It is here. The wait for the cricket world cup 2011 is finally over. But for cricket fans of India, it is not just the beginning but the end of this 46 day tournament that they will be waiting for patiently and hoping that after a gap of 28 long years, India will again lift the coveted trophy.
India is a cricket crazy nation and it really becomes unbearable at times to think that this country where even a day old baby is given a ball to hold hoping that one day he would be a cricketer, the most glorious trophy of all – the World Cup has only been won once.
Barring the World T20 triumph in 2007, India has not really proven its mettle in the world stage except for the 1983 world cup win. Winning test matches and one day series feels good but the exhilaration that comes after winning a world trohy is something totally different.
So this time around, hopes are flying really high. And there are really good reasons to think that the dream can really come true.
First and an important reason – India is playing in home grounds. The tournament is being jointly hosted by Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India. Therefore it really is a big advantage that will push the three of these teams forward without much struggle.
The second important reason that may work for India is the team’s current form. Under the captaincy of dynamic Dhoni, India won the T20 cup in 2007 and also rose to Test No. 1 world ranking. That is no small feat to achieve considering Australia, South Africa and England too have had quite a good record on field over the past few years.
The third important reason is the team. This time around, call it fate or just smart thinking by the selectors, the team has shaped up to be a good balance of young guns and experienced champions. While Tendulkar, and Sehwag will give the individual matches the depth of their experience, it is the likes of Raina, Nehra, Dhoni and Gambhir who would provide the team with the energy to win matches.
Therefore, it is really just to say that India had a fair chance of winning this World Cup. According to Suresh Menon the leading India Sportswriter, India can win if it can deal with the three Fs – Form, Fitness and Focus.
Form is not a worry right now for the team. Focus may become an issue if the cricketers allowed themselves to get pressurized by the expectation of the media as well as the home crowd. But what might be the biggest hurdle between India and the world cup may be the question of Fitness.
It is a known fact that Indian team is not as fit as the other countries like Australia, New Zealand even Sri Lanka. And what is a worry is the lack of international standards when it comes to fielding because fielding of course suffers if you are not fit.
So hopefully Indians will save all the ones and twos, catch the bowl when it is superciliously hit for a six and whiff the bowl back to the stumps in a jiffy.
The heat of the world cup will not be felt much now. Only after 23 March when the quarter finals begin and it is only then that the real face of this visibly tough team will be revealed. It is therefore impertinent that the players maintain their form, fitness and focus.
The World Cup is only 46 days away from India and it is these 46 days that matter to show the world the difference between a good team and a great team.
If the World Cup 2011 is that one percent inspiration, it is the 99 percent perspiration that would help team India hold it in their hands.