To understand the pain of 2007, remember 1983

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: The billionth and odd fan was inconsolable.

“How could we lose to Bangladesh? Our top three batsmen have played more than 1,000 one day matches. They have scored more than 30,000+ runs amongst them.” This was the feeling of the fan in Kalidasa Road in Mysore. Ditto in Shivaji Park and Park Circus in Kolkata on Sunday morning.

I didn’t even try to answer him. It was like all the bevu was thrust down his throat, a day before Ugadi. Even bella would have tasted like visha for fans all over the country.

“Some of the Bangladesh boys are only 17 or 18. All the Bangladesh Players put together have not even played as many one-day matches as one of our top three—Dravid, Sachin or Ganguly.”

“That’s true. These things happen in sports, more so in cricket.”

“Why did the supposedly best batting lineup in the world crumble against their innocuous spin attack? And why did the supposedly best off spinner in India not take a single wicket?”

“That is why cricket is called a game of glorious uncertainty.”

“You may call it anything. How come it looked like we were playing against Australia and not Bangladesh when they were hammering our fast bowlers all over the park? I thought Adam Gilchrist had migrated to Bangladesh when I saw under-18 Tamim clobber our bowlers repeatedly for fours and sixers!”

Nobody had answers to questions that sprang from millions of beady-eyed viewers who watched the double-shocker as it unraveled all night.

“They were superb in everything they did yesterday, be it fielding, bowling or batting. They did not give even a ghost of chance for India. They shut us out from the first ball of the match itself.”

“Where do we go from here? To play Bermuda?”

“Bermuda, known for its famous ‘Bermuda Shorts’, can make it a shorter World Cup for us if our boys don’t pull up their socks! Suddenly, a one-and-a-half month World Cup sojourn could end in a four-day nightmare. If the boys are not careful on Monday, like Pakistan, they too might have to take the flight home and watch Super-8 stage on their Tata Sky TVs from their homes!”

“What if we repeat our performance against Bangladesh again? What if our super stars fail again?”

The Billionth fan was seeing ghosts every where.

It’s possible it could happen again although the team itself would be conscious of the reception they would get if they were to land here within a week after their first match!

But we should remember a thing or two here. India lost to Bangladesh, one of the weaker teams in the competition. That’s bad. Imagine, how it would have been to West Indian fans and players themselves like Lloyd, Richards, Greenidge  Dujon and the fearsome bowlers Andy Roberts, Malcom Marshall and others.

Aiming for a third consecutive World Cup victory in 1983, they lost to India, definitely one of the weaker teams, if not the weakest, that too after dismissing India for a paltry 183. After racing to 100+ for 2, they crumbled against the gentle medium pace bowling of Mohinder Amarnath and were all out for 140.West Indies who had scored 291 and 286 in their previous finals against Australia and England couldn’t score even half of that in 1983!

To some extent, the pain and anguish West Indies must have gone through all these years, is now understandable. If India, for whatever reasons does not make it to super 8 stage, we would have, to some extent, lived the pain of West Indian fans and cricketers.

“Hope it doesn’t happen.”