Not too unlike one of those dotcom companies of the late 90s that notched up a notional value for a week that would have raised Donald Trump’s dyed eyebrows, the Indian cricket team enjoyed being the world’s No. 1 team for 24 hours 14 minutes to be precise. On September 11, the Men in Blue were the best One-Day team. On September 12, after a terra firma-ing 139-run defeat against Sri Lanka in Colombo in the triangular Compaq Cup, it was a slide down to being third on the rung, that is, with South Africa as the top dog and the Lankans occupying the Indians’ earlier No. 2 kennel.
But being No. 1 even for a day does strange uplifting things for a cricketing nation like India. For starters, nearly every Indian cricket fan — 1.2 billion of them — swelled with pride at the news of reaching the top of the line in a sport that’s played with any serious success by less than a dozen countries in the world. It’s another matter that an overwhelming proportion of the same hurrahing crowd didn’t get to hear the bad news the next day and are still under the impression that their team is the finest bunch of kids on the block. Also, with the happy (and less temporary) news of two Indians facing each other at the final at the US Open Men’s Doubles (yes, one of them had to be on the winning side), a desi winning a bronze medal at the World Boxing Championship in Milan, who would bother about the detail of the Indian cricket team sliding two notches in 24 hours?
Just as well we had been sitting on our derrieres when India’s No. 1 ranking was announced on Saturday. Which is why today, 48 hours after India became No. 3, we can trot out such a smart, up-to-date editorial.