Cup will be poorer without India
The tournament will be poorer without India, writes John Wright.india Updated: Mar 25, 2007 04:29 IST
Defeat in any big game leaves one with a hollow, empty feeling. As I write this, I feel for the team and the support staff and every Indian fan, no matter where they live. It is not an easy time, I know that because I have been there myself.
When any loss arrives, keeping a sense of perspective and balance is challenging. When it happens in the World Cup, it is even more bitter. Bermuda are unlikely to tip over Bangladesh, and that will spell the end of the World Cup journey for our team, the most loved and followed in the sport.
The tournament will be poorer without India. For all those Indian supporters who still travel to watch the Cup, it is a shame that they won't be able watch the progress of their team and discuss and jibe with the locals as the games roll around. If you do decide to come, you'll not regret it; cricket in the West Indies has a special feel and flavour. You can talk with the locals who know their cricket, to see the discos and the dancing in the stands, and the rum and barbecue stalls around the back of every ground.
But with India out of the World Cup, it's like some air has escaped from a ball. The bounce is gone.
Back in India, I know postmortems will be instant and acute. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. I hope everyone remembers that the team, the captain, coach and support staff did not come here to fail. The hours of work and preparation now seem to count for nothing.
At this level, it's about getting over the line to victory and knowing that when victory doesn't come, judgment is bound to be harsh. Winning and losing is part of the game but perspective is no brother of passion. If you are a fan or even an expert, losing can leave you frustrated, disappointed and let down, but I can tell you the team will feel even worse.
Today, as with the earlier match against Bangladesh, victory went to the side that performed better on the day. India's bowling performance was workmanlike. Zaheer Khan was a little overeager at the start but unlucky and Ajit Agarkar should have had Sanath Jayasuria first ball. Sometimes getting lbws out of some these international panel umpires seems as likely as getting water from a stone. To my mind, Munaf Patel was the standout performer with the ball; he looks to have a good future at the international level.
At 133 for 4, Sri Lanka's innings could have gone wrong but they kept their heads. For India, chasing 254, again it was the batting that came up short. It's important you make a good start. For me, it's pointless going down the line of him versus him but I just haven't liked the look of the batting order for these first three matches. It needed more balance between the anchor and the attacker.
We know that cricket is a funny a game but surely, it's not that funny.