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Take heart, our boys are special

This piece was begun when the Australians were batting, and at the end of the 2003 World Cup final at the Wanderers here on Sunday, nothing has changed.

india Updated: Mar 24, 2003 00:00 IST

This piece was begun when the Australians were batting, and at the end of the 2003 World Cup final at the Wanderers here on Sunday, nothing has changed. We are still proud of our boys, regardless of the result.

India were not supposed to be here, if you go by the comments of our 'experts' and also others from across the world. After the disaster in New Zealand, few back home had given the boys any chance whatsoever.

But they were here, and they played a side that is far, far too good for anyone in the world.

Many say being second best is not good enough, and to them we say, see who are behind us.

A South Africa-Australia final was almost decided well before the tournament began. Pakistan were tipped to be semi-finalists and New Zealand were the dark horses. India at best, were supposed to get into the Super Six.

On Sunday, things did not go right. Many will go after skipper Sourav Ganguly for winning the toss and electing to field, but we will defend that too.

While we agree that it was a defensive move, had we gone in and batted and been dismissed like in the league game against the same rivals, Ganguly would have been castigated for opting to do that. It's an uncertain life, being the captain of the Indian cricket team. Very uncertain.

Anyhow, chasing 359 looked pretty impossible but at least it was a brave effort. And as I said, we were here, in the World Cup final, and others were not.

As for the Aussies, well, they have pretty much made a habit of it.

As I finish this, the prize distribution ceremony is being held on the ground, even as the weather gods, possibly not quite happy with the result, are throwing down angry bolts of lightning. Menacing black clouds and a storm are rapidly approaching.

Be that as it may, Australia deserve to be champions, and our boys equally as much, deserve to be in the final. Well done, Sourav and the boys. And kudos to coach John Wright, who has knit this group into a cohesive unit, as good as they can get.

One word is important here. These guys have been out for close to two years, and it is high time that they were given a rest, to be back to full fitness and vigour, to make us proud of them again.

First Published: Mar 24, 2003 00:00 IST