As the ball left Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s bat and sailed high over the boundary rope, there was a collective roar by 2 billion people. A roar which reverberated across the globe reaching every corner of the world announcing the arrival of India, the world champions in cricket. Yes, after a long wait of 28 years India has again captured the Holy Grail of cricket; the Cricket World Cup.
The great Muhammad Ali once said that, ‘Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision’. The Indian cricket team proved this today. After the catastrophe that was the 2007 World Cup, it didn’t look like Indian cricket would reach the top of the rankings much less win another World Cup. There was a need for massive rebuilding and restructuring. It was a time to bid farewell to the old and welcome the new.
It all began with the new captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s desire to be the absolute best. He is a born leader and it immediately showed when he brought in young players to form a great mix of young and old in the team. His desire and positivity rubbed onto his team mates as the team steadily climbed to the top of the rankings in both the ODIs and Tests. The team also won the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup. Things became better and better as the team’s performances hit a consistent high and it also showed in the results.
They even dared to dream of winning a World Cup again and it was no surprise then that India entered into this World Cup as favourites to win. Things began well but hit a low as they tied a match against England and lost to the South Africans. But instead of being bogged down, the team rose to the occasion with every player playing his role. The stellar performances against Australia and Pakistan showed the character of the team and the players. Today against the Sri Lankans this was even more evident when having lost two early wickets they held their nerves to come up top in one of the most exciting World Cup finals.
Players like Yuvraj Singh, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Zaheer Khan, Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh lead by an example and inspired the others to perform. Players started peaking at the right moment. Suresh Raina came from the bench to finish off a very crucial game against the Australians. Nehra after having a horrid match against the South Africans came back with a strong performance against Pakistan in the semi-finals. Dhoni though leading the team from the front, saved his best for the last as he played one of his best innings when it mattered the most, in the finals.
A vision that was created in 1983 as a relatively unheard team felled the giants of cricket to lift the World Cup has been achieved again. It has taken 28 years of hard work and passion to achieve it but the wait has been worth every moment. A country which has been many a time blamed to be underachievers has answered her critics. Today as the Indian cricket team lifted the World Cup, I was ecstatic and I had tears in my eyes. But like Sachin I couldn't stop them or cared as they were the tears of happiness and pride.
|The World Champions of 2011...|