Cricket in times of football !
FIFA World Cup has managed to overshadow the Cricket in India.
Never before I have seen so less enthusiasm regarding the India- Pakistan clash, especially in Cricket.Even the media which is always craving for 'masala news' failed to cover the contest which is often dubbed as 'mother of all battles'. Media was more concerned with England not able to beat Algeria back there in South Africa.The reason may be that the FIFA World Cup 2010 is turning out to be the cup of upsets. France, Germany, Spain, England all face the threat of elimination in the first round itself. No major country except Argentina has been able to play like the Champions. But at least this time every country which gets knocked out in the first round itself have 'Vuvuzelas' to blame!
It is always boring to work on a saturdays, so when I reached office, the first thing I asked my colleagues was that if they have any plans to leave early for home to catch the Indo-Pak encounter; but to my surprise half of them were not aware of the match itself.Was it the overdose of Cricket or was it the lack of awareness from media; I don't know whom to blame. Sadly I had to sit in the office itself, but in times of live streaming on Internet, I didn't have too much problem watching the match.
But after some time, I myself found the match boring. Indo-Pak clash was never like this. The peculiar features of Indo-Pak clash are high tension building up before the match, media trying to dub the clash as one the bollywood masala movie which has everything in it for the audience, the two captains themselves accepting that it is a pressure game which they don't want to lose at any cost, the full packed capacity crowd, etc. i found most of these things missing.
Pakistan started on a good note, and at one point of time it looked as if India would be chasing a 300 plus score. But with a team as unpredictable as Pakistan, it would be wrong to predict anything! Pakistan were bundled out for 267, which certainly looked within India's reach. But India too started on a cautious note. Sehwag's stay at the crease was made miserable by some tight bowling by Pakistanis and some there was some injury to compound his problems. A score of 10 ball 32 runs is so peculiar with Sehwag, but this time it was vice-versa.
Gambhir and Dhoni held their nerves to stabilize the Indian Innings with the scores of 83 and 56 respectively. But at one point of time it looked as if India would end on the losing side after couple of quick wickerts, but Suresh Raina and Bhajji had some other plans.The only thing which reminded me that it was a Indo-Pak clash was on-field spat between Gambhir-Akmal and Bhajji-Akthar.
But in the end it was real cliff-hanger and a great day for Cricket (excluding those on-field spats).It was really good to see the intensity back in Indian team which was missing for some time now.It looked as if Indians were not just playing, but they were playing to win!
Good Luck to Team India and hope they bring the Asia Cup back home!