Friday, April 1, 2011

As if God ever needed motivation, but here goes...

"I gotta feeling that tonight's gonna be a good night
That tonight's gonna be a good night
That tonight's gonna be a good, good night"
- The Black Eyed Peas
I hope that Team India, me and the rest of 1.2 billion Indians sing this song tomorrow night.
To make sure it happens, here are few motivational posters that I made for the Boys in Blue and the Little Master in particular.
I was at Eden Gardens to watch this match and I have nightmares of that night 15 years later. 15 years back, things started superbly for India with both Jayasurya and Kalu back in the pavillion for next to nothing. That man, Aravinda batted India out the match and Azhar's bizarre decision to bowl on a turner still baffles me! Sachin was the last man standing and when he was stumped off Jayasurya down the leg side for 65 runs (off 88 balls), it was despair and disarray at Kolkata. The match will forever remain Eden's darkest moment in history for the water bottle throwing incident. Lankans went on to Lahore to lift the cup.

The 2003 World Cup was India's best run at showcase tournament since 1983. It was a dream run for Dada's devils to the final powered by Sachin's runs. His demolition of Pakistan was the highlight. However, in the final, when McGrath got him out cheaply, after Ponting batted India out of the math, it was game over India. Sachin got the Man of the Series trophy (apart from 3 Man of the Man awards he won earlier) but was clearly distraught. Against the Lankans in the Super Sixes, he had earlier missed his century by 2 runs.

 The lesser said about Team India's woes at the Caribbean edition of the World Cup the better. Early exit courtesy an early defeat to Bangladesh prompted unprecedented hostility back home. The loss to the Lankans was the last nail in the coffin. The height of ridicule was perhaps the 5 minutes of absolute tom foolery featuring Sachin look-alike Balbir Chand in Sunil Pal's absurd movie "Bombay to Goa" released in 2007 - while shifting channels, I caught the movie a couple of nights back and I cringed.

In 2011, India's road to final has been tough all the way and they have been tested every match. But the script could not have been written better for a fairytale finish - the chance to win the biggest prize in ODI cricket at his home stadium. Sachin Tendulkar has conceded that this is the most important tournament of his life and winning the cup is his dream. The man unarguably deserves it tomorrow...

 ... if for nothing else, just because 28 years has been just too long.

There's a good chance tomorrow - heck even the dates match :)

All the best Sachin and Team India!

PS: The Modern Ramayana tomorrow?
As if the drama of a World Cup final was not enough, Hindu mythology is playing its part in the India v Sri Lanka ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 final with final being touted as a modern day Ramayana.

The Indo Pak “war” at Mohali was played out to a brilliant tale and anything that can help increase the intensity to an already charged ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai will do for the moment! Here's looking forward to the dream final (pun intended, prayed for - fingers and toes crossed!)