Vantage point

Saturday, February 15, 2003

No Big Deal

A pall of gloom has descended over IIM Lucknow, as I am sure it has over most of the country. People are crestfallen by the way India abjectly surrendered to Australia in today's World Cup match.

Which is why I feel as if I am some kind of a lighthouse tower standing in the middle of the sea on a new moon night. I seem to be the only one who still thinks India can win the World Cup. It is not just patriotic optimism that makes me say this. I mean seriously, consider this. It is a match we were not really expected to win anyway. We lost is what matters, and not the way in which we lost. There is still an almost sureshot chance of us reaching the super six stage. After that, who knows?

What keeps me away from gloom is the fact that today's defeat was more of the mind than the technique. Look at the way Ganguly, Sehwag, Dravid....the whole lot got out. The Australians did not get them out, but they threw their wickets away. In fact most of the beautiful and perfect deliveries of McGrath, Lee and Gillespie whizzed past the batsman into the keeper's hands. Today's collapse was the same old dominoes mentality story.

What keeps me from gloom is the fact that over the past couple of years, india has shown that resilience and that spark to bounce back from adversities. So nothing is lost yet. Remember the 1992 World Cup? Pakistan were bundled out for 61 or so against England in the preliminary round, and lost badly to India. But they made a late comeback, won some matches on a trot and lifted the cup. Remember the 1999 World Cup? Australia started off with a disastrous defeat against New Zealand in their second match, similar to India right now. They also lost to Pakistan, and went to the Super Six round with zero points. Imran's prediction at that time proved right and Australia won the big one.

A team which has the mental ability will have the last laugh. As of now, I think India has the mental ability as well as the talent to reach the knock out stage and maybe even win the finals.

Touring New Zealand has thrown our team into a losing rut. They better get their act together on the 19th against Zimbabwe and come up with an emphatic win, because the ICC gave Zimbabwe the full points for the match against England that never took place. If we somehow manage to pull a defeat out of the hat once again, we will confirm Zimbabwe's spot in the Super Six, and then we will find ourselves in a "win all the remaining matches" kinda situation.

So until the end of the India-Zimbabwe encounter....... no one can write us off.....actually we are in the Cup even if we lose to Zimb. Call me the eternal optimist. :-)