Spirit of Cricket

India Loses out Fast on its Champs Status 
by Abdul Hanan
When Bangladesh defeated Sri Lanka on Tuesday 20th March (2012) at Mirpur, Bangladesh, they just drove the final nail in the coffin burying hopes of hundreds of millions of Indian fans. Though India had a higher run-rate but their defeat at the hands of the hosts means an ouster from the competition. Crowned world Champions hardly an year back this cup had been perhaps the last opportunity for the team to reassert their supremacy and reject the wide spread rumors of a dubious management and allegations of a sell-out on the part of some of their competitors in 2011 World Cup Cricket.
It is hardly one year (April 2, 2011 to be exact) when Team India brought home the coveted title after a lapse of 28 years. However, Indian cricketer have failed to live up to the expectations of their supporters since then and their performances have remained disgusting.
Earlier, Indian Cricket Team has already faced humiliating defeats against Australia in Test as well as Limited overs matches when they were being expected to fare well and compensate for the humiliations suffered on their tour to England. Unfortunately, it never happened and the team could add only insult to its injuries.
Amidst all this fanfare, Indian players are still heroes for their supporters thanks to wide base of media ratings, but the game of Cricket and the World Cup are fast losing their magic. Is there something wrong with format of the cup or, as suggested by the rumors, magicians are at work from the bookies corner!
Being World Champion in the game of Cricket is a big deal. The avid followers of the game expects the game of the standard true to champions. Who can forget that the first ever title holders, Windies won the trophy in succession (1975 & 1979) without breaking their winning spree during the intervening period.  Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia too had given their opponents a good run of their money when crowned subsequently.
Back in 1983 when Kapil Dev earned India a vital win over West Indies, India was to prove world champion in some successive tours. They too respond true to champions stature.

But the dismal showing of the 2011 Champions is casting doubts over Indian capacity to hold the high ranking. Sport lovers from all over the cricket playing nations are whispering in private the conspiracy theories.
Luke warm response of ICC is also a contributing factor to all these speculations. Many believe that Indian clout in the International body is holding-out independent investigations in the allegations of Match Fixing – a curse, if not battled out, would rob the game off its large following. The marketing potential of a nation (means India) is no alternative to the great traditions of the game (means Cricket); and international body (means ICC) may have to react swiftly and stubbornly to save the Spirit of the game (means cricket) at the hands of dirty Bookmakers (means Indian bookies). In a bid stash more cash in the coffers ICC shall not allow black money (remember the Lalit episode of IPL) to play its role in the key deciders.  Lalit Modi had alleged that Indian bookies are using Cricket to consume Black Money of Indian business tycoons and politicians.
When ICC shows cold interest in the allegations of fixing in the prestigious competitions, the sport lovers have the right question the manner India lifted the trophy in 2011.

Now when we come towards the reason of elaborating this whole, dropped catches did provide chance to Sachin Tendulkar in Semi Final on more than one occasions. Reasons for Tendulkar to play more than one innings are far to seek.
When it comes to final,Sri Lanka made four changes to their side from the semi-final. All-rounder Angelo Mathews was on the bench and Spin bowler Ajantha Mendis had performed well throughout the tournament was not chosen for the final. Spinner Rangana Herath was also dropped. Off-spinner Suraj Randiv and batsman Chamara Kapugedera were flown in from Sri Lanka to strengthen the side who lacked experience of big time cricket. A tie was predicted by the Australia's Legend Leg Spinner Shane Warne two hours before the start of the game and now we are unable to decide, who was bookmaker’s favorite, Shane Warne or the team India! If not today at some point may be, ICC may have to intervene to restore the status of the game of cricket so it may not fall to the marketing demands of the event organizers.  
India’s Slide down the ladder had been expected by the pundits of the game yet their dismal show had been more humiliating and do not commensurate their official status.
No doubt indian team is a champion team and we have to respect the champions they can play against heaviest odds but not they are yet to prove their mettle on the field. 
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