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Appreciating ‘Team’ India for a fantastic CWC19!

45 minutes of bad cricket – yes, Virat Kohli was right when he said that it was 40-45 minutes of bad cricket that cost India, a place in the World Cup Final. And as usual, the sportsman loving country, filled with experts, have come out voicing their concerns about which ‘personnel’ are to be blamed for this defeat!

There is no doubting the fact that individuals make significant contributions in a match. However, it is a team that wins the game. There is never a single individual who comes out as a winner in cricket. Even after all these years, most Indian fans fail to realize this. Throughout the course of this World Cup, we saw South Africa’s failure to live up to standards as a ‘team’. We also saw Bangladesh rise to the occasion by performing above expectations. If individual performances were enough, Shakiib-al-Hasan’s all-round efforts should have won Bangladesh the cup long back. It is their collective failure to capitalize on the big moments which saw them end up at number eight.

There is no doubt about the fact that Indian cricketers are treated as demigods in the country. People worship them and take them to cult status the moment they achieve the slightest amount of success. The very same fans thrown stones and burn effigies when these cricketers, who like most humans, fail. As a kid, I grew up in an era when Sachin Tendulkar’s career flourished, and he is referred to as the ‘God of Cricket.’ However, it did not take me long to realize that this so-called ‘God’ could not take India to the heights they eventually went to, until the time the likes of Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Anil Kumble along with a few other young players really started to click as a unit!

If that is not evidence enough, then one must look at the 2007 World Cup. India probably had as strong a team on paper, as Australia had. However, it was the unhealthy ‘team’ atmosphere that led to the lowest points of the careers of some of the legends in that team.

We are as passionate about this sport as some other countries would probably be. However, one must realize that Rohit Sharma’s hundreds would have come to nothing had Jasprit Bumrah not bowled those miserly spells. Virat Kohli’s captaincy would not have been praised had it been a one-man’s game. Ravindra Jadeja’s fielding would not have been praised had those opportunities not been created by the bowlers. It is all the ‘bits-and-pieces’ of the puzzle that add up to make a team successful.

India never quite solved their middle order conundrum going into the tournament. That was a piece of the puzzle which probably was never given the due importance given how well the top order was doing and given the fact that we had Hardik Pandya and the ever-reliable Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the lower order. It came back to haunt us in the practice match against New Zealand and returned again in the crucial semi-final.

One must not take credit away from New Zealand and they deserve every bit of it for the way they fought out tough conditions and got the best out of their players. But, Indian fans, please appreciate the fact that we were the best ‘team’ until this semi final today. Each player, who played, gave his best for the team’s success. It has been a joy to watch this team over the last few years. Yes, a certain world-cup winning champion might be at the twilight of his career. However, he has played his part in making this Indian team reach the semi-finals. So let’s take a moment to thank this team, which has entertained us throughout the ten matches that it has played and hopefully will continue to do so in the years to come. Well done, ‘Team’ India!

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