Living on a prayer, India reach the end of the road

  • Amol Karhadkar, Hindustan Times, Brisbane
  • |
  • Updated: Mar 02, 2012 23:51 IST
  • Shane Watson

    Australian batsman Shane Watson (R) sweeps a delivery as Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara (L) looks on in their one-day international cricket match at the ...

  • Michael Hussey

    Australian batsman Michael Hussey (C) sweeps a delivery as Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara (L) and fieldsman Mahela Jayawardene (R) look on in their one-day ...

  • Daniel Christian

    Daniel Christian (R) of Australia celebrates with Mike Hussey (L) after taking the wicket of Nuwan Kulasekara of Sri Lanka and achieving a hat trick ...

  • Nuwan Kulasekara

    Sri Lankan paceman Nuwan Kulasekara (C) is congratulated by his teammates after dismissing Australian batsman Matthew Wade (2nd-R) in their one-day international cricket match at ...

  • Lasith Malinga

    Sri Lankan paceman Lasith Malinga (L) celebrates dismissing Australian batsman Peter Forrest (R) in their one-day international cricket match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. AFP ...

  • Lahiru Thirimanne

    Sri Lankan batsman Lahiru Thirimanne (R) sweeps the ball as Australia wicketkeeper Matthew Wade (L) looks on in their one-day international cricket match at the ...

  • Dinesh Chandimal

    Dinesh Chandimal of Sri Lanka celebrates reaching 50 runs during their one-day series cricket match against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Reuters/Brandon Malone

  • Kumar Sangakkara

    Sri Lankan batsmen Kumar Sangakkara (C) and Dinesh Chandimal (L) celebrate their fifties as Australian captain Shane Watson (R) looks on in their one-day international ...

  • Shane Watson

    Australia's captain Shane Watson catches the ball during their one-day series cricket match against Sri Lanka at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Reuters/Brandon Malone

  • Kumar Sangakkara

    Sri Lankan batsmen Kumar Sangakkara (R) and Dinesh Chandimal (L) take more runs from the Australian bowling in their one-day international cricket match at the ...

India wasn't playing a match on Friday. Still, one can assume that not just the national selectors but also the state selectors of many BCCI affiliated units would be glued to the television as the last league match of the CB Series headed for a close finish.

No wonder, minutes after Sri Lanka pulled off their third successive win against the hosts, which ensured India's ouster from the tournament, Rohit Sharma was included in Mumbai's squad for next week's domestic one-day championship knockouts.

While those back home hoped and prayed for an Aussie victory, which would have ensured India's entry into the three-match tri-series finals, the team wasn't unduly perturbed and went about its chores in a normal manner. While most of the players watched the first half of the match together in the team hotel, they ventured out for dinner later on.

Umesh Yadav, Praveen Kumar and Rahul Sharma were seen heading for the food court next to the hotel, while Sachin Tendulkar and trainer Ramji Srinivasan went out with a friend.

Perhaps, Lasith Malinga's early blows convinced the Indians that this was the last day of their tour. Soon after, they lost interest in the match and started packing their bags.

Nearly an hour after Sri Lanka deservingly sealed a spot in the finals, the fans too appeared to have turned their back on the team, as there were no acquaintances or cricket buffs in the lobby to catch a glimpse of their stars.

As for the players, most of them were concerned about paying extra for the excess baggage at the airport.

But that's not all; they would be returning home with heavy hearts too, which though won't be 'taxed'.

Almost three months ago, when Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Yadav, Pragyan Ojha and Wriddhiman Saha had arrived early to prepare for the Test series, while the rest played the last few ODI matches against the West Indies at home, there was a feeling that India was extremely serious about their tour Down Under.

But, midway through the tour, after being annihilated by Australia in the Test series, the focus shifted to the tri-series. The world champions were hoping to retain their CB Series crown in style.

As the players called off the night early on Friday to be able to leave for the airport at 6am, they would probably be wondering whether they had any sizeable gains, apart from Virat Kohli, on the tour.

 

also read

Shocked former players call for wholesale changes in team

blog comments powered by Disqus