India’s Champions Trophy triumph over buoyant hosts England under dark clouds and fading light should be rated among the country’s best achievements on the cricket field.
On a stop-start Sunday, they stayed focused on the immediate task rather than put themselves under needless pressure, an affliction some of the past India teams have been known to suffer. That demonstrated the talent and self-belief among Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men.
The victory completed a set of trophies for the skipper, who led India to the World Twenty20 title in 2007 and the World Cup two years ago.
A cricketing nation gratefully acknowledges the individual and collective efforts that helped wrest a game that swung from one end to another, heightening the drama after the match had to be crunched to virtually a Twenty20 tie. The youth in the ranks that also lifted India as a fielding unit augurs well for the 2015 World Cup.
India stood out the way they dominated each opponent with the batting, led by player-of-the-tournament Shikhar Dhawan, showing the kind of collective composure in English conditions never seen in the past.
Already No 1 in one-dayers, this set also has the potential to quickly climb back to the top in Tests from the current No 3 spot.
However, this victory will be tempered with caution as it has come with the fires of anguish and uncertainty stoked by the spot-fixing scandal that erupted in the domestic Twenty20 league last month still very much a talking point in the cricket world.
The affluent Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has showered cash prizes on the players and the support staff, an appropriate gesture after they came under fire following the disastrous tours of England and Australia in the 2011-12 season that killed the joy of the 2011 World Cup triumph.
The BCCI would do well to look beyond the power its overflowing coffers bring by introspecting on its management style. It is the most important stakeholder as far as running the game is concerned and unless it acknowledges its responsibility and takes major steps to clean up its own functioning, the scepticism among the fans will only grow.
Conducting its own inquiry into the spot-fixing and betting issues in a transparent manner will be a start in this direction.