Putting hope on rewind.
“As elusive as it may seem, optimism can be found all around – in the laughter of children, in the excitement on your pet’s face when you get back after a long day, and in the smile of your loved ones when you go back home after months of being away.”
But cricket in India can be called the best example of hope and optimism. And since 2007, once Dhoni took lead, this optimism has been ever-growing. India’s story has looked more on the Bollywood side because they have been a team, who have performed fabulously well in all the big tournaments, regardless of their performance in the regular ones. And thus every tournament brings with it high expectations, hope and optimism. With flags and jersey and painted faces are we here again, bleeding blue and chanting, “Mauka Mauka!”
If I am asked about my favourite story of hope and optimism, it will be the 2007 Maiden T20 World Cup. Not being able to clear the group stages in the 50 over world cup, the same year, India were in a bereaved state. The team had undergone a complete renovation and featured names which were unheard before – Yusuf Pathan, Rohit Sharma and even the death over hero Joginder Sharma. India wasn’t the strongest on paper. Nobody expected an inexperienced side to win. But things picked up slowly, from a fun bowl-out in the group stage to cruising somehow out of the super 8s on net run rate which witnessed the six sixes from Yuvraj Singh in an over. Rohit Sharma was named the Man of the Match in the last super 8 match against South Africa, the effects of which are still being bared by all Indian fans. On another note, hope and optimism can be borrowed from Rohit Sharma also. If he can score two double hundreds, we can hope to be ambitious about bigger things in life too. Beating Australia and Pakistan to clinch the world cup was special because they were teams which were the highest in confidence. Australia, because they had won the world cup in the same year and Pakistan, because of no reason whatsoever.
Winning that world cup was big, but why was it a very significant chapter for hope? It rang the alarm of the comeback of the biggest cricketing nation. After 24 years had a silverware come to us. It lead the way for Indian Premier League and opened up the game which we believe in as a religion. It is amazing how a world cup win can do so much for that country in that game.
Hope is an elastic. It never fails to leap back again. It is a surprise. It comes from nowhere. It came for a tournament where there was no Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman or Kumble. Hope can never be barren and it is a two way traffic. We hoped to win. We won. Winning filled us with hope. It knocks a question within us. It asked, “Can India win the world cup?” A question, it brings along every four years.
Can India win the world cup on a foreign pitch that is least favourable for them? Is there still some midas touch left in Dhoni? Cheer. Bleed Blue. Hope. Look up. India! India!