By Jyotsna Mohan Bhargava
Cricket is the winner. Really?
No, on Sunday it was Australia.
Ask Dhoni or AB de Villiers. Or for that matter if we were on the winning side, would the credit not have been solely India’s? Why would we credit someone or something else? It’s the easy way out. It may have been the World Cup, but everything does not need a profound answer. Ask those sportsmen who fought and lost. Whether it’s our cricket team, Saina at the All England final or even our hockey team that despite the odds still gives us some highs.
We invest so much into our cricket team emotionally and financially that when they fail, their fall is greater. Our disappointment is bigger. We have idolised them to the exclusion of all sports. They are Demi-gods and they sometimes know it, like Virat kohli’s attack on a journalist recently.
India sadly was never really in the game against Australia. A little bit of the battle was lost after Australia won the toss. Chasing under pressure has never been our forte. So it was not the tight, heart stopping finish that we saw between South Africa and New Zealand. It was a comprehensive loss. Our batsman didn’t settle, we had already given a bit more runs than we should have and Dhoni couldn’t give a billion praying hands a miracle.
But one bad game doesn’t take away the fact it was an outstanding tournament. A team that won seven matches in a row. So there is no shame. None at all, irrespective of what a senior anchor wanted ‘the nation ‘to feel. The players can only be devastated. It’s not easy carrying the burden of hope of a billion cricket fans. Thankfully we beat Pakistan.
I haven’t heard of any effigies being burnt…but Anushka Sharma has certainly gone through fire. I am not even sure Virat knew where she was sitting in the stands. He certainly wasn’t in the middle long enough to figure that out. But on a serious note, how does this fall on her? She can watch the match just as much as you and I. His dismissal stunned her just as much as it did the entire country.
The hysterical, misogynist reaction against Anushka on Twitter then was shocking. Don’t forget he has also scored hundreds in her presence. Am sure Tendulkar did not always hit a century every time Anjali was in the stands, neither has Dhoni won all the matches his wife Sakshi saw in the stadium .WAGS are an integral part of sport. Spanish and Germans ones even invaded the field after their teams won the last two football world cups. In India the biggest stars are our cricketers and actors and sometimes they have to pay a bigger price.
Anyway I hope our team was received back as heroes. Because they were nothing short of that. Its captain became a father but was yet to see his baby because it was duty over family. The same family that now needs security. I shudder to think what would have happened if we hadn’t cleared the league stage.
In the meantime, I recently saw a picture of our Kabaddi World Cup winning players, their trophies in hand standing outside the airport, waiting for an auto rickshaw.
This is the reality of Indian sport today. There is cricket. And then every other sport.
(The views expressed by the author are personal. The article was first published on her blog: https://jomohan.wordpress.com/)