If you are an Indian you will never never forget the date 2 April 2011, the day when India was crowned the World Champions at Mumbai. The whole Indian nation is celebrating. Politicians are saying this is the happiest occasion the country has faced since its independence.
As with my match analysis of the Pakistan semi final, I have not consulted with Javed A Khan about what we are going to say in this thread. He has told me he is a little busy for some time and he may have his own views about the new world champions and the world cup review which he will write about if he feels the need.
If I am brutally honest, I did not expect India to win this World Cup and it was the 4th most likely team to be crowned the world champions for me. I expected Australia, Sri Lanka and South Africa (in that order) to better India. However, as fate would have it two of those teams did not even make it to the top 4. I do blame the WC format for this but this is a point I will come to later.
The usual suspects performed for India and did what they were expected to do. Tendulkar amassed 482 runs, averaging 54. Gambhir, Sehwag and Yuvraj were all consistent. 4 out of the top 8 batsmen in the WC were Indian and this is something you would perhaps expect.
Yuvraj played a monumental role for India in this WC. He was the 8th highest run scorer and 6th highest wicket-taker. This is really the reason why India won. The problem India was having in the recent past was that they did not possess a wicket taking talent other than Zaheer Khan so Khan would often have to fight a lone battle in the bowling department. In their middle order India lacked a consistent performer who could assume responsibility if SRT and Sehwag would be dismissed cheaply at the top of the order. Yuvraj gave his career best performance at the most significant time.
And then there was Zaheer Khan who also gave the best performance of his career. What I found was outstanding with Khan in this tournament was not his use of the new ball, but his use of the old ball. He got the ball to reverse swing whenever Dhoni wanted him to and kept picking wickets. He finished with the highest number of wickets along with Afridi. 5 years ago you could not imagine an Indian bowling like this. From India’s point of view hopefully Zaheer Khan will inspire many more pacers who will rip through batting orders.
I have a problem with this tournament format. This WC was essentially a 3 match knockout contest between the top 8 teams.
The biggest event in world cricket should never be organised like that. This format favoured subcontinental teams for obvious reasons, due to their familiarity with low and slow pitches. One would then naturally expect the strongest subcontinental team (arguably India) to win. Hopefully the ICC will not organise events like this in the future. Teams that reached the semi final will probably not complain, but those that did not have plenty to criticise. Imagine India or Pakistan playing in England in aknockout competition? I am sure they would have immense problems- they might lose relatively easily to teams like West Indies and New Zealand.
And finally there was Dhoni. A smart, cool and consistent performer. Dhoni is a rare talent. His batting is ugly and some of his decisions are questionable, but he has nerves of steel. Above everything he is also a very humble human being. His journey has involved applying to become a ticket collector to winning the World Cup for India. His decision to promote himself up the order in the final was nothing short of courageous if not heroic. I recently discovered that Dhoni averages 47 runs more in those ODI’s that India has won. Numbers never tell the whole story, but in this case they do tell a lot. I would say the World Cup was won by Dhoni and Yuvraj. I salute Mahendra Singh Dhoni and at the moment he is in my opinion the greatest Indian alive.
Once again, congratulations to the Indian visitors of this blog and all of India.