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Stars in arena, game begins

Who will get the Indian of the Year from the sports category. Will it be Vishwanathan Anand for his World Chess championship victory or the Twenty20 champs.

delhi Updated: Jan 11, 2008 02:03 IST

This is going to be tough: Twenty20 or the World Chess championship? I know most of you will say the Twenty20 cricket world championship, but how about chess? Being world leaders in a game generally said to have originated in India?

Well okay, one is religion and the other a nice piece of history. But that must not take away from Vishwanathan Anand's world cup victory. The sad part is, deep within, even he knew his victory would never get the same billing as the Twenty20 world champs.

Shortly before arriving in India, Anand did make this point, saying he would like to see if his reception was going to be just as enthusiastic as that of the cricketers. It wasn't, though he did get his usual round of felicitations.

Anand is one of the people in the race for the Indian of the Year from the sports category. The award has been instituted by CNN-IBN in partnership with the

Hindustan Times


And then the cricketers. Yuvraj Singh makes it for an all round performance in every edition of the game (till the team reached Australia) — and, of course, the six sixes of six balls in the Twenty20 world championship. He rocked.

The second cricketer in the race is Mahendra Singh Dhoni, in whom the country has found more than a dashing young captain — he is the new style icon, the new superstar. The length of his hair is watched as much as his cricket.

Dhoni comes into contention for leading the team to a stunning victory in the first Twenty20 world cup, after a disappointing start. For an incredulous nation, every match won was just a match won. The cricketers are known to disappoint.

Then they won the cup, and the faith, once again, of a cricket crazy nation. Dhoni showed he is also a thinking man when he gave it a context. Speaking at the grand reception in Mumbai he attributed it all to the small-towners' hunger for success.

Oh, there is yet another cricketer in the field here. And that is the Comeback King Sourav Ganguly. What a man! After being hounded out by a plotting and scheming coach, the Prince of Calcutta roared back into the team. The coach, incidentally, got the boot.

There is then Sania Mirza, everyone's candidate. She makes it for getting a record ranking for a woman tennis player from India and acquiring a reputation on the circuit of someone who should be feared.

And the last man on the list is golfer Jyoti Randhawa for being the most consistent Indian on the fairway — and for becoming the second person in the world to win the Indian Open thrice.

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