With the Cricket World Cup less than a month away, every cricket fan is filled with excitement. There is euphoria among fans all across the globe and particularly in the cricket crazy country, India. For India, it has always been more than just a sport; every person is either going to be glued to the television or radio, or will be watching it outside an electronics shop amongst the crowd or will be live streaming it from different parts of the world. With the team expected to successfully defend the trophy, the BCCI and the Indian cricket team has a big challenge ahead of it. But is it justified to expect the Indian team to win?
With each victory or defeat in the world cup, it is the fans that bring out the most to the game. I watch the part where the entire Wankhede Stadium sings VandeMataram in chorus(see video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sP4urHR_qn4),
just four overs before thethe 2011 World Cup finals and it still gives me goose bumps. That is the kind of impact the fans can have on you. The whole nation erupted with joy with Dhoni’s finishing sixer. It was a dream come true for most of the fans and I am sure it would have meant more for the players. No one expected India to bring home the first version of the T20 World Cup either, with a team which was feeble and led by an inexperienced leader then, Mahendra Singh Dhoni. So much so, even when Misbah played the scoop shot, most of us thought it went for a six, until Sreesanth caught it to end the Pakistan’s innings. All of India was lit up with firecrackers in celebrations when India won and the tri-colour was unfurled and waved in every nook and corner.
Of course, there have been situations when India did not perform as we expected them to. One of the biggest upsets for the Indian cricket team was the 2007 edition in West Indies. India had all the goods to deliver and emerge out victorious, but it was quite unfortunate that they lost to the underdogs, Bangladesh which eventually paved their early exit. Did the players not give their best? Did they not want to ‘win’ the World Cup? I don’t think so. However, the fans were agitated with their poor performance; there were nationwide protests held all across the country with fans burning the players’ posters,conducting mock funerals and pelting stones at their houses. These same fans, who considered the players to be their role models had now started hating them, and for what, one poor performance, seriously?In my opinion, these people are a bunch of plastic fans, who suffer from split personality disorder.
India did not have a healthy start to the 2003 World Cup either, outplayed by the Australians both, with the bat and ball. The fans disappointment was witnessed yet again, with effigies of the players being burnt all over the country. With things not going their way, the Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar came out to apologize and lift the performance of the team as a whole. India did manage to get back and go ahead win the games all the way to reach the Finals. As fans, all we need to do is have faith in the players who are giving their best in every single match and trying to stay fit at the same time. They need our support at every stage of the World Cup or any series rather; we rejoice with their victory but we need to trust in their abilities and help them come out of a defeat.
Not to forget the ugly scene that sprung up in the semi-final of 1996 World Cup at Eden Gardens that was being witnessed by people all across the globe. I am not sure how the match would have ended (link to the Scorecard here: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/current/match/65190.html), had there not been bottles hailed in the field, but I am quite confident that neither India nor Sri Lanka wanted the match to end like this and this is how it goes down in history. Yes, the batsmen failed to deliver, but Jayasuriya was spinning it square, making it difficult for the batsmen to play under such obscure conditions.Not all fans understand these technicalities of the game, yet they go crazy because the team they thought they supported has let them down. Although this sounds quite old to be in news, situations still haven’t changed. It was just last year when Yuvraj Singh’s house was pelted with stones for not being able to put runs quickly on board in the finals of the T20 World Cup. How can one forget Yuvraj’sheroics in bringing two World Cups home? Some might argue that he did not rise to the occasion as he previously did. None of us can be on top of our work every day and it is unfair to expect these hardworking sportsmen also to deliver in every single match.No one can feel worse than a competent player like him for not being able to perform at the most crucial situation when his country needed him the most. Even Dhoni said in the press conference that followed that no one would be more disappointed than Yuvraj himself, having failed to meet his own expectations. Sportspersons are more skilled and hence make it to the International level, but in the end, they are humans too.
Fans need to understand that results of a match cannot be changed by removing your frustration on the performers. Imagine your boss pelts stones at your house because you could not meet a deadline. Of course, situations here are different; you are obliged to perform for your boss because he is paying you and that is the sole reason why you are hired in his team/company. If you fail to deliver quite a few times, it is most likely that he will fire you, but not vent out his anger on your family or curse you on social media. This is how the cricketing world works too. May be Yuvraj was dropped out the side because he could not get back to his prime after the 2014 T20 World Cup.Let us stand by him and hope that he makes a comeback soon, may be in the following IPL.I believe that we all must enjoy the game, hope that the country we support wins the World Cup. If not, let us hope that the best team wins. Let us have faith in the players’ skills and when they fail to deliver, let us stand by them and support them through their rough journey. Let us look at it as a win-win situation because ultimately, it is cricket that emerges out as the winner!