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Its more than just cricket

As I chug along to Amritsar, I enjoy the train journey for more reasons than one. One, the picturesque green fields that untiringly dot the kilometers. Two, the expectation of enjoying Amritsar. One place somehow I connect really well with – the history and serenity embedded in it. This visit, hopefully I will get a chance to spend sometime with the Golden Temple under lights – this is something I missed last time around. Quite keen to do it this time. Three, and the most importantly, the Indian win over South Africa at the Edens.

Really! Worth every bit of the basking with a satiated inward grin. A significant win for reasons beyond the cricket field. I cant help but recollect, the passionate chiding I inflicted my chum for castigating a non-performing Indian cricket team. My argument then was most simple – our national cricket team will be as good as the rest of make the players work a spot in the team. The failure wasn’t the team’s. It was the entire country’s. The argument remains the same. The reasons of celebration – are more than one.

Indian sporting outfits have for long many decades eulogized the values of participating gracefully or just losing by a whisker – which was enough to be national legends. But I guess all that is now changing. Abhinav Bindra, Saina Nehwal and current crop of cricketers I believe more of a new trend and less of an exception.

The consistency, the self belief, the relaxed demeanor and most importantly close wins of the cricket team manifest a new India in the making. What the team is actually reflecting the changing psyche of the common men. The gumption and the poise of the people born after the 1980s and beyond.

What delights me most is the consistency and the ability to bounce back. The determination and the class to build on ‘one glorious win’ and create a trend.

How many times have we have come close to history – but fizzling away at the last moment due to ‘bad umpiring or refereeing’ as the case maybe. Sometimes it was the weather gods to blame. There is the lack of gumption – why did we have to be that close to let external factors to decide.

How many times have we watched the same old victories on TV or heard being recounted by afficionados. A few stellar wins - be it Tendulkar’s back to back tons against Steve Waugh’s team at Sharjah or limited hockey triumphs over Pakistan or the two All England wins or for that matter some tennis upsets by the Ramesh Krishnan, Leander Paes or Bhupathi. Well for no other reason but for lack of a wider repository. Nothing else.

Today we are again a world champion in cricket. That too in Test Cricket this time. The first time we were world champions – more than a quarter century earlier – we followed it up by getting blanked 5-0 by a Windies team more than eager to avenge the Lords loss. However this win – is a product of consistent wins. No one will call Indian chokers or poor finishers again. In that sense I this top spot for year is a bigger win than the 1983 win.

More than that. This win, to me, is clearly the beginning of a trend. Of confident, capable and consistent Indians. The confidence that they can be better than the best. With the calm and grace that will make Roger Federer proud.

Way to go! I guess it is good reason to spend few good hours basking in this Indian victory.

New – Amritsar
Amritsar Shatabdi, 2013
Feb 18, 2010

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