Cheers, roars, applause, mexican waves and a season of twisted tales; it was a season, that may have ended the Red Army on the wrong side of the bank, but it was one that would be indelible on their minds.
Despite severe criticisms, the myriad “betrayals” by the so-called “RCB Loyalists” immediately after the fresh round of auctions, Mallya & Co., believed that their choices would not fail them in bringing umpteen glory. To have to make something seem special, they say, you have to believe its special and thats precisely what Mr. Mallya did. He believed, and the boys didn’t betray his beliefs. Taming the Tuskers on their Home Turf in the very first outing, was the spark that ignited RCB’s upheaval. A slight dip in fortunes marked the next 3 matches and an untimely shower intrusion on the fourth one, and yet once again rapid outbursts were seen about the team selection. And still Mallya believed “Its not whether you get knocked down! Its whether you get up!”
And then in came from seemingly out of nowhere, Christopher Henry Gayle, who swooshed opponents off their feet, blew back the spirit of RCBians and took the world by storm. The universe seemed bedazzled with his spectacular entry, for RCB’s newest ammunition- “The Bangalore Bombardier-333” given carte blanche by his owners, announced his destructive capabilities with a nerve-cracking century. He was best himself- imperial, plain & true. He was assigned with the THREE D’s = Destroy, Demolish and Devastate, and that is what he precisely did. It was his love for the game, tactfully combined with his skill of launching the ball that turned out to be a masterpiece 608 princely runs. He was the man for the RCB in crisis, he did not make his character then, he exhibited it in that crisis. He did not have any number in his mind, if I have to quote from Jonathan Livingston Seagull ‘‘any number is a limit and perfection doesn’t have any limits’! He was sublimity personified, and to watch him hit over the bowler’s demeanor, shredding the ball into smithereens was more delightful than watching “ten thousand daffodils tossing their heads in sprightly dance” (Well, even his jiggly dances outdid them, let alone his sixes!)
Though the threat of Gayle’s silhouette overshadowing them looming large, some RCB fledglings showed great talent and maturity, asserting their own position in a comprehensive manner, the most noteworthy of them being Virat Kohli and Sreenath Arvind. Kohli, entrusted heavily over the likes of Uthappa, Dravid, Pandey and Taylor, did no harm to his reputation, living up to every penny that he was retained for, becoming the tournament’s second highest run getter with 557 runs, not to forget his exploits as a stand-in captain in a team that had more players older than him. Arvind, from an abyss rose to the ranks of Zak’s most formidable opening partner and tore apart many an opposition. 21 wickets bears testimony to the eloquence of his art, instantly putting him on the national scene and probably the Selectors’ radar as well. The true mark of a hero is his humility, and Arvind had fulfilled much more than this characteristic. He might have been a wee bit profligate in leaking runs, but definitely he reassured the faith entrusted in him. There were small sparks from the bat and ball of Mayank Agarrwal and Syed Mohammed respectively, and it was sure of the more promising sign of things to come. AB, Dilshan, Tiwary, Pujara, Mithun, Pomersbach and Zak would not be satisfied with their performances, considering the high standards they set for themselves, and will be rearing to go, the next time they sport the RCB jersey. Perhaps, no summum bonum is complete without the mention of Daniel Vettori. He marshalled his troops well, led from the front with a miserly economy rate and at the same time, with some astute field strategy. No less was the contribution from support staff ably led by Ray Jennings, Venky Prasad and Anil Kumble, who all anchored their roles to perfection.
From crushing the Kings XI Punjab to the famous thumping of the Mumbai Indians in the Second Eliminator, from reigning the Royals in their own den to waiving off the Warriors threat, RCB’s conquest was a special one, one that would incite them to more victories in future. To borrow Sidhu’s words, “When you’re a hammer, strike your fill”, and RCB did just that. They struck into everything that was theirs, and Gayle’s touch turned everything into gold. His charm lightened up the entire scenario, he was like the “Fevicol” who bonded the team, and instilled in them, a miraculous hope. Maybe on the ultimate stage, they faltered slightly where even one small wrong turn could cause a catastrophe, but it was not definitely giving in. They never accepted the defeat until the last ball was bowled, they never succumbed to the incessant criticism throughout the initial stages of the tournament, and the result was unsurprisingly, emerging “Winners by spirit, rather than Runners-up by the game. It is said that only those who dare to fail greatly, can achieve greatly. Indeed, they came out, a stronger, sturdier and much better team than they were, putting all the doubts into the bay. It was a magical journey in all, though it was not the “fairy-tale” ending. And to conclude, there couldn’t have been anything better than these lines from Akon ’ No matter what happened at least we can say “we came, we saw, we tried”’ and a there will come for “our time to shine, our time to fly, our time to be inside the sky, our time to soar…” Like its said, “The Gull sees farthest who flies highest”. Cheers to the indomitable spirit of RCB!