Day of the underdog & protest of the mighty
Kevin O'Brien's heroic knock and Ireland's steely resolve was a victory for the minnows against all those powerful adversaries who see them as an unnecessary adjunct of this World Cup. It was a statement of ferocious intent against all those insensitive remarks made by "experts" for whom sport has a one-dimensional function in a world with disparities of all kinds.
No doubt, a debate is needed on the dilution of quality on a world stage by making too many weak teams enter the fray, but it needs to be handled with care and sensitivity. If the associate teams are not meeting the standards of "equality", most of the blame lies on the strong nations who rarely or never play against them, apart from a platform like the World Cup.
As Ireland have shown, that there is an intense desire and talent in associate teams and they need a helping hand and not derisive rejection which is detrimental for globalising cricket as a sport. We all need to understand that the cricket community is too small and it needs to expand and not shrink. Watching the same teams and faces day in and day out is detrimental to the growth of its fan base. It needs new teams and heroes and more upsets like the one Ireland performed.
Ireland have ignited the passions of fans so much that their next encounter against India is now the most eagerly awaited event of the tournament. It won't be a surprise if there are many India fans out there, who may be even wishing secretly for another stunner. No country more than India understands the pangs of being an "underdog" and the cathartic, emotional high of walloping the powerful and strong.
Even today, despite being the most powerful cricketing nation — talent and revenue-wise — we still seem to be living in a time gone by, judging by the role of victim-hood we love to play all the time. For example, India's dogged resistance to the UDRS, despite being the loudest to protest whenever an umpiring decision goes against them.
India have in the past threatened to pull out of tours, the media has fuelled jingoistic sentiments to acerbate the "them" against "us" feelings and are now questioning the use of technology which by almost unanimous consent, may not be foolproof, but is definitely a way ahead. We need to get out of this insecure mindset, provide a meaningful leadership and not resort to tasteless letter writing to defend our mistakes.
The World Cup is, by all accounts, heading for a resounding success unless the ham-handed, bickering Indian Board scores a self-goal.