-frozen madness in the semi-final, reminiscent of Gatting’s ill-advised reverse-sweep in Eden Gardens twelve years ago.

In 2003, I was in Stonybrook. It was cold. Beastly cold. We Indians stayed on campus and we could not get Dish, the only people broadcasting the tournament. An application was made to the Stonybrook university cable to get the World Cup games. No luck. One of the graduate “dorms” had a dedicated room for “parties” where Dish could be installed. An application was made to the University to be able to use it. But the games started early in the dawn and the “room” was not available for booking then, as per Stonbrook regulations. In our application, the Indian graduate students said that “cricket was a religion for us” and US authorities are very worried about impinging on people’s religious rights. So permission was given.

In a room whose legal occupation limit was 60, there were often 100 people squeezed in.  Impassioned cheering. Hush hush said everyone. The cops would come. They didn’t. Three Pakistanis came though for the India-Pakistan match. They left at the end, in tears. I had never seen cricket in such a large group and it was an amazing experience, marred only by the lady who stepped on my knuckles (I was sitting on the floor).

An amazing experience because Far away from India, I was back home, with people who were as crazy as I was, united through a common madness. What would you call a bunch of  “mature” graduate students, who at a freezing 4 am in the morning,  go outside, and burst a coconut on the iced footpath  with one person, wearing a white towel, reciting a small prayer. Yes we did that. Just before the finals. It was another thing that the finals were a disaster of Titanic proportions. Zaheer Khan lost the plot in the first over itself, Srinath started bowling spinners and Ponting at one stage started laughing, his eyes squinting into that arrogant bully expression, as if he had tripped the lame kid on the sidewalk and was kicking away his walking stick. I could not finish the match—-there was a paper due and the very presence of the silent crowd made it unbearable. You could have scooped out the grief with a spoon. I left once Sehwag got out.

Things couldn’t get worse.

I was wrong. 2007 came. Greg Chappell, the Vishkanya of international cricket, did to the Indian team what mining companies do to tribal land. I paid USD 120 for the cricket package from Dish, applied for leave for the Sri Lanka game. I was lucky. I didnt go to the Caribbean, I had seriously wanted to.

What a loss would that have been.

But wait. Am I not old enough, finally, to go beyond this jingoistic fanboy-dom and appreciate the game just for its sake?

Naah. Not for the World Cup. When it comes along, once every four years, I become as partisan as I can be. Because , for me, it is not just another cricket tournament, one of the many the ICC imposes on us.

It is a thread woven in the magic loom of the mind which connects emotions and experiences, from the past to the present and out to the future in one continuum of punch-drunk warm fuzziness.

And so for a month I will chuck away my cynicism and put my lot behind the multi-billionaires who wear the blue uniform today. Yes they are as far removed as they can be from the amateurish simple men who won the Cup in 1983, as far removed as a thirty-five yearer can be from a wide-eyed seven-year old

But yet, at their very heart, they represent the same thing their predecessors did.


82 thoughts on “The World Cup Is Nigh

  1. Nice!! Very very nice!

  2. Not first, but then, possibly the first whose brain ran through close to three decades of world cup watching. Thanks Arnab. I relived my childhood over the past ten minutes.

  3. To be fair to Srinath, it was Raju who stopped in the middle of the pitch and started congratulating him. Srinath was actually telling him to run.

  4. waiting for ur detailed analysis of current 15, will they do it for us??

  5. I wish indian team gets into the football world cup

  6. A newspaper headline said on the day of the selection – “15 Men. One billion dreams.”
    Actually, they were wrong. It is only one dream.

  7. I relived the moments – you’re so good at this.

  8. @Mohan – you are right. Raju admitted this in an interview.

  9. Arnab,
    Made me relive my childhood…in some ways I regret the fact that I have grown up..want to be that 7 year old kid again and jump and cry with the team’s fortunes

  10. Man, Arnab, you do write well. How I wish I could write stuff like this “Greg Chappell, the Vishkanya of international cricket, did to the Indian team what mining companies do to tribal land” – super awesome. Salutes

  11. Why would you come to US and watch Cricket….Get a life mate

  12. GB,
    “I knew then and there he would go onto become a bigshot in the software business. He did.”

    Just curious. Was this friend Nandan Nilekani 😉

  13. brings back a lot of memories:

    a) kolkata bengalis saying in 1987 – “the bombay lobby forced the loss – Gavaskar throwing his wicket away, vengsarkar (the best in the tournament) not playing, chandrakant pandit getting out when he was not supposed to (!!) and ravi shastri batting uncharacteristically slowly without the booming sixers”
    b) Gavasker’s pathetic form in 1983 and me being sad throughout the tournament because of that
    c) srikanth’s brilliant square cut (was it roberts or garner) in 1983
    d) Mike Valetta – a man out of nowhere in 1987.
    e) sanjay manjrekar’s unexpected sixer of Marv hughes in 1992 and miandad’s guiding knocks throughout the tournament.
    f) 1996 was the worst – prabhakar’s spin bowling, sachin’s sad stumping against australia after the brilliant 100 and kambli’s useles tears at the end of it all
    g) 1999 – only thing that has stayed was dada’s batting and lance klusener
    h) 2003 – the best since 1983. brilliant sachin and superb bowling.
    i) 2007 – for me it was a whaddafuck tournament…i did feel happy for five secs when i saw chappell’s face but kicked myself immediately for being parochial…

    lets hope 2011 becomes the ultimate moment for the country when INDIA and the GREAT TENDULKAR get to lift the cup…

  14. i think u forgot to mention sachin when u are talking abt cricket World cup as usual n as expected from u dada fan being u are,WC 1996,WC2003 beolngs to him performance wise…..

  15. i am of the same age.. so went through the same WC experiences. 1996 Semis in Eden gardens and 2003 final still hurt.

  16. yaar dont dwell on cricket so much … it breaks my heart every world cup

  17. Brilliant writeup … the quarter final with pakistan where Jadeja plundered them and then Prasad roared give you goose pumps even now when you watch on youtube

    and you just sold me on buying willowtv $129 package for the world cup

  18. There is no chance of Indian winning World Cup this time. Team selection is completely wrong. Sachin should be omitted from the team. He is the vishakanya of the World Cup. He always disappoints when needed most.

    Following is the ideal Indian team for World Cup:

    R. Uthappa
    M. Vijay
    R. Dravid
    VVS Laxman (the greatest batsman in cricket history)
    S. Badrinath
    A. Rayudu
    T. Suman
    D. Karthik
    S. Sreesanth
    Vinay Kumar
    P. Ojha

  19. Kishor, even considering your penchant for making funny statements, this has to be outrageously funny. And please I am one of Laxman’s biggest fans, but its been ages since he has played an ODI, and we have seen Vijay turning out to be a Super Flop in S.Africa.

  20. 2007 was the Worst world cup of all, not just because India got kicked out early, but the entire tournament just dragged on and on, too many meaningless matches, and add to it, a final that was the height of ludicrousness.

    1987 i think was the best one,i saw that NZ-Zimbabwe match live in Hyderabad, the entire stadium was cheering for Dave Houghton, and when he fell, to a brilliant catch, there was silence. Also the NZ-Aus match at Indore, Steve Waugh bowling that final over, and pulling off an unlikely win. And of course can never forget the Aus-Pak semi final, as the favorites were stunned in front of their home crowd, first thanks to Steve Waugh, and then some great bowling by Craig McDermott.

  21. Sachin should not be selected at any cost for the World Cup. He does not have the mental capacity to withstand pressure situations and either gets out cheaply or fakes an injury (just like he recently did in South Africa). Sachin literally escaped the fury of Steyn and Morkel and faked some vague injury. He better claimed brain damage. But anyway that is a good riddance because younger lot are winning games for India in South Africa with their confidence and guts. Hope Sachin gets injured again before the start of the World Cup.

  22. Which is why I wanted to think of myself as less of a “partisan fan” (that was sooo high school) and more a connoisseur of “good cricket”.
    What can I say.. that thought immediately brought up memories of a guy in college trying his best to convince people around him that it really was ‘good’ cricket that he was after.

    Who would then nearly hit his hand on the fan when jumping around that India had won.

    Thank you for that memory 🙂

  23. Oh my gawd…I lived my childhood days…again…thanks so much…the Amrita Bastralaya made my day… 🙂

  24. I was the devil, I accept 🙂

    I am about the same age as you. 1987, the semis are going to start in a days time.

    Discussion among friends. “If Indians pray to their gods that they should win the world cup and Pakistanis pray to their god that they should win the world cup, who would win the cup? Wouldn’t god get confused”.

    Smart Alec in me answers, then God would put England and Australia in Final. Lo and behold.

  25. Beautifully written……. As a 1984 born, I appreciate the fact that you were there to see India being crowned World Cup Champions….. I console myself by saying I was born a WORLD Champion 🙂

  26. Great write up GB!!

    And everyone should just learn to ignore Kishor’s comment. He is the Rakhi Sawant of this blog. Just coming up with silly statements to garner attention.

  27. @Kishor
    you are a rock star. Keep them coming.

  28. Our selectors always ignore the fact that “History repeats”. In 1983 World Cup, a South Indian bowler (Roger Binny) took maximum number of wickets and a South Indian batsman scored (Srikkanth) scored maximum in the final, and a South Indian kept the wickets. Keeping these facts in mind, selectors should fill all the slots in the team with South Indians so that the same history repeats again and we win the World Cup.

  29. Wow! You brought a lump in the throat with the last line. You’ve spoken the language of so many cricket crazy fanatics, mine for sure. I so remember fluctuating between the alternating states of consciousness, being a smug aficionado one year versus the passionate-demonic-loyal fan the next. And the leaving after Sehwag’s wicket in ’03. You summed it all and brought a rear tear, which you would never think a blog post could bring about. Thank you!

  30. “Greg Chappell, the Vishkanya of international cricket”

    That is the single greatest line I have ever heard in my life!

    Totally agree with you. Although I was too young to even know what cricket was during the 1983 and 1987 world cups, I clearly remember 1991 and thereafter. Come world cup time, I am a 100% believer in team India.

  31. Nice writing……
    Half the team,including the elder Pathan are World Cup winners already,albeit the T-20 one!Sachin is the one who is yet to win one…..

  32. sheer brilliance..could relate to everything post 92

  33. Kishore anna is back ….. my favourite commentator from the south of the Vindhyas …. your comments are sometimes more hilarious than the blog itself .. 🙂
    One question though : Why so kind towards Pragyan Ojha ????

    WC is always a great time in life …… friends … pre match discussion … post match analysis …..

    BTW, I noticed in the 3rd SA Vs IND ODI, willow TV’s resolution is really good now. Infact you can get the Willow channel on Direct TV now.

  34. GB,
    If you paid only 120 USD for 2007 World cup package with Dish, I was robbed or you forgot the correct price. I paid 200 USD. I will never forget that unworthy expense. Having to watch Bangladesh and Ireland after IND & PAK went home was soooo painful.

  35. I did not pay for 2007 world cup.
    I will pay to see the 2011 one though. I have a feeling that India will do well and maybe, play at the Finals.

  36. @ GB
    At that moment, Prasad would have won back PoK from Pakistan with just leg-cutters, so pumped up was he…

    Excellent quote sir …

    2003 was the first world club for me when there was no pressure of studies, exams and assignments .. so enjoyed it to the full .. and it was painful to loose the near yet so far… But then sachin hitting caddick and shoiab for a six still thrills me….

    Sachin getting a century straight away after his father’s death in 1999 , javed miandad jumping against india in 1992 are some of the most amazing moments…

    @kishor ji

    Excellent team sirjee.. Please also include Sujith Somasunder in it [:P]

  37. I wonder if someone noticed this stat .

    Tendulkar has played in 5 WC till now.
    He was not opener in 92,99,2007 and we progressively floundered in these 3 editions.

    whereas ,

    He opened in 96 and we went in semi finals he opened in 2003 and we came runners up . We have shown progress in these two WC.

    In 2011 , he is given opener’s position again . so if we extrapolate we will WIN THE FINALS.
    i hope this come would be very poetic.

    (if someone already noticed this stat it may be more obvious than I thought, but this revelation occured to me only recently , and I am profoundly impressed by its profundity. [:)])

  38. Excellent as usual. We’d gone to watch the 83 finals at Dad’s friends’ place and came back ecstatic. In the middle of all the fireworks, my mom asks – “So who was playing?”. We still haven’t stopped laughing!!

  39. @Phani,

    I may be old but not THAT old to have Nilkeni as my batchmate. 🙂

  40. awesome. I was in a college when harbhajan did his thing on the day when my roommates were out to see Bhansali’s Devdas and I stayed back in the recreation room to watch the match with 100 odd sweating boys. 96 world cup I suffered a depression for few days! 2007 i lost money …enjoyed 2003!

  41. Some Nostalgic Moments January 20, 2011 — 3:40 am

    Salute Salute Salute…..just …what to say…hope u understand…..

  42. Had my ICSE Computer Science Paper on the day after India Sri Lanka semis in 1996 and the marks are still a blot amongst my ICSE and ISC scores. Marks after that are a blot anyway !!!

    And the beef eaters part … I guess it was an urban legend among most bongs. I never quite got the logic but good to know that people outside my family were saying the same thing.

  43. Vikram Reddy Kayathi January 20, 2011 — 4:20 am

    Simply Awesome. Revived all my memories of WC.
    And remember, the baseless rumors post WC on the winning team that Sanath has an iron rod in his bat in WC 1996, Pointing was on drugs in WC 2003. Funny though.

  44. Great writeup……My fav line abt the 1996 India vs Pak Match..”It was a game no one, not even the man from Ghajini, could ever forget.”

  45. You are “hopelessly” hopeful. Am trying best to be in safe zone(cynical when out, happy if winning)and not get hurt. Last time I cried was in ’96 with Kambli. Promised myself never again.IPL follows World cup. Its win win. Bad world cup -> great IPL. World cup win -> great IPL 🙂

  46. Take a bow. This ranks amongst your best!

  47. Excellent post…We being of the same age, it was as if you were writing from my memory:-). But, somehow I lost interest in ODIs a few years back. I guess the 2007 World Cup did it to me. I’m not even sure I’ll watch it this time.

  48. @ Prasun Banerjee
    “And the beef eaters part … I guess it was an urban legend among most bongs. I never quite got the logic but good to know that people outside my family were saying the same thing”.

    Its internalized fear….generally speaking.Bakhtiar Khilji, Direct Action day, Noakhali, 1971….the list is long and still being scripted. 🙂
    A lot of Bengalis have it….especially the educated ones.

    But its changing…and changing fast.
    One of the things that I suggest people to do, to remove the fear, is to walk with a saffron scarf alone, on Friday evenings in Metiabruz, Garden Reach or Tiljala.

  49. This is what I often do, rekindle my love for Cricket by thinking thru the World Cups. I do say LFC has taken over Team India for passion, but I guess there is no sport that can come close to Cricket when it comes to twists and turns. I still watch Cricket when India tours Down Under or South Africa or England but that will mostly be Test Cricket. Will try not to miss a session.

    Points I liked, your over all take on 1987 Reliance cup, the off colored Srikkanth in the semi finals, Kapil Dev’s typical hoick right under Gattings throat & presumably his moronic sentiments to drop Dilip Vengsarkar on the pretext of food poisoning, (just because he dint play the semis and finals in the previous event), just my Guess though.. & also with the 1992 Australian Chase orchestrated by Azar and the run out specialist Manjrekar (who for sure was and is not able to digest the success of Sachin and Dravid IMO)..more than anything else my being a family outcast for a good 15 days supporting Pakistan and predicting that Inzy is good enough to turn things around which he eventually did.

    Dint like the 96 WC so much as it was in India & the end was pretty bitter, though we just made to the super sixes, I enjoyed 99 better thanks to our resolve of making to the super six in spite of losing the first two matches and also Prasad’s performance against the friendly neighbor with his 5 for,

    2003 was obviously the best of the lot as India was really a dominant force, had expectations from 2007 & I felt the pain of an early Indian exit and some how relished the entire game of India V Bermuda to the surprise of the people back home and Predictably, our WC nemesis got the better of us to almost put to end our super 8 hopes..

    Hope after this event, we stop the absurd amount of One days we play and focus more on Tests coz even today, India is an outstanding Test team and a pretty good OD team & just an above average T20 outfit..

  50. Thanks Arnab !! Great post. Made me nostalgic…. Chetan Sharma’s hattrick in 87, Vinod Kambli’s tears in 96 semis and master blaster’s assault on Akhtar in 03 missed out though

  51. Take a bow GB. My vision blurred towards the end!
    BTW Dipta just wrote a book on WC. What about you? I shall eagerly await yours when you write it. Even game for an e-book. Will happily send money order to you for it!

  52. Hello Arnab,

    “the Indian graduate students said that “cricket was a religion for us” and US authorities are very worried about impinging on people’s religious rights.”

    Just too good.

    Brilliant post.

    It made even me, who’s hardly a follower of “the religion”, nostalgic. One of my enduring memories of 92 was Imran Khan kissing the ground at the end of the finals. Then, the legendary Bangalore match of 96 and of course, semi-finals at Eden Gardens.

  53. Wow ! I was born on the same year as you and i could relate to the post alphabet by alphabet.

  54. looser arnab how can u forgot sachin ,Man of the series in WC 2003,Most runs in 1996,2003 WC big time looser ur, u suck dada fan grow up see beyond ur religion n region ……

  55. @Utsav … Though there was one doubt that never got cleared … All other things remaining constant … the beef eating theory should have meant that Mohd Sporting would have won the majority of the Kolkata Football leagues. Actual situation was that it was dominated by Mohun Bagan and East Bengal except the periodic Majid Biskar and Jamshed Nasiri days.

  56. Yup, brings back a lot of memories.

  57. A great read…….Made me remember my first tryst with the World Cup as 4 year Old in 1992……..As an Indian fan we all feel every emotion that a Human being can feel during the World Cup. As a Bengali those emotions are a bit more exggerated than usual(like Yours)!

  58. We want regular posts during world cup from you analyzing everything 😀

  59. brilliant sir.. 1996 india-pak match made me realise how i ran on streets after india had won it.

  60. @ Prasun
    I doubt if Mohd Sporting had more M players than H players at any point after Independence. But I could be wrong.

    The test of the “fear psychosis” is always the, what we call is the “11 pm test”.

    Even the most stereotypical so called “secular”, “pro-Naxal”, “liberal”, “delusional”, “leftie” type will not allow his son or daughter to hang around her friends place in a M majority area after 11pm.

    The fear is real and the reasons are real.

    Only if it were courage for the same reasons.

  61. excellent!

    and yes they should officially declare 1996 ind-pak quarter finals as the best one day game ever!!!
    gr8 memories

  62. whats the meaning of Nigh
    Are you misspelled it with High?


  63. I remember the sad day in 1996 when the eden garden crowd halted the match…Lamentable day it was…

    Btw my book is going to be out soon 🙂 you can fin d the page and follow updates at:

  64. I had my board exams in 2003 and I remember how I used to plead to mom and cut back on some hours of sleep to watch Nehra dance down the wicket or Sachin sending Akhtar out of the stadium. I was in tears when Sachin got out in the final. I prayed that there be a bad light situation and match starts again. And I know I will pray again when the WC starts. I love football, I hate IPL but when it’s the Indian Team playing, tell me one negative thing and be ready to face my “raudra roop.” Just like so many of us.

  65. I remember having read Rantunga having been quoted as saying that he had received tons of letters of apology by Kolkatans stating that the all too lamentable event at the Eden Gardens was more in protest against the Indian side’s lack of pluck in the face of a disciplined Sri Lankan attack than against the Sri Lankans themselves.

    Having turned cynical ever since the match fixing scandal-which, I think, was hushed up since every single “cricketing star” had a finger in the pie as well as the head honchos who ran the show-I tend to think that Mohd. Fixer-ud-Din’s decision was something beyond an error in judgement.

    Wont bother to tune in this time around-but will catch a few glimpses when my equally cynical mother would tune in between her soaps “just to see how poorly India is fairing”;-)

  66. Superb ….. written like a true cricket fan !

  67. Amazing piece Arnab. I can relate to every word of that. I was a graduate student in 2003 too :P. The cops did come into the apartment we used to watch matches in… twice ! Once during Ind-Eng and then during Ind-Pak :P. Feels just like it was yesterday. Hope.. is what we live for. Hope that the greatest batsman since the Don will get a major championship trophy in his collection.

  68. and I also paid $199 to Willow tv for package 😀 in 2007. I just did not watch any matches after Ind-SL :(. Could have got an ipod with that money.

  69. How beautifully written GB!! Salute. The ending caused a lump in my throat. You must also do a SWOT analysis wrt teams sometime in February.

  70. Yes man, yes. Chuck everything else, it is the world cup, this is it! I can’t wait.

  71. An IPL insider, preferring anonymity, said: “No team was willing to take Ganguly since he is a pain when it comes to team harmony. Even after the auction, he has called all the 10 teams requesting to be picked.”courtsey–Hindustan Times

  72. GB,

    damn u..again! Pls stick to those posts on mithun and bollywood. At least they don’t cause these embarrassing lump-in-the-throat moments do.

    what can one say – u have the soul of a Shelley no matter how hard you try to imitate the desultory Swift.

    this was a gem: ‘It was a game no one, not even the man from Ghajini, could ever forget.’ 🙂

  73. We lost the hosting rights to the India England game 😦 ….. feel bad for my buddies who have been kissing a$$ in the office to get vacation time during that period …..

  74. I have the same feelings when I remember the World Cups I have watched…started from 1996(started taking interest in cricket only after 1992…was born in 1984 so missed the Indian win but hoping to witness it in my lifetime many times and hoping that this one is the first sighting 🙂

  75. Very nice article. Really hope is the one that unites all of us as far as the world cup goes.. hit me baby one more time…

  76. Hats off to you GB !! what a post…I have regained my interest in wc again after reading this post. Thanks…

  77. 2003 Schoumburg commons, I think. That match against Pakistan. I will never forget it. I am not much of a sports fan, but that was SOMETHING!! It is only the cricket world cup that I follow religiously.

    Arnab, thanks for the nostalgia trip. Right from 83 all the way to 2007. I confess, this was one of those lump in the throat moments.

  78. I don’t entirely get the Samuel Beckett reference to Inzi.

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