The Day We Won The Cup Once Again

It doesnt feel good to be 35.

Portion sizes need to be watched. Exercise is needed just to stay alive. Trusting someone else becomes difficult.

And, worst of all, people expect you to be responsible.

Sometimes though, it’s not all that bad. Being old that is. Because unlike many of you young tykes, I was there. On both THE days.

In 1983 I was old enough to understand  we had done something great. In 2011 I am old enough to understand why it is so.

Throughout the tournament, Dhoni had made some bizarre selectorial calls, mostly involving preferring almost everyone else, including Sreesanth, over Ashwin. (It was an ironic testament to Ashwin being chronically ignored that during the presentation when Ashwin’s name was called, Sehwag stepped up to receive his medal). But then for every misadventure in selection (which Dhoni to his credit has owed upto), he  had also captained well in the field, with aggressive bowling changes and field placements.

But my main concern was that, as India’s best ODI finisher and more importantly as the leader, he had not performed, not contributing in pressure situations in the way a World Cup winning captain should do. In order to win the World Cup, Dhoni had to lead through batting , bringing to the fore that one “leading from the front” performance that Kapil, Waugh, Ponting all provided as parts of their successful campaigns. Without his individual contribution in the  runs column,which had been lacking so far for some time, I just felt the final trophy would not be possible.

Well today, Dhoni played his Tunbridge Wells. During the match, I had tweeted how impressed I was when he came out ahead of Yuvraj—-it showed intent at  a “knife edge moment”. Intent though is one thing and execution is another and Dhoni was perfect. Best of it all,unlike what happened to that epic 175, there will now be video footage for people to rewind, review and say “I was there watching it live when it happened.”

If Dhoni became Kapil, Yuvraj, with his all round skills, became the Mohinder Amarnath, finding redemption, of the kind usually seen in sports movies, on the largest stage possible.

And then there was this other man, who had had a rebirth since 2007, the second highest scorer in the tournament, sitting on the shoulders of Yousuf Pathan, representing to me my favorite generation of Indian cricketers, one that sadly will never hold the Cup, resting with that one thing that had eluded him for so long.

There are some things that are so valuable that for them even Gods must wait a lifetime.

In 1983 hockey was the game of the country. Indian cricketers were paid a few pounds a day as daily allowance. None expected them to win anything. There were no corporate sponsors. Newspapers kept cricket confined to the sports pages.  Given all that, on a sunny day in June, a motley crowd of no-hopers scripted a fairytale, bringing down one of the greatest war machines that ever took the field.It would remain the greatest upset ever in the history of the game, a shock the equivalent of “shooting a bullet at a piece of paper and having it come back and hit you”.

As a seven year old, I had remembered jumping about in joy, understanding by looking into my father’s eyes that we had done something whose magnitude I could not comprehend.I felt great, as great  as I would feel when the first sugar rush of rosogolla would hit the tongue. And that was all that mattered.

June 25, 1983 changed India. That’s no hyperbole. It laid the foundation for the phenomenal growth of Indian cricket as a commercial enterprise. It brought a new generation (the one that now hold the cup) to the game of cricket as a career choice. In a more intangible way, for a country consigned to the list of “developing” (since the word “underdeveloped” was not politically correct), the victory taught us, to quote Indira Gandhi, that “India can do it.”

April 2, 2011.

Unlike in 1983, Team India were no longer long long shot underdogs. On the contrary they were one of the favorites, number 1 in Test rankings and number 2 in ODIs, both of them well-deserved. India, as an economic power-house, had changed dramatically from the 80s.

So had I. For me cricketers were no longer “heroes” whose pictures I would cut out and paste in my scrapbook. I have become too cynical for that. I still follow the Indian team, still want them to succeed but in a certain difficult-to-define impersonal way, maintaining a certain emotional distance from all of it. There are too many games, too many tournaments, too much corporate media babble of the “Bleed Blue” and “The Color of Passion Is Red” variety and too much money (either way–loss or victory) to believe that any of it makes a difference. I do get excited when India wins and depressed when they lose but for a moment only, after which I just shrug and say “Who cares?”

But when off the last ball, Dhoni brought out his iconic shot, the one he had kept in the freezer it seems for years and the ball sailed into the night,  it was back—– the tightening of the throat, the hint of moisture at the corner of the eyes.

Yes this one matters.

It matters because  it unites billions, all across the world, in one thread of pure emotion.

It matters because it makes us believe we are part of something bigger than our insignificant selves.

It matters because it creates a new pantheon of legends for a new generation.

It matters because of the broken dreams of those who could not attain it—-the Dravids, the Kumbles and the Gangulys.

It matters because it defines a milestone in our lives—one to which we can all turn to years later and say, misty-eyed, “Do you remember….?”.

And finally, it matters because it helps many of us realize something very important.

The seven-year old still lives.

130 thoughts on “The Day We Won The Cup Once Again

  1. First!

  2. Wish the seven year olds live on!

  3. Second

  4. second … was waiting for this post

  5. Loved the line : it matters because of the broken dreams of those who could not attain it—-the Dravids, the Kumbles and the Gangulys.

  6. Arnab, at my mother’s age, she’s lived through the days of Salim Durrani, Jaisimha and Chandrashekhar and grew up huddled next to the radio with her cousins, listening to cricket broadcasts on AIR. She was clapping like a kid when we won and it was a joy to watch.

  7. Even more special for guys like me who were not even born in 1983.
    We had to hear everyone claim how great 1983 was and how the current crop of players were useless. Now we have our own stories to tell.

  8. I will remember…

  9. A very significant post from you in long long time :-

    best line “It matters because it makes us believe we are part of something bigger than our insignificant selves.”

    It’s the idea which if dwelled in people minds can bring lot of good.

  10. Could hardly wait to read your post on the win.

    As usual, you write this great post that makes the whole experience so emotional. As for me, I always had this emptiness that I hadnt witnessed a world cup win (born in 1984). So the feeling is inexplicable.

    And this post kinda relives the lump in throat feeling I got last night after the last shot. Loved the last few lines and most of all “There are some things that are so valuable that for them even Gods must wait a lifetime.” – Indeed.

    Thanks, Arnab. THIS now completes the World Cup experience for me.

    (PS: Awaiting IPL posts now:D)

  11. brilliantly written !

  12. Yes. 🙂 Feeling is mutual. I heard a couple of 11 year old kids yesterday, saying this is the best team in the world ever…I wanted to ask them about whether they heard of the team of Ganguly, Dravid, Laxman, Kumble etc which reached the finals, oozing talent way much more and facing one of the greatest teams of the century, in their prime. But they would have just started by calling me an uncle, which was a dreadful tho’t. So I kept quiet. 🙂

    We won. And I guess nothing else matters…

    Great piece…as ever.

  13. The seven year old indeed lives. In each one of us who watched the match. My take on the unforgettable day here

  14. As someone who belongs to your age group….hmmm……well…. kind of, this post totally resonates.
    And in response to “The seven-year old still lives.”, all I can say is…….Hells to the YEAH!!!

  15. Awesome post……your post precisely expresses what we all felt yesterday ..really loved it!!

  16. Eyes welled up again while reading this post– the last couple of paragraphs are pure gold!

  17. During presentation- Ravi Shastri had said alphabetical order and Sehwag had thought batting order…
    He had nothing against Ashwin 🙂

  18. Grandest feeling! I went to Salt Lake City centre at 12am in the night. People in their night dresses came out on the road with their thala-bati, potka, potaka et al. I have never seen so many people so excited and happy and euphoric. It was an amazing feeling to be with the great at midnight! We are now the “defending champions”! WHOA!!! Take that!!!!

  19. What a beautiful post. It seems like you wrote what i felt too. The victory does unite more than a billion people. Being out on the streets of Mumbai celebrating i realized what this sport can do to the people of India. Victory brought out the purest form of joy. 7 year old lives on. Shall always live and never grow old.

  20. Nothing much to cheer about this victory. It is just pure luck and fluke. It would have been more convincing had it come in 1999 or 2003 or even 2007 when Australia, South Africa, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka had dream teams. In 2011, Australia is a very weak team, can be called a minnow. England is at its worst. South Africa is strong, but New Zealand did India a favor by winning over South Africa. Also, lot of luck component involved here, like Sachin being dropped 6 times by Pak in semifinal, Sangakkara getting a mindfuck moment and not playing Ajanta Mendis and instead playing Murali who is not 100% fit. India just won this cup purely because of lack of other good cricket teams, not because it is a great cricket team.

  21. I just couldn’t help not send u this comment: this post is a gem as it touches the pure raw emotions of whole India – not of any particular section of people in India.
    I still remember that on that day around the end of the game, our locality was plunged in darkness – load shedding!!! – So we had to bring out the battery-operated transistor! As it was too hot in the month of June, we were all in the verandah listening to the cracked reception from the transistor, But u kept on telling me “maa sheet korche” ( ma, I am feeling cold!) – and I mistook ur tensed feelings to be the sign of u coming down with fever!! Strange it may sound to u but I still remember vividly the detailed facial expressions of that seven year old.

  22. I was not even born when India won it for the first time but ever since I understood the game, I became a big fan like thousands of kids of my age. In 1996 when the WC was played in the sub-continent, I followed it ardently… It was a semi-final heart break in the hands of the marauding Lankans in the Eden Gardens that still hurts… 1999 was okay. We could not do much other than beating Pakistan. 2003 was different… Dada was dynamic… Sachin was playing well… Srinath, Nehra, Kumble were clicking… Fielding was terrific… The team was gemming well. But we could not scale the final frontier… and it was very difficult for me to accept the way we lost… I lost all my interest in the game. Maybe I distanced myself… I converted myself from being a passionate fan to a cynical fan… Eight years went by… The 2007 WC debacle only reinforced my cynicism… 2007 T20 WC did some good but IPL and everything else made it an overdose… I was cynical again about our chances for this WC… Deep inside I always wanted us to win but I did not want to hope for that win… Maybe I was too selfish about safe guarding my own interests… I was too scared of that heart break of crashing out or losing again… Bt this time my heart was going to be healed… 1996 & 2003 were going to be avenged… and we did that… I had tears in my eyes when Dhoni hit that final six… I dint know how to react… but I am sure that was one of the happiest moments of my life.

  23. Guys, one of the commenters in this post (I wont even mention his name) deserves a royal ignore. Please let all of us ignore that person

  24. man you’re the voice of a generation. am thirty-three and remember the ’83 and everything you said. till that last six i didn’t even realise that i was going to weep and believe like i did in that ’98 sharjah.

  25. @Kishor you hate the world because you hate yourself.

  26. What is that which is not significant when it comes to 1983 Victory.. All that matters here, mattered in 1983 victory too…

    “Yes this one matters.

    -It matters because it unites billions, all across the world, in one thread of pure emotion.

    -It matters because it makes us believe we are part of something bigger than our insignificant selves.

    -It matters because it creates a new pantheon of legends for a new generation.

    -It matters because of the broken dreams of those who could not attain it—-the Dravids, the Kumbles and the Gangulys.

    -It matters because it defines a milestone in our lives—one to which we can all turn to years later and say, misty-eyed, “Do you remember….?”.

  27. AG,
    Thanks for your timely advice. I started something in response to this person but I agree, ignoring is the right thing to do. And come to think of it, I actually had found this person mildly funny at times in the past!

    Arnab, great post! Quite different, original and nostalgic as compared to many that I read in the past 24 hours. I was telling a friend of mine yesterday that oh great, we won’t have to read about 1983 any more for some time but indeed, 1983 was a turner in many regards; yesterday’s was more of a feel good continuance.

    WC 2011 also gave us some of your many interesting posts.


  28. Great post GB…have been waiting since whole day to read and relive the moments…it’s really a dream come true

  29. A truly momentous moment indeed.. I cant talk percentages but a sizable percent of the world came together and celebrated this grand event, surely the most rapturous triumph to be celebrated, whether pertaining to sport or not..

    And we have been waiting for such a long time, the heart break of 1987 is still very fresh in my mind; then after the draining QF against Pakistan, the men in then blue folded rather meekly to the novelty of the Lankans in 1996.. the come’on India dekhado song of 99 is itself a jinx and we had very little take away from 99 though I enjoyed the victories against England and Pakistan.. 03 was special, never did I see a team run like the way India did in the competition and in the end Australia was too good for them on the day and were deservingly the winners… 07 was a guru Greg special and the team was in total disarray.. I can proudly say that like many others, I have been predicting before months that irrespective of the form this had to be India’s event for one single reason, justice to Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, my heart did sink when he was dismissed, but doing it for the man was so very important and I knew the gen next brigade will definitely make a match out of it and so they did, Dhoni’s place is forever chiseled in greatness after yesterdays knock in case it wasn’t already.. I was personally worried of his form and though he was not a white elephant like the way Ganguly was between 2004-07, he still had to be among the runs as I knew he was probably the country’s second best finisher behind Yuvi..

    And Saurabh I agree with your observations, my cousin is a journalist and she was all set to prepare her editorial about the likely debacle of Team India when I asked her to stop her jottings citing the very much where Gambhir and Kohli chased down a bigger score..

    and as ever, his post match Interview as a gem, but I fantasized Dhoni making a speech which was very similar to GB’s “It matters because…”conclusion (more like Obama’s speech on hope, then those words would have been immortal..)

    I look back at my life and realize that I have not achieved anything greatly significant but something tells me that there is more to come, am not sure if its the best thing or it’s just the self hallucinating insane hope, but as long as there is some hope..I dont care..

  30. Dhoni’s knock is in some aways even better than Kapil’s 175 – which is not take anything away from the great man’s greatest knock in any way. Consider this, SL is a vastly superior opponent compared to Zimbabwe and Dhoni as a batsman entered the field with very poor recent batting form. But the most important difference is the unimaginable stress levels the man must have been under – this was a world cup final in a cricket-mad country of 1.2 billion and nothing less than winning the cup was deemed to be sufficient. Just read Dhoni’s press conference in cricinfo about how stressed out the entire team was leading up to the world cup and through the tournament. Of course, they earn a lot of money and fame, but i really pity these guys – what an enormous burden the fan’s expectations and the overhype by the media is placing on them – it is completely uncalled for.

    But back to the point – One has to grasp the above context to truly appreciate the enormity of the knock. As an Indian fan raised through the nineties when our team used to crumble under a fraction of this kind of pressure, this is the moment of redemption.

  31. You are right Arnab_da, you were 7 so you understood how cricket is played, but I was only 3. And we would get a black & white TV only 2 years later. My father was excited too, but I don’t remember much. I do however, remember a certain 13th March, Eden Gardens when a certain D’Silva pounded us and I, then a lad of 15 who has to write ICSE Economics paper the very next day, felt that we as a nation were betrayed and regardless of the charade down there, it was still very much our cup. Why, didn’t somebody score 546 through the tournament, didn’t somebody claim 15 wickets? I didn’t know that the pain would be even worse 7 years later. But on that night, it was Sri Lanka, and yesterday, DID WE AVENGE OURSELVES, ARNAB_DA?

    P.S. : Kakima bhaalo aachen?

  32. What an irony. Sachin played superbly in 1996 and 2003 and we didn’t win. In 2011 he is avarage and we lift the cup. He only won 1 MOM award and that too he didn’t deserve. Pls don’t defend by saying that he is the second highest run getter in WC. Jonathan Trot also scored tons of run.

  33. This as such a heartfelt post that even a non-cricket person like me could feel the emotion. I was confident that this will have no party poopers….ouch. But who can predict human nature?
    I have no cricket memories but I remember my parents being very happy and Ma making some payesh the next day. It’s good to be simply happy sometimes.

  34. I was born 2 days after we won the cup in 83. I am no pundit but this must be the result of planned hard work of 3-5 years. And boy the way we played in the finals. I was a bit ashamed of myself of writing them off so early. Not only in sports, I always tend to carry this habit everywhere. But this game teaches us so much. They all are so mentally fit and they all showed that in every game of this tournament. I watched it live on TV. When history was in the making I watched it. Yeah! m/

  35. Brilliant…sort of echoes my thoughts…I am 36 and have undergone a similar journey

  36. You loser

  37. well written

  38. dhoni dhoni dhoni….the greatest captain of all time

  39. @bland_spice: Yeah, and you are Sigmund Freud. Right! Nothing wrong with what Kishor said. But full credit to Dhoni-who rose to the occasion and came good on leadership. Zero points to all sycophants who have credited with Sachin fro the cup. He did diddly squat with the bat in a crunch final. One feels bad for Dravid, the Wall and true gentleman, who could have made one final appearance in 2011, but for that vile douchebag Vengsarkar and other assorted turds in BCCI.

  40. My sentiments, your words!

    After 1.5 days of celebrations, a well connected friend from India called me! I longed for a clean win as much as any other cricket fan but I was a told it was a fixed match!

    I had read a lot of tweets making eerily accurate predictions before and during the match. SMS considered April fools day pranks became evidences of a real conspiracy but I shrugged the off as coincidentally correct. Denial? Loyalty or Naivety?

    “The trophy was bought. The governments were involved. bookies facilitated it. Advantages were many- diversion from core issues, mass manipulation, induced dismayedness in the neighboring regions and an euphoric nation forgetting its reality. Nobody did it for Sachin – It was done for political and financial reasons. ..” It was like listening to a reading from some Dan Brown novel.

    I don’t know man!

  41. Omg, the post brought tears to my eyes! This goes out to Kishor who in that last post said India would not do it and I still believed. I still believed even when Sehwag and Tendulkar were done for. My friends across the globe were emailing as we watched the match together across time zones. They didn’t think we would but I just kept thinking its time, its time!! And we did – one of the happiest moments of my life 🙂

    Lovely post Arnab – really lovely – thank you for encapsulating what most of us are feeling even now,

  42. Loved the way Dhoni won it….The Helicopter shot!!! Pepsi guys must be jumping up and down with Joy.

  43. Well written, as usual. This was the best day of my life!! 1983 was always the most special memory.I was 7 as well.This supersedes that. Wish I was back home to partake in the celebrations.

  44. How about a line of apology for the cheap snipes in earlier posts about Dhoni? Do ten sit-ups holding your ears and repeat that Dhoni is the best, better than Dada. He deserves his commercials for Sony Bravia, Maxx phones, Aircel, Reebok with Bipasha and countless others that will no doubt follow.

  45. GB…. 🙂 🙂 🙂
    Once it all settles down, do you want to have a dada V dhoni debate?
    i am a die-hard fan of both but you are not.Can we???

  46. the expected shmancy, hyperbolic post (here you’ve outdone even yourself haven’t you). arm chair bhashan dene waalahs like you are a pain – suddenly you bring out the whole dhoni would have to do his bit to make this a real kapitan’s victory etc. bit – sheesh! after levelling all that pedestrain criticism at him,one would wish you had the basic decency to eat humble pie with some grace par nahiiii…you live up to the standards I have come to expect of your blog of late.

  47. I share your feelings for the ’83 feat. It was a landmark for 5-10 year olds when things, even if not very clearly comprehended, remain as indelible watermarks.

    I recall, several years later, in my algebra class the teacher scribbled on the board, 6x + 4y = 100, and quipped, there is no unique solution to such an equation!

    I instinctively remembered one sublime solution that was etched in my mind forever, Kapil’s 6*6 + 4*16 = 100 just out of boundaries and over-boundaries in his epic 175.

    This win, even if not so sensational, is equally memorable.

  48. @moi…haha..well said
    i loved the twirl of the bat aftr that six as if he was telling his critics “see where the ball has gone, now go fetch it”

  49. Arnab, at my mother’s age, she’s lived through the days of Salim Durrani, Jaisimha and Chandrashekhar and grew up huddled next to the radio with her cousins, listening to cricket broadcasts on AIR

    If your mother is from Chennai we would have taken the same bus to college, but different colleges! If she is from Kolkata, I am sure we met on one of my numberless visits to the city from the late 50s! If she is from Dilli, etc., and so on…You get the idea!

    In 1983, we set to watch India play WI. It was downhill all the way after Srikkanth’s collaring of Andy Roberts that I went away with my cousin to watch a movie – starring none other than the one and only – bemisaal – thalaivar, superstar, Rajinikanth! My dad assured us on our way out, “Don’t worry, the ball is swinging so much that WI will struggle.” When we returned, WI had just opened, and presently even the great Gordon Greenidge was all at sea, till Sandhu bowled him out with a booty hammering inswinger, prompting my father to turn around with an “I told you so, see?” To cut it short, my father predicted the fall of three wickets and uncannily reading Raichards’s mistimed heave to Kapil. When the last wcket fell, we woke up my cousin “You’ve got to see this.” But yesterday I was on the road, but still checking the score on my smartphone. And when I saw the score at 228/4 with 8 overs or so to go, I knew we had it made. When I checked it again to see 260/4, I knew we had it made. And then at 277/4 I was ecstatic.

    If you are trying to be funny, you aren’t trying hard enough. If you aren’t trying to be funny, and trying to be serious, congrats, you do sound utterly funny.

    It would have been more convincing had it come in 1999 or 2003 or even 2007 when Australia, South Africa, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka had dream teams. Except that we have whipped Paki wazoo every time in the ODI world cup. A dream team, is the team that wins the cup. This time, ours is the dream team.

    In 2011, Australia is a very weak team, can be called a minnow. England is at its worst. South Africa is strong, but New Zealand did India a favor by winning over South Africa. That’s why Australia lost only one match in the league. England we didn’t play at all. I wonder how SA did us a favor by losing to NZ, because NZ lost to SL, and in turn SL lost to us! So maybe SL, also did us a favor by losing to us, just like Yahya Khan did us a favor by losing to us in 1971!

    Also, lot of luck component involved here, like Sachin being dropped 6 times by Pak in semifinal, Sangakkara getting a mindfuck moment and not playing Ajanta Mendis and instead playing Murali who is not 100% fit. India just won this cup purely because of lack of other good cricket teams, not because it is a great cricket team.

    Also Dhoni had a mindfxxx moment, calling the toss right at first and then letting Sangakkara call again, and then losing the toss and completing the biggest successful finals chase in World Cup history, even better than Ranatunga’s chase in 1996! Also Dhoni had a mindfxxx moment in not playing Ashwin, instead playing the Kochi Kook, so maybe it was a fluke SL scored 275. If Ashwin had played Sl would have scored barely 200? Kishor, you shd crawl back under that rock you crawled out of.

  50. The real test will be 2015 world cup which will be held in New Zealand/Australia. Forget about winning, India can’t even find a single batsman fit enough to hold the bat after the initial matches because of the bounce and pace of the pitches there. Let us see if India can cross the league stage in that tournament.

  51. By far the best thing about the win was that Sachin idn;t have to carry the team. He was just another member, not the lynch-pin.

    Also, Dhoni’s single greatest quality is the same one that is found in the best project managers or corporate leaders – a preternatural ability to exude calmness and stability at all times. This quality doesn’t always work, and can lead to complacency at times, but when it does, the calmness percolated down to the team and helps everyone see clearly. Staying calm under pressure is a very rare quality. Very few of us have that.

  52. Good post… As a cricket fan I too loved the last 3 Indian matches in the cup.

    Yet, I am unable to empathise with the larger-than-life role you give to cricket and to this victory. In facebook too, I have seen several things ranging from rants against Aus / Pak and calling for Ashwin as a Tamilian to demolish the Lankans and avenge the ‘genocide’. But after all its only a game!

    Yes, it does captivate during the match and for a few days before and after. But its too much of a stretch to call it a history changer in any way. After all, if we lose to Bangladesh a few months hence, people will be back to targeting Dhoni’s house!

  53. Brilliant, as usual. I wish some of our high profile journos could write like that. At the moment some of the blogs are much better then the content in mainline newspapers!

  54. @Kishor
    Indian batsmen find it difficult on bouncy tracks and Aussies find it difficult on spinning tracks. 1-1. Amen.

  55. Awesome win indeed. ! Just awesome! Whatsoever you say about this team being strong and that bowling attack being the best or whether India does deserve this win, THE FEELING of OUR country winning the cup, the ultimate prize, is beyond imaginable!!!!!! And I am sooooo thankful that our generation got this chance to feel it first hand. It is a real honor, in every sense!!

    Congrats all of you!!!!!!!!

  56. i was 7 too when ’83 happened. india was the underdog then. some derided the win by calling it a fluke. but in ’11, india was among the favourites. A good parallel to the country’s general progress from a socialist basket case to an economic powerhouse. There’s still a lot to achieve, problems to resolve, discords to settle. But all that can wait. This is the moment to soak in the victory.

  57. @eswami- There are two ways to live our lives- one in a cynical way doubting all good things on this earth (which may not be wrong, mind you, only joyless and useless IMO) and two in a way in which we give ourselves lots of chances to be happy and to let simple joy gladden our hearts once in a while, without being cynics. What you are saying may be true, may not be, but Ill not let happiness pass me by! Not this while, no!

  58. Hey guys, stop feeding the Kishor troll. He’s just grumpy because Sreesanth got carted all around. 🙂

  59. Sonia breaked protocols to enhance the Jansampark after the win. She hopes indians will forget the corruption & food inflation and again vote her to loot the nation.

  60. Yeah! greatbong, it does matter, for whatever it takes, this is one of these i was there day, & more than anything it matters because now there will be no “but” infront of a man [SRT] who has been singularly responsible for, collective yet intensely personal joys of our lives

  61. Kafan Chor Neta April 4, 2011 — 5:37 am

    Dhoni made the whole sri lankan team look like a “latakta circus”.

    Virat reminded the Sri Lankans “pita pe poot , kandho pe ghora , kuch nahi to thora thora ”

    Gambhir showed “how machis ka tilli innings can be made lamba as a khamba” by coming to Mumbai “delhi se billi ka doodh pike”

    Yuvraj had only one thing to say in his concluding innings , “do , char , chey , aath ,….dus …bus”


    After 28 long years ,… I believe if there was any apt representation of what I felt about our team .. you nailed it down with your post. Amazing stuff as always Arnab. Its a proud feeling for the entire GUNDA community as well since Bulla kept the doors of cricketing success always “kulla”.


  62. ” For me cricketers were no longer “heroes” whose pictures I would cut out and paste in my scrapbook. I have become too cynical for that.

    I do get excited when India wins and depressed when they lose but for a moment only, after which I just shrug and say “Who cares?””

    You have spoken like a true fan , a fan who has weathered the utmost lows of the beloved sport of india. I am sometimes ashamed to call myself a cricket fan, wat after all the humiliation, loss to the zimbabweans , matchfixing scandals, cash rich league. But 2nd of april was the rebirth for me, the 2nd coming. No one knows what bleed blue means, perhaps the blue blooded people might.. Another misty eyed Indian fan

  63. Ashadharan!!

  64. @kishore..

    Can you recollect who won the last ever VB series on the Australian Bouncy tracks? the contributors to that series were Yuvraj Sing, SRT of course, Rohit Sharma and Gautam Gambhir in the batting department..

    forget that, the nation waited for 28 years and some of the passionate were unfortunate enough not to survive and see the triumph & you talk about Indias chances in the next world cup.. so much changes in four years..

    you are talking about a freakn world cup, half the test playing nations have not won it, Enjoy the moment mate, dont get crappy analysis to the fore..

    For a side that went to the finals on 03 in South Africa and more recently won the VB series, surface should nt be a problem anyways..

  65. @Satyen: You don’t have to be Sigmund Freud to suggest someone to see Sigmund Freud. We won the world cup by defeating, post quarter final, the previous three world champions and you still think it is a fluke. By your definition, most of the members of the Indian cricket team are sycophants because they all dedicated the cup to Sachin. I wonder why. How I wish you were in my class in school or college… you would have been treated of your illness for free, without the need to go to Sigmund Freud.

    @Kishor: It’s alright man, life will get better one day.

  66. …that evening, when my 9 year old son watched in absolute amazement and put another little post in his wishlist with ‘i wanna be a cricketer when i grow up’, did the true meanings of ‘inspiration’ and ‘icon’ light themselves up…..and that is more than enuf!

    If those 11 players can hit a lil child with feelings of being inspired, what most of our education, social and cultural systems can’t ignite, it was a job bloody well done!

  67. Debasish Ghosh April 4, 2011 — 6:36 am

    Great post & glad that u spared cricketing details of the match, who cares about that as long as the CUP is ours.

  68. The best picture post world cup I saw was Kumble holding the cup in the dressing room and SRT cheering. The journey Ganguly started with them was finished by a man worthy of thier pedigree. Here are two links, very contrasting, that I thought all will enjoy. Take care and enjoy being alive and more importantly as GB says being able to comprehend what this really means to us Indians (35 to 40 yr olds especially)even if we are American or Belgian on paper.

  69. To all the peace loving intellectuals…who were going weak in the knees with Afidi’s statesmanlike comments after Mohali please watch this:

  70. My mind darts back to 13th March 1996 , the ill-fated day when the wicket of Tendulkar triggered the collapse of the of then brittle middle order of the infamous Indian batting lineup … It was through teary eyes , I could see the Calcuttan crowd in a very unsportsmanlike behavior vandalized the match …I still remember that I sat in front of a Krishna’s portrait praying for the impossible or a miracle …. That did not happen … Certainly not with Aashish Kapoor at the crease … That was the day when I started to hate Sri Lanka … I hated them even more when they again became reason for our ouster in the disaster called the World Cup 2007 … The small bit of toss skulduggery by Sangakara on April 2nd(one of the few people I have admired in Sri Lanka team) set the alarm bells ringing in my head … I almost was on the verge of cursing Dhoni to hell when there in his eyes I could see intent … An intent which would could avenge for all the ignominies Sri Lanka has heaped on us … Ah … the sweet joy of revenge when that “helicopter” or whatever-in-the-devil’s-third-son-in-law’s-name shot banished off the ball into the stands for a six…

  71. Wonderful post. Puts into words, the emotions of our generation.

    28 years ago, 90% of India did not know that we had won the world cup. This time around, every Indian is celebrating the win. In 1983, as a sleepy eyed 8 year old, I jumped up and down in front of the Black and White TV as India won, not quite realising the historic nature of the moment. On 2nd of April 2011, this cynical 36 year old was again jumping up and down in front of the TV as the men in blue won again, fully aware of the historic nature of the moment and simultaneously transformed into the 8 year old of 1983.

    Yes, Kapil will forever remain the ultimate hero, viewed as he was, through the eyes of a 8 year old, as he ran backwards for that historic catch. But Gambhir and Dhoni would come close second, as for once, they came out of the shadow of the person the world has come to recognise as the God of cricket.

    Also loved the part “It matters because of the broken dreams of those who could not attain it—-the Dravids, the Kumbles and the Gangulys.” For the picture of bare chested Ganguly waving his shirt in Lords represents today’s Cricket India.

  72. Nice reference to the Rutherford experiment. 🙂 But the 1983 win was probably even more shocking than that.

  73. on the Incident of Sehwag coming over to collect the medal when Ashwin’s name was announced. I am very much certain he thought the announcements might in the batting order, coz Dilshan was the first to recieve from Lanka side.

  74. Before the match started, every pundit insisted that batting first is a must. It was almost as if the toss losing caption should concede the match and save some time for the spectators. It is amusing to hear every tom, dick and tiwari repeat the historical facts (chasing can’t be done (the two successful chases were relatively low scores, especially pakistan’s), home teams don’t win, At Wankhade no one has chased more than 225 under lights) with the firm conviction that the future would be like the past.
    Despite my belief that life is (mostly) context free, I remembered them all when Sachin got out to a rather poorly chosen shot. Kudos to Dhoni for shutting those traps for a while. The habit unfortunately though will not die.

  75. India won the cup and now Shahid Afridi has provided us the missing element which was not letting us enjoy the victory over Pakis.

    yay .. we beat the pakis and did not let them enter Mumbai the second time. The stupid morons will always act as if they did not carry out the attacks. All the evidence is against them and they are still telling – “It wasn’t us”.

    Also, it was marvelous to see the faces of Paki fans in Srinagar. Cunning Pakis took our land and left me without a state.

  76. More from Pakistan …

    The IT hubs of Bengaluru worked overtime to provide Tendulkar the escape in the Decision Referral System (DRS) when he was actually plumb on an arm ball of Saeed Ajmal.

  77. I can still see many of my elders, whether friends or cousin dadas and didis, still getting teeary eyed over the 1983 victory.

    That to us Indians was the Kennedy moment (do youo remember exactly how and with whom you were c elebrating on that day).

    It is true that the 1983 victory was more poignant. That was because the world was younger, with far fewer distractions. An innocent and purer time which we still hearken to.

    The world is far more fast paced, complex and sophisticated now. Too many eddies and whirlpools. The internet, banks, terrorism, recession, growth.

    Like the Apu of Bibhutibhushan, we are the Apu grown up. The knowledgeable, sophiticated Apu, who has tasted adulthood and joy, grief and awareness. 1983 is like the image of a little child Apu running through the fields with his sister Durga while his proud parents look on, with their faces lit up by smiles.

  78. 18yearOldin1996 April 4, 2011 — 9:07 am

    I didnt watch/know 1983 world cup. I came to know of it in 1985 when India won that Mini World cup. More than that – that 18 year old of 1996 was very very happy ( and the scar of 1996 was finally once and for all done with) after this . ( not that the 1999 thrashing in tauton and 2003 demolition of lankans wasnt sweet – but those were not KNOCKOUTs – infact 2007 added to it because it was sort of one – but nothing like 1996). Revenge tastes best when served cold. And DID IT TASTE SWEET for that 18 year old – who watched those ODI thinking it was his life at stake.

    Yes that 18 year old – love him – i love his faith and I love his patience.

  79. hahaha good one Deep3rdMan and Arya

    here’s more : (from Tendulkar – who had earlier claimed that this team is the best, and coz Ganguly wasnt in it, bongs including GB were so miffed that they questioned Tendulkar’s judgement!!)

    “Of all the captain I have played under, he’s certainly the best,” admitted Tendular, before proceeding to elaborate on his point.

    “The maturity and alertness he showed was tremendous,” explained Tendulkar, adding, “He reads the situation well and works accordingly.

    “He understands the situation and doesn’t show frustration. And that’s good for any captain.”–played-under/20110404.htm

  80. @Arya,

    LOL. Tendulkar has unknowingly made an entire state (or is it an entire race) his enemy!!

  81. both Saurav and Dhoni contributed in their own ways. Saurav was unlucky Ponting had a great day in that 2003 final. We could have won 2003 too. Anyway, what a captain’s innings from Dhoni!

  82. In my case.. The 11 year old who saw kambli crying in the 1996 semifinal, got his REDEMPTION…

  83. okie so it wasn’t just me, who at the sight of the helicopter shot, felt girly with the choked throat and tears in my eyes. Only when I saw tendulkar, harbhajan bawling did I think it’s ok to cry sometimes and I did, that was very much relieving.

    So back to 1983, I don’t have any recollection of it since I was just 2 yrs old and my parents couldn’t have afforded a TV. But this is my moment I can claim even though I didn’t contribute but it’s my own because of my right to being an Indian. I am temporarily out of India so the patriotic feelings are a notch higher, standing up to respect each time National anthem is played.

    I can count stories to my (to-be) children, this is a team which played for my country.

    Here is a captain, Dhoni, whom I hated for being just cool-captain and not making runs.
    Here is a swash-buckler, Yuvraj, I hated for this previous image of being uber cool and appearing more than the sport. I didn’t even like his inclusion in the squad.
    Here is Tendulkar, anyone in any profession would kill to have the money and fame but without as much commitment and passion and definitely without as much public scrutiny.
    Here is Zaheer, who in his youth, shower over exuberance to Hayden and was shown his rightful place, got booted out of the team and came back strongly. Since then I haven’t appreciated his old ball inswings as I now appreciate his state of “Buddha” – state of self-realization. To be aware of what one’s powers and weaknesses are.

    I can go on and on but this is the team that played for India, a right that I can always claim and connect to other fellow Indians even when I grow old. (I hope the team gives me even more moments to gloat over in my old age)

    But throughout my childhood, I remembered only one name in cricket, Sachin. Have myriads of memories, him playing on and on winning matches. This team, has now broken that shackles and said that we will be fine once the legend retires. I questioned team India’s future once the most talented quartet any team in the world has had, retires. But now I have hope that boys can carry it on their shoulders. True, they will falter without guidance but they can make it on their own.

    On Dada V Dhoni debate, it is bound to get interesting. I still don’t concede Dhoni a lot of advantage over Dada in terms of captaincy. Dada could be termed as the architect of current set-up. Dhoni acknowledging the contribution of the quartet has been a befitting tribute. While Dada represented the era where the nation was gaining confidence to see the other teams eye to eye to tell them we are not scared of their celebrity status, Dhoni would be the harbinger to convey that we are now a “mast maula” confident nation, that the celebrity member presence in the room doesn’t scare us, doesn’t provoke us for now the show belongs to us.

    Hail team India for giving me a reason to be proud.

  84. Here is your pre tournament analysis, u randomly thought-out, self gloating, bong

  85. oh and GB you must put a post on the awards and post WC moolah they are making. It is all fine and deserving but reading the state wise awards, Dhoni, Yuvraj, Sachin have made one crore cash awards and some residential plots in the hill stations but Raina and Piyush Chawla got Kanshi Ram international Sports awards, no cash prize. Died laughing knowing that he had an international sports award in his name. ROFLMAO.

  86. @ashu
    You are missing the point. SRT is a powerhouse with obvious connections in high places. It would serve every one in the team well by being a sycophant.

    I was honest in commending Dhoni for living uP to the hype, but can you honestly say The Record Master(that’s all he is) can handle pressure in a crunch final.

    But hey who can cure his delirious fans. Ain’t worth it.

  87. Easy Arbit, easy 🙂

    Don’t be so hard on the GREAT-BONG! It’s tough enough, as it is, for him to show his face outside his mouse-hole these days!

  88. @Rig
    I just saw the faisla-aap-ka video on the link. Disgusting!!!

    Afridi said whatever he said, by now its popular news and a known fact that he is nothing but a juvenile idiot. He has never been more than that, hence the justice he has done to his talent.

    Moshin Khan: Congratulates Pak leadership for accepting Inddiiyya’s (Thats the way they pronounce my countries name, also in the Hero Honda ADVT) invitation and showing that they always extended thier hand in friendship first. WTF, who invited them????!!!!!

    Some Old F**K: Imran said India are favourites the moment he went to Kolkatta and never mentoned something like that when he was in Pakistan. How did that affect Pakistan teams morale? was a question this old F**K asked Afridi. Also, apparently Pakistan was graceful and India were not and hence although they lost the match, they won the match.

    You are absolutely right @Rig. So much for all those who went weak in the knees after Afridi’s statesman like comments in Mohali.

    Please watch this video. I’m very angry and I know after you watch this video, you cannot stop yourself from a post. And, I need some words to define the anger and move on.

  89. @Satyen: Dude, there are youngsters in the team right now, who, like millions of kids in India, grew up admiring SRT for being the only consistent source of joy in the Indian sporting arena, for the last two decades. I would call their gesture gratitude and not sycophancy. But I guess, cynics like you always like to see things in more complicated ways. About Tendulkar’s performance in this WC, I would rate it below par, but that’s because of the high standard of expecatations he has set for fans like me. Remember, he’s the second highest run scorer of the tournament. Anyone else with such statistics would have easily been hailed as outstanding.

  90. 🙂 Maybe GB can do a Dhoni and acknowledge that his insinuation that for Dhoni and Yuvraj IPL matters more than country (quite a charge to make w/o any evidence I must say) was wrong and malicious.

    But hey, one the fringe benefits of being a blogger is that some “galti se mistakes” can be ignored as if they never happened.

  91. I dont understand why people are getting so upset with Afridi.
    He said what his religion teaches him to say. Overall, his conduct was very positive while he was in India (even though it was pure Taqqyaa), and we should expect that in future.

    Same with Imran Khan.
    When Imran was being interviewed by IBNLive, he was very open about blaming India for seccessionism in Baluchistan and drew a very clear moral equivalence between the Jihad that was occuring in both the countries. He was aptly supported by Mahesh Butt.

    As for the “best” captain ever debate….Lets just enjoy the victory and leave that debate for the next series or tournament loss. Its much better to bicker and bitch needlessly, when we have lost something.

  92. Arnab,

    Loved your post because you were right, suddenly growing out of the ‘maddening years’ we all become equanimous , but some moments shake us up. Like many other cynics I had written off cricket and partly my bengali lineage has instilled a belief that I was born in brazil. But saturday was different ,suddenly it all came back in a momentary lapse of reason , the endless cricket matches we played as kids , the Calcutta Boys’ School ground , the Christmas vacations , it felt as if some of our old efforts has borne fruit. As sachin rightly said ‘this cup belongs to India’ it does we all love this game and what is so unique about it is , that it teleports us to our childhood when we also used to wield willows.

    Like our hero , who still take a billion people to bat with him , we also have a little bit of game left in all of us, I guess so …. Hopefully it will go on

  93. Very well said Arnab. The feeling of finally achieving something, you could only once dream of is super..incomparable. Here is what i felt :


  94. I am happy :-)!! Hip hip hurray!

  95. @utsav

    “I dont understand why people are getting so upset with Afridi.
    He said what his religion teaches him to say.”

    spot on. and that is why aman ki asha and showing the other cheek to Pakis is naive. we can’t avoid meeting them in sports etc, but we need to keep our guards strong and ignore them as much as possible. we should just focus on building stronger relationships with countries in Asia pacific, central asia, middle east and the west. The day pakis stop their war against india and become peaceful, is the day they have no Raison d’etre. So that won’t happen. their religion forbids peaceful coexistence with kafirs and idolators (except when they are weaker). anyone who can read the history will attest to this.

  96. @sabalil
    “….and that is why aman ki asha and showing the other cheek to Pakis is naive. we can’t avoid meeting them in sports etc, but we need to keep our guards strong and ignore them as much as possible.”

    Methinks, any interaction is good. Better than no interaction…and” Aman ki Aasha” is very good, though “utsav ki Aasha” would have been better.

    Like in cricket, the critical thing though is how it is approached.
    Like in cricket, it is also about “belief”.
    Like in cricket, it is about self confidence, and a thorough understanding of the opposition.

    Like in cricket, you win, when then opposition rejects what he “beleives in” and accepts your “belief” to be “truer” than his.

    If we want “Aman”, we have to be proactive in doing that.

  97. see what Afridi is up to!
    I too felt bad for him after the match semis… But now I feel its useless to have any emotions towards these guys!

  98. @Sabalil

    Where did you learn all that? 😉

  99. Nice post GB. Was actually waiting for this one! I wasn’t born in ’83 and hence was tired of hearing from people about where they were and what they were doing when Kapil’s Devils won it for us. I am extremely relieved that I watched this tournament completely.

    @Kishor: I think a couple of commenters have responded to the technical inaccuracies in your comments. As for Indian batsmen being poor on fast bouncy wickets, we have recently beaten Australia in Perth and SA in Durban. What more do we need to prove? We were one of the favorites before this cup began, and while the Aussies were a shadow of their once brilliant team, they did perform well in the league stages. England were mercurial, and SA was pretty good until their amazing choke. Heck, even Pak was doing so well. We won this fair and square.

    As for the others who keep insisting that this match is fixed, I sense a little Groucho Marx here…”I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member!” Let’s just enjoy this win.

  100. While reading you post, I realized emotions are way more powerful than analysis. I think this is one of your posts, where emotions are flowing all over….and yes we did feel that tightness in throat and water in eyes……

  101. Good post. This Kishore guy is really something…whtdoucallit.get a life!

  102. Great aricle Arnab, captured the exact feelings of a ~35 year old, bald and pounchy Desi!
    Heartiest gratitude to the Indian team for preventing the 11 Pakistanis coming to Wankhede, which is a stone’s throw away from Trident Oberai and who would most probably have stayed in The Taj. Allowing them to Mumbai would have been more than an insult to my innocent countrymen and the brave soldiers who fell at these two landmarks more than three years back.

    Bravo Gambhir for remembring them!

    Now that the bhai-bhai, chaman-asha nautanki is over, the true colors of Pakis (which is a slur and lible to civil suits in this not-so-United Kingdom) like Afridi, Imran Khan et al are shown again! How long would it take for our ‘useful idiots’ to realise who our real (and incidentally idol worshipping) neighbours are?

    Was pleasantly surprised to be congratualted by many Sri Lankans on the streets of Wembley-London. These were the groups of dejected fans graceful in congratulating the Indians. I can vouch that it wouldn’t have been the same had there been groups who carry a certain green/white flag.

  103. “In my opinion, if I have to tell the truth, they (Indians) will never have hearts like Muslims and Pakistanis. I don’t think they have the large and clean hearts that Allah has given us,” Shahid Afridi taunted during a talk show on Samaa news channel, after losing to India in the World Cup cricket semifinals.

    Afridi also criticized Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir who vowed to dedicate victory in the World Cup final to victims of the 2008 Mumbai Jihadi attacks, where 166 people were killed.

    Afridi said: “I think they were very stupid comments by Gautam Gambhir. I wasn’t expecting this from Gautam. This is all politics, what do you know about who carried out the Bombay attacks?” he said.

    The reactions, especially the shock, disbelief and sarcasm in Indian cricket fans’ comments, are priceless, even witty.

    Check out the 33 readers’ comments here:

  104. @Bengalvoice:
    “Afridi said: “I think they were very stupid comments by Gautam Gambhir. I wasn’t expecting this from Gautam. This is all politics, what do you know about who carried out the Bombay attacks?” he said.”

    Again he is correct.
    How would Gautam know?
    He was not the one practicing with AK47s when not bowling or batting or dropping catches.
    Afridi was, so he knows.

    The naivity of the Indians though, is amusing. They blink…everytime.

    Bengalvoice, interestingly before Allah had made Afridi’s heart expand (after Mahmud Ghaznavi rammed Islam down his ancestor’s throats), they (Hindu ancestors of Afridi) used to keep the Sanskrit last name, Aaprit.

    source, Panini’s Asthadyayi

  105. Stopped reading the comments section after the one by ‘MA’
    nothing else matters ……..really.

  106. BalalSangh Parivar April 5, 2011 — 3:09 am

    Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!
    Where I live now cricket is just a blip in the radar, still the minuscule Indian community celebrated like there’s no tomorrow. Hope we b1tch-slap the Aussies (the White Pakis) in Oz the next time.

  107. you are sounding as passionate about India winning the ‘World’ cup as Gullu used to feel finding a banana and a babe. Moreover, if you don’t even remember why it was great winning it in 83 then there’s not much use of jumping with joy that you were there in both the World Cups. Just goes on to show how many theories Indians will create around cricket just to bemuse themselves.

  108. Awesome post!! If you work hard and attain your goals, chances are people will call you lucky 🙂

  109. — Feel like adding name of VVS to the list of Dravids, Kumbles and Gangulys . Maybe he was never a regular part of Indian ODI team but nonetheless he has been a big part of the fabulous generation of cricketers. Terrific post

  110. Abhinov Asthana April 6, 2011 — 4:58 am

    In ’83 we won agnst west indies breaking thier winning spree (2 in a row)..
    Now it was Australia (3 in a row)..
    Bottom line is let everybody get a chance..

    I was Aussies who won 3 in a row, 99: against Pakistan, 03: against India, 07: against Sri Lanka..
    This time they were the first to go out of the series amongst the above 4 teams..
    Then it was Pak & finally SL..

    Incredible India..!!

  111. Abhinov Asthana April 6, 2011 — 5:05 am

    Incredible India..!! so as Cricket..!!

  112. Imagine what would be the condition of Shreesanth if India had lost the match. Poor guy would have been mugged at some liquor shop in Trivandrum and sodomised!

  113. “-It matters because of the broken dreams of those who could not attain it—-the Dravids, the Kumbles and the Gangulys.”

    The Srinaths too…..
    you cant forget him…

  114. Hey GB, awesome post as usual…
    Just cant stop myself from saying this…
    Reading this post after 4 days and still can feel every moment of the match…
    I have something to tell my kids.. 🙂
    was born 3 years after ’ this one matters for me!

  115. ok, now that the dust has settled, can we hope for some insight into the connection between india winning the world cup and the movie “gunda.” (surely, there has to be one?) or at least, how “mithunism” inspired the team?

  116. Eternal Pessimist April 7, 2011 — 4:44 pm

    In the scheme of things, cricket is doing more harm than good in India, specially Indian sports. India has been reduced to a pot-bellied nation where people only get off the couch to celebrate a Sachin’s boundary. I wish people can see the bigger picture instead of gloating over good performance in a game where we have by far the largest amount of money being thrown at, compared to the other 7-8 countries that where population even knows that cricket is not just a insect (or a mobile phone company), but also a name of a sport. “It matters…. ” lines are over-blown. And yes, death to IPL.

  117. I could relate to this so much. Similar age as yours. Watched 1983 final and rejoiced (although didn’t understand the rules of the game). Watched with kids the 2011 final and rejoiced. Hope they won’t have to wait for 28 years for the next victory.

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