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Cricket defeats all predictions

india Updated: Feb 17, 2011 00:05 IST
Amrit Mathur
Amrit Mathur
Hindustan Times
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Shahid Afridi, the rock star of limited overs cricket, is known for forthright methods, like scuffing the pitch and biting a cricket ball, and frank views. For someone with a reputation of punishing opponents and his own team, he came down hard on all past players, who have already written off the Pakistani team in the World Cup.

Typical of a man who shoots from the lip, he first denounced experts sitting in TV studios, and then offered them wise advice. They should do their homework, and not be negative .

To an extent, Afridi's outburst is an example of a cornered person shooting in self defense. But it is also a telling comment on the current hysteria about predicting the World Cup winner.

The focus is not on cricket but on the expectation that India should win. Added to this is the twist that Sachin should lead India's winning march —and crown his career with one more achievement.

Sane voices suggesting caution are not more than a few. Cricket is, according to age old wisdom , more difficult to judge than women or weather. It is impossible to read a wicket with certainty, and to know what the next ball will do is a complete mystery.

Instances where pundits have failed miserably in judging players are too many. Anil Kumble, dismissed as someone who could not turn a leg break, turned out to be the third highest wicket taker in 130 years of Test cricket.

Virender Sehwag, faulted for defective technique and dodgy temperament, has scored two triple hundreds, and, has a Test record that is superior to his ODI performance .

So, back to the question: will India win? This speculation will rage till the day of the final, but one thing for sure - don't be surprised if you are surprised.