The oldest cricket memory i have is a sturdy gentleman from Australia with mustache a'la Yosemite Sam of bugs bunny, swirling under a ball which was skied by an Indian batsman and in the end completed what they call a well judged catch .May be it was because of his mustache that i can remember the catch. The Australian was none other than the legendary David Boon.Since then cricket has been like an everyday fare for me till i was 15(Having an open space beside your house has its advantages ;) ).
The world cup , the game's showpiece event , is about to begin. What memories does an average cricket fanatic in India associate with the event?.Scenes of kapil dev taking the catch of Viv Richards and the Indian team holding the silverware and showing it off from the Lord's pavilion come rushing through to everybody's mind. But sadly i wasnt even born then :( . My memory is filled with Sachin losing his wicket to a McGrath delivery in a world cup final ,crushing the hopes of millions.This time it has to be different.
World cup guarantees its heroes a place in the annals of history , a place in the hearts of the passionate admirers of the game who appreciate dravid's dead bat defence as much as klusener's brutal six over mid wicket , warne's jaw dropping ripper as much as walsh's impeccable line , sachin's text book drive as much as jayasuriya's effortless flick off the pads for six. All of these with equal ardor.It gives a mortal a chance at achieving immortality.What more can any player ask for?
Wasim Akram's prodigal swing which won Pakistan their only world cup in 1992.Jayasuriya's murderous cuts and flicks which won Sri Lanka the 1996 world cup.Lance Klusener's monstrous heaves over midwicket which almost won South Africa the 1999 cup.Shane Warne's cracker of a delivery which got rid of Gibbs in 99 semifinal.The most unfortunate runout, the mother of all mixups, of Allan Donald which denied SA their righteous claim of the cup in 99.Sachin's ferocious pull of Andy Caddick and then the upper cuts off Shoaib Akthar on his way to a memorable 98 in the 2003 cup.Ponting's brutal century in the final which denied India the 2003 winner tag.India's fate changing defeat at the hands of Bangladesh in 2007. Which ardent follower of the game can forget such memories associated with the cup??
Now the time has come again for the gladiators to take the centre stage . And may be the best chance for an Indian team to win it again. But for it to happen India require a talisman in the form of a player. Who will it be ?. Will it be the GOD himself again? or will it be the marauding yusuf pathan who is at his best now?. Will it be Dhoni's lady luck / captaincy or will it come from Sehwag's super hot blade? .Will it come from the underdog bowling department or will the jinx continue?.For now , only time can reveal its plans . The stage has been set.
No one can accurately predict the winner this time.Every team has chinks in its armor.The Australians are not at their best. The South Africans have a curse to break.The Srilankans are as deceptive as they ever were.The Indians as always can play like kings one day and paupers the other day. Like wise every team has its game changers. The Sehwags ,the Sachins ,the Devilliers ,the Muralitharans ,the Husseys or the Pollards might decide who will lay their hands on the prestigious trophy. But at the end the team which has the Harbhajans , the Malingas , the Brett Lees or the Steyns might walk away with the prize.You never know.One thing is for sure the Wankhede will be the witness and so will the billions who follow the game.There is no better way to bask in one's glory.
28 years have passed since our victory at Lord's. The cup still continues to elude us.The time has come for the GOD to have the kohinoor in his crown.Lets hope his adidas blade has the final say on April 2nd , 2011. Let the games begin.
P.S. GOD doesnt need an introduction ;).