Two days to go until the India-Australia quarterfinal at Motera, Ahmedabad and the Indian media has already begun to hype the meeting as an opportunity for the men in blue to wreak revenge on their counterparts in yellow.
It would be sweet payback for the loss in the 2003 World Cup final.
Revenge is a dish best served cold.
For an Indian team that has blown hot and cold in this World Cup, despite being the favourites, talk of vendetta is perhaps added pressure.
Putting too much emphasis on a game that can only catapult the winner into the final four—with two more games before the final prize is grasped—is foolhardy.
In 1996, India beat Pakistan at Bangalore in the quarterfinals.
Yes, the arch-rivals were subdued, but the thrill-a-ball drained the home side—they succumbed tamely to the Sri Lankans in that infamous Eden Gardens travesty of a match.
India and Australia have taken similar paths to this stage of the World Cup. Both teams have lost one game each—India to South Africa, Australia to Pakistan.
Both teams are vulnerable. It will be a case of which eleven can hold their nerve best rather than any super-human performance(s) from a specific individual(s).
Revenge would make sense if the reference was to a more recent defeat. The current squads obviously differ quite significantly from the 2003 versions.
Sure, there are individuals in each squad who were there, but the units are no longer the same. The scars do not burn or scald any longer (or do they?).
Over the past two years, Indian cricket has experienced an upswing, while Australia have struggled to hold their heads high after losing key stalwarts.
Keep your eye on the prize, India.
The game is played and won on the field—not in commentary boxes, television channels or in this column.
Quote of the day:
There is no monument dedicated to the memory of a committee. – Lester J. Pourciau