The Indian cricket team continues to amaze me. How, HOW does it continue to consistently perform in the exact opposite manner to what is expected of them??!!
A bit of a backgrounder in case you haven't been following the Twenty 20 World cup happening in South Africa. Ok, ok I hear roars of consternation from millions and millions of my fans from around the globe where they play violent, illogical, unfathomable games like rugby, baseball, lacross etc. and missed out on the privilige of learning/playing the gentlemen's game (er..thats Cricket in case you don't know, you ignorant *&*^*%# ).
So just for you ignorant *&*^*%# I shall go right down to basics and move ground up till you reach the level where you understand terms like Twenty 20, bat, ball, wicket, Joginder Sharma's smile (Yeah baby, I'll go right down to the basics). However, even for someone as amazing as me, I'll need help to run this tutorial. And I shall be ably assisted by the greatest known source of intelligence on all subjects available under the sky, to wit, Wikipedia :).
Anyway, this'll take too much time. You guys do the basic research and come back to this post, ok? Go on, I'm waiting, I promise I won't say anything till you're back...
Right, so those non-cricket following sods are gone? Good, now we can start this discussion at a much higher level of understanding. Seriously, don't you just hate the slow people in class aarrgghh.
Anyway, here's the rest of the post...
Suffice to say that India, without most of their much touted stars were expected to collapse at the first hurdle they faced. But they've played scintillating cricket, aggregating their own individual abilities and hunger for victory into a 1+1=11 manner into a set of performances that would have the senior players sitting out of this tournament shivering in their boots about whether they would have a place in the side when the dust settles on this series.
First they beat Pakistan, the traditional rival and a team which probably has much much better bowling on paper than India's. They have superb batsmen as well, but India can easily overcome them in the batting department. Now, that match had all the makings of a great battle and it was actually so. The rollicking match moved from one side to the other almost every three overs ( over: like a set of 6 pitches in baseball..aah I try so hard to be all inclusive in these posts:)). At the end of the match the scores were tied and India overcame Pakistan in the bowl out which is akin to a penalty shootout in soccer. We kept our nerves, they couldn't.
Then, just as interest was growing and the streets were falling silent when India was playing they went went and did what we have all come to expect - disaster after a glimmer of hope. India succumbed quite easily to New Zealand and were on the mat with the possibility of them being kicked out of the tournament very very real. This is nothing new and if it didn't happen indian cricket fans would've been quite surprised. Rising from ashes as a phoenix does, is situation in which the Indian cricket team loves getting into! (And they don't always rise. Normally its just the ashes that remain)
But thats when the tables turned, England, South Africa and then the mighty and arrogant Australians were beaten comprehensively. Three huge HUGE wins in four days. Stars emerged where none were earlier. Yuvraj Singh suddenly discovered his superhuman ability of hitting the ball out of the stadium at will (119 metres!! hugest six of the tournament). RP Singh, of all people, developed that perfect in-dipping yorker!! Fielders are running around with a renewed spring in their feet, they're hitting the stumps directly from unusual angles and seasoned cricketers are just collapsing infront of the Indian youth juggernaut.
But for me the one moment that has made all this worth it. Joginder Singh, a medium pace bowler with a face carved out of lead (A particularly dead, expressionless kind of lead as well - refer to photo, now imagine this face to remain absolutely impassive whether he gets a wicket or is clobbered for six),
he, gulp, actually smiled after the match yesterday...sniff...Indian cricket has turned the corner!