Trinidad mourns India's final loss
Even the good luck wish from his rival-turned-friend and contemporary genius Brian Lara was not enough to help Sachin Tendulkar conquer the cocky Australians.Updated: Mar 25, 2003, 19:22 IST
Even the good luck wish from his rival-turned-friend and contemporary genius Brian Lara was not enough to help Sachin Tendulkar conquer the cocky Australians.
Lara, who had once been seen as challenger to Tendulkar for the unofficial best batsman title, has in recent years been the Indian star's confidant and friend.
Having seen his own team's challenge at the World Cup come to an end in the first stage, Lara - like the hosts and many other cricket fans around the world - backed India to get the measure of the defending champions.
"I would love to see Sachin and the boys really put it across the Australians -- sort of give them a bit of humble pie before they come out to the Caribbean," Lara had said on the eve of the final.
But that was not to be. If any thing, it was the Australians who stuck it up against the Indians with their intimidating brand of cricket in the final on Sunday.
Once the Australians ran up a huge total, a pall of gloom descended across the island.
And when the Indian maestro top edged for a simple catch falling once again to Glenn McGrath, it was not only the billion hearts back home in the subcontinent that sunk but a few thousands among the Indian diaspora here too.
Cricket is the umbilical chord that connects the ethnic Indians here to their motherland. It might not be mere coincidence that India's all three Test wins in the last thirty years have come in Trinidad which the expatriate Indians have made it their home away from home.
And it was also here that Tendulkar had registered his first century on the Caribbean soil last year.
Little wonder then that the whole island had rooted for India against the awesome Aussies in the World Cup final on Sunday which was broadcast live. Temples and other places of worships were given a go-by, and pubs kept their bars open through Saturday night to Sunday morning.
One businessman here promised to buy ten cases of beer to celebrate India's victory but as wickets fell one by one he emptied his glass in one gulp and quickly walked out.
Senior citizens were sorrowful as they felt they might never live to see India reclaim cricket's coveted trophy. Some blamed the captain's decision to bowl first, some others blamed the bowlers.
India's winning run in the lead up to the final had put the Trinidadians on a high and they had pinned their hopes on Tendulkar to lead India to victory against Australia.
There was some consolation though when Tendulkar was named Man of the Tournament, but then, as the little genius himself said, an individual award can hardly make up for the team's title triumph.