For all the cricket fans who are disappointed by India's performance at the T20 World Cup 2010 I have no sympathies.The World Cup is all about preparation. Teams prepare to be at the peak of their mental and physical ability so that they can deliver their best at the biggest stage to get what they covet most. Players are hungry to show off the champion stuff they possess. They come to display the glorious skill they have nurtured in the games. And they take great pride at every stage of the competition. The champion teams are raring to get on the big stage.
The Indian team's preparation was pretty much limited to the 45 days of IPL matches. Players play against teams that comprise of 4 foreign internationals, some Indian internationals and a whole bunch of rookies trying to make a mark. This format is good for the rookies because they learn much from the seniors, but for the seniors to take this as serious preparation is a joke. They could end up with a seriously wrong analysis of their game by scoring a few runs off rookies. Unfortunately, even on that stage the stars did not perform so there was no real case for feeling bad about the loss.
Simply put, we lacked preparation with the kind of earnestness that wins World Cups. (I also get the sneaky feeling that our senior cricketers feel that they do not need any preparation.) They certainly did not look like a bunch of players who have trained to be at their peak mental and physical ability.
Nor did I get the impression that they covet the Cup. From their attitude it was almost as if it was their birthright. We have arrived and hence we have a right to get the cup, or even to the finals whether we play well or not. We are the Indian team! We are the Indians! Have you not noticed??
Desire leads to preparation and that leads to success. It is nobody's birthright. So you get shown up for what you are really - knocked out of the Super 8's by losing all 3 matches! It was not so much as lack of talent as lack of desire.
On the next count our players were not hungry to show off their champion stuff. They looked reluctant, unhappy, amused, afraid, hesitant, grumpy and almost shocked that they were losing the matches. How is this possible? How are we not getting those big sixes and big scores? How are opponents not falling over like nine pins? Where are those wonderful moments we normally get to give the camera men, thumping chests, running across the field mouthing expletives, baring fangs?
The reason was the the others were better prepared, or were more hungry or desired a win more. Here we had an entire team that was low on desire, hunger and energy including the skipper who seems to have a bad case of cricket fatigue.
The last component is pride. Not one player displayed an element of pride in their attitude. It is a dangerous sign for a team so young to not value the ultimate pride of playing for the nation. Fame and money can be short term companions and one can find that they are easily parted in a very short time if they get carried away. A little bit of fame and money is not the end of the road, it is not success. It is the process that make you rise beyond all this. One must be clear where one's priorities lie, what they are playing for, and why. Wearing the India color comes with a lot of responsibility and they must learn that.
Emperor's New Clothes
And it is time someone told the cricket establishment about the Emperor's New Clothes if they have not already found out. It is time to get back to the drawing board and do some serious thinking. As for the fans, they could do with a bit of thinking as well and move on with life. It is honest efforts that must be appreciated, not false reputations and dishonest attempts.