I've been watching the Twenty20 World Cup with a lot of interest. Much more interest than I watched the 50 overs World Cup with at least. And I'm impressed. I think if nothing else, it's the Twenty20 that will give cricket a new lease of life and make it much more popular. Though I'm sure all the purists out there will disagree with me. Don't get me wrong, I love cricket in all its forms, Test, ODI's, gully cricket. Every single way. Except maybe when India is losing. Then I hate cricket from the depths of my being and I resolve to give up on cricket and just watch football!!
India's performance at the World Cup however has me absolutely jumping for joy. This is what I and I'm sure a lot of Indian cricket fans like to watch. Close, nail-biting matches and a team of young players that's hungry and determined to prove themselves. A team that comes through when the chips are down. A team that doesn't depend on a Sachin or Saurav or Dravid. Again, I agree that those 3 are among the best players India has ever produced. But its a bit too much of them now and I think new and younger players should be given a chance now and the Twenty20 is the perfect platform for them.
The best thing about India's performance has been the way there hasn't been one single player India has depended on them. Different people have delivered at different times. Yuvaraj Singh's 6 sixes in an over, Rohit Sharma's 50 not out. RP Singh's 4 wickets for 16 runs and Harbhajan's tight bowling in the last over against South Africa.
But spare a thought for South Africa. It does seem kind of unfair that they lost just one match in the entire tournament so far and yet they're out. A team that so close to winning. And the worst part is that it seems to happen to them every time. And now they're stuck with being called 'Chokers' while I think it's simply bad luck that's plagued them. But it is very very sad for what is a fantastic team. They're cricket's best team ever not to have won the World Cup and for the record, I think Graeme Smith is the best captain in World Cricket right now. Assertive, confident and always always leading from the front. He sets the pace and the tone for his team. And who can't help liking a leader like that. I hope Mahendra Singh Dhoni turns out to be a leader like him and I'm liking what I see so far. He is assertive and confident, not afraid to speak up and stand up. And its time India had a leader like that.
And why did New Zealand have to get through??? Somehow as a team they just don't excite me. There's nothing in their matches thats hold your interest and I would only watch them if India was playing them. They are a good team but boring with it. No flash and flair or swash buckle or extreme swings of emotions. Just solid, steady people who go about doing what they have to do. Now I'm sure thats a very nice thing to do. But who wants to watch it???????????????
And now India plays Australia..... No idea, but India, im my opinion is in with a fighting chance. They just need to keep their cool and play as the Amul Voice of India contestants sang for them dil se. Cheesy but true.
And even if they do lose, they'll come home with their heads held high and I will applaud them and admire them in a way I haven't in a long long time. They've gone so far and done so much and they did it all without any support or any kind of expectation at all.
Enthusiasm and exuberance is sometimes worth a lot more than experience.