CWC 2011: Dhoni's Real Win and Fake Cup, Afridi's Large Heart and Sree's Luck
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It would seem that the ICC and the BCCI are not on talking terms.
They goofed up on the trophy, and brought into public lexicon new terms like perpetual trophy, replica trophy and several other terms that a country high on a memorable win didn't want to bother with.
Two different versions emerged from Haroon Lorgat of the ICC and Rajiv Shukla of BCCI, only to confirm that these two seasoned men had believed, separately and together, that "whatever happens, we will manage."
It would have been good if the these guys had been on talking terms.
They would have been able to manage the Indian media—yes, the same media that Shahid Afridi calls "very negative." More about that later. Right now, it seems that while Dhoni and his boys delivered a real win, they had to make do with a fake cup.
There are a few things from the Indian victory that will always stand out.
While the world has been going ga ga over Sachin's dream and Dhoni delivering when it mattered most; for me, it was Zaheer's opening spell that told me, within the first half hour of the final, that India were going to win this one.
Zaheer has played a truly stellar role in this tournament, even as he remains in the shadow of the legendary Tendulkar and the courageous Dhoni.
Apart from this, there was Sachin's dive to save a boundary and Dhoni's walk to the wicket.
Both were special, and they spoke of a team that was determined to win, come what may. It could also be seen in the admonishing glare from the captain, when Yuvraj almost caused a run out, just as the victory seemed a few hits away.
Those were indeed magic moments from a game that was worthy of a final.
It had Sri Lanka fighting back from a sluggish start to build a decent total, thanks largely to an innings of rare class from Jayawardene. It had India overcome the hushed, deathly silence across a sub-continent when Sachin fell for 18.
What also stands out is Sreesanth's luck, and the good fortune that he seems to have brought to India.
He was not in the original 15. Instead, he was at home, tweeting his disappointment when one of those tweets must have hit Praveen Kumar, injuring him such that he had to make way for the mercurial malayalee.
He bowled a total of 13 overs for 105 runs in two games, never looked like taking a wicket and never did.
Yet, it would seem he brought luck to India.
He played the opening game that India won handsomely.
He then mysteriously made the grade for the final, and whatever his failings, history will forever record his name as one of the victorious 11.
Now, about Afridi's large heart and how it keeps changing from time to time.
Immediately after the Mohali loss, he came across as charming and gracious in defeat.
Upon arrival in Pakistan, he admonished some local journalists when they tried to provoke some anti-India comments from him.
However, a couple of days later, we saw his heart expand.
Perhaps there was some geographical influence to this, but suddenly he seemed to discover, without any medical evidence, that Pakistani hearts were larger and very Islamic.
I don't know if he has heard the statements, but many Muslims in India have come out and politely told him that the number of Muslims in India heavily outnumber the Pakistani population.
He also said that Gambhir doesn't know who was behind 26/11—it seems that he does, and it may be good idea if the Government of India speaks to him to uncover the truth that has eluded them so far.
I have also heard that the Government of India has gone to Pakistan's Government and protested Afridi's comments.
All I have to say in this regard is that, once we were a couple of games into the world cup, I wrote a piece about Afridi and his leadership.
I also said that there were shades of a 1992 Imran Khan in him, and wondered whether he could repeat Khan's great feat.
Well, it seems he is following in Imran's footsteps—just not his cricketing ones.
On current form, it seems that Shahid Afridi is preparing for an innings in politics. He also wants to be rested from the forthcoming West Indies tour.
Might we see him doing the cricket diplomacy some time in the future? Watch this space.
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