Am I happy? Elated? Proud? Excited? Well actually, I’m all of these but the most prominent feeling is that of ‘Relief’. I’m relieved that finally, after such a long wait, I won’t have to wait for another 4 years. Every 4 years, I used to get excited about India’s prospects; Except maybe in 2007 when we had the white elephants – the Fab 4 and I knew there wouldn’t be much hope, but still I was excited. Every 4 years, I watched how India promised a lot but delivered little.
I still clearly remember 1996 where India floundered on a turning track against Sri Lanka and the crowd went crazy, Kambli cried and I still thought he could’ve done it and was surprised when the game was awarded to Sri Lanka…
I guess, 1999 is the only year which I don’t clearly remember and don’t know why.
I cannot forget 2003 where we first floundered against Australia in a league game and batting first were around 14 for 3 and was all over even before we started. But then we conquered all teams, came back to peak form and were on a high entering the finals but were massacred by the 360 of Australia. And the same story repeats itself, Big occasion, massive run chase, first over – Sachin facing McGrath tries to pull a slightly short ball which hurries on to him and he skies the ball, McGrath completes a caught and bowled and again, the game ends before it even started.
2007 was the most horrible experience, in that we got a royal sendoff by minnows Bangladesh. The batting line up that included the Fab 4 folded for a measly 183 but the commentators were still upbeat about India’s chances. Tamim Iqbal had no such doubts and he thrashed everyone, including Zaheer all over the park and Dravid’s flustered face during that match became the face I hate the most in this world. Out went India from the first round and with it, another long wait of 4 years began.
And now I know why there is a feeling of relief overpowering everything else. Because, I always thought we were good enough to win the World Cup. I personally hate it when I know I’m capable of something but can’t accomplish it. I hate it when I am proven wrong about something over and over again; that I believed the Indian team was good enough to win the World cup but every 4 years, other teams said NO, INDIA CAN’T DO IT; and this went on for a good 28 years. That is almost my entire life. On every exit, I’d feel like a stone sinking to the bottom of the ocean and I’d know that it would be another 4 years till someone comes by and fishes me out. I would then block those unpleasant thoughts out of my mind and try and continue watching; celebrating every small win, every test win and every forced retirement of the white elephants. Finally, I’m relieved, I’ll have to do this no more and I can revel in this glory, at least for the next 4 years. I’m relieved that my team has finally performed… and proven me right.
And here are the winning moments that I will re-live over and over again…
And here is that winning moment in slowmo, the calm look in those eyes at such a moment is unreal – almost scary.