India- World Cup Champions!

This article contains three unique views on the final of the Cricket World Cup 2011. India captured the Cricket World Cup by defeating Sri Lanka by 6 wickets on Saturday, April 2nd.

The Greatest Gift
by Niyantha Shekar

Do you remember that straight drive Sachin hit three years ago, a bewildered Lee looking in awe, the ball smashing into the advertising boards, all the while Sachin retaining that pose of artistic perfection? I watched that shot thousands of miles away at Jester auditorium in Austin, bowing down to the projector screen, asking for more. On Saturday, I saw Sachin hit a straight drive for four at Wankhede. There are many older than me who claim that the birth of their first child is the greatest moment of their lives. They have probably not been 100 meters away from a Sachin Tendulkar straight drive for four.

When Sachin walked back, caught behind off of ferocious, deadly Malinga, I sat quietly for a bit with my face buried in the flag I was waving around just a minute ago. Had I just seen his last one day inning? I slowly rose to my feet and applauded, and so did the rest of Wankhede. He said a couple of words to the incoming Virat Kohli before continuing his walk into the pavilion. Virat Kohli carried Sachin Tendulkar on his shoulders later that night. “Well, he’s carried the burden of a nation for 21 years, it’s time we carried him on our shoulders”, he said. Last night was poetry in action.

There are these fleeting images – Yuvraj, Kohli, Raina egging each other on, Harbhajan dismissing Umar Akmal and shaking his head in wild, unbridled joy, Yuvraj roaring into the night after vanquishing Australia, Zaheer yelling, “Come on!” after breaking up a partnership with smarts rather than speed , Dhoni’s calm smile after hitting Kulasekara for a world cup winning six. These images will live with me forever.

This Indian team, these men in blue, looked to the accomplishments of Sachin Tendulkar to motivate them, to see pressure in the eye and use that as a catalyst for greatness. This Indian team has conspired to win the Cricket World Cup, to provide Sachin a joy that had eluded him for far too long. But when you look past the trophy, you realize that they’ve shown the little master that they can win without him. And that to Sachin should be the greatest gift of them all.

 

The Proudest Moment of My Life
by Merwan Hade

Ever since age four, I’ve been a loyal, unwavering, die-hard fan of Indian cricket. In 1996, 1999, 2003, and 2007, I had seen my beloved team fail to capture Cricket’s ultimate prize. In 2003, I had prayed with all my might for an Indian victory, but found myself supremely disappointed. But on Saturday, none of that mattered.

I was lucky to watch the match at Jester’s giant auditorium with the enthusiastic company of two hundred fellow Indians. In the lead up to the moment, the atmosphere was euphoric. The crowd was cheering every run: be it a wide, no-ball, bye, or leg-bye. After all, India was on the brink of victory. Everyone had one chant on their minds: Jeetega bhai jeetega, India jeetega! Everyone yearned for a single moment…victory to India.

And then the moment finally came. Dhoni, our captain, had guided us to victory! No host country had ever won a world cup at home, but India had  done the unthinkable. India had achieved victory, India had won the World Cup! The crowd erupted with an amalgamation of elation, pride, and amazement. There was chaos everywhere as every Indian screamed at the top of their lungs, rejoicing with every ounce of strength. Normally I’m reserved, but at that moment, nothing else mattered. I lost track of time, space, and other worldly matters and started randomly hugging everyone around me, filled with extreme happiness.

The icing on the cake for all of us was when Kohli and the team lifted Sachin Tendulkar on their shoulders and carried him around in a victory lap. Tendulkar, the little champion, the God of cricket, laughed and cried with tears of joy, speechless and numb with exultation. If there was ever a person who deserved this victory, it was Tendulkar. The great man had served India for twenty-one years, it was only fair that his team won the sport’s greatest prize.

As the team walked around Wankhede, draped in Indian flags, each and every Indian in that auditorium was filled with pride. Pride at being Indian! Pride at being a loyal supporter of the world’s best team. This was for Sachin! This was for India! World Champions at last. Thank you Team India!

Winning
by Kavita Pallod

The last time Facebook told me my rant was too long for a status and that I needed to write a note was 3/12. I watched India lose, UT lose, and Dallas lose in the same day, and had to reflect on how much pain sports bring me year round. This note is a little different. I’m not an intense cricket fan by any means, but I love sports and everything they stand for, so I threw myself into the World Cup, and woke up at 3 a.m. to watch as many games as I could.

Cricket gave me everything that was wrong with sports over this month – I listened to Indian fans express deep suspicion over one of the greatest acts of sportsmanship I’ve ever seen (Tendulkar walking), I listened to endless speculation about match fixing (the most horrifying thing that any sport can be associated with), I read articles about how the commercialization of cricket was killing a game of great respect, and I watched the Indian cricket team show up out of shape (despite a full awareness that a billion dreams were riding on their performance). But I kept watching. Because I was right when I was drawn in- cricket had everything that makes me love sports. Intense rivalries with true depth and significance (Pakistan being in India for the first time after the 2008 incidents). Incredibly close games. And, of course,Sachin Tendulkar.

Tendulkar is an athlete with a phenomenal amount of talent. An athlete who knows that mere talent is never enough, and works himself to the bone to translate that talent. An athlete of such integrity that he walked off the pitch in a show of sportsmanship that made a nation of a billion dreams in this day and age gasp in astonishment. An athlete who had the pressure of one billion dreams on top of his own burning desire for one thing- the World Cup.

Besides passionate rivalries, touch-and-go games, and the little master, cricket gave me a team of individuals who didn’t buckle. A team who felt the stakes, felt the pressure of those dreams, felt the full power of the competition, and refused to believe for a minute that their story would be left incomplete. A team that… delivered. Thank you cricket. Thank you India. Thank you Sachin.

Note: The author originally posted the above as a note on her Facebook.

 

Photo Attribution: Niyantha Shekar and Priyank Ahuja


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2 comments

  1. Aditya says:

    Apr 6, 2011

    Reply

    Three very different takes on the World Cup victory! Well done.

  2. Merwan Hade says:

    Apr 6, 2011

    Reply

    Thank you, Aditya.

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