MS Dhoni’s decision to have Virat Kohli bowl the last over was etched in optimism. Perhaps, he thought Kohli could emulate Sachin Tenduar’s feat achieved in 1993 against South Africa in the semi finals of Hero Cup in Kolkata. But then, Dhoni should have remembered that Johnson Charles, Andre Russell and Lendl Simmons aren’t the same as lower-order, below par Allan Donald and Brian McMillan that Sachin flummoxed. The Proteas needed six runs of the last over and Sachin denied them that.
You can’t blame the Indian captain, though, for handing over the ball to his deputy. Ashwin, who had two overs left, was having trouble gripping the ball because of dew factor and had already been hit for 20 in his two overs… Nehra and Bhumrah had completed their spells, too. So Kohli was a sorry option. The game was won by the Windies with two balls left.
In the final analysis, it wasn’t about Chris Gayle or Virat Kohli. Unlikely heroes Lendl Simmons and Andre Russell smashed Indian bowlers to all corners of the park and sent the hosts crashing out of the World T20. The proverbial ‘David’ in the fight against ‘Goliath’ India had prevailed.
While this may not be the general voice of nation, I believe the Indian team deserved the blow.
Simmons was allowed more lives than a cat. Twice he was dismissed off no-balls. Overstepping the line at crucial junctures is a cardinal sin and it seldom goes unpunished. Captain Dhoni, who blamed the dew for their loss, should know that a champion side ought to have the skill and character to overcome such factors. Otherwise, the ‘number one T20 side’ tag has little meaning. If you can’t conquer adverse situations, you should not feel too proud to be on top, never mind how you got there.
And what’s with this growing intolerance among Indian cricket fans? The country is reacting, in a narrow-minded way, to Bangladesh’s Mushfiqur Rehman for posting a ‘smiling’ selfie after India’s loss on Facebook.
The diminutive Mushfiqur posted a smiling selfie with West Indies players celebrating on his TV screen. It’s not the selfie that angered the Indian fans, though, but his caption: “Happiness is this….Now I can sleep much better…Windies u beauty!!!!”.
Soon after, the outrage on Twitter and Facebook forced Mushfiqur to delete the selfie. Our tendency to hate anyone who feels happy at India’s loss is nothing short of bigotry.
I am going to feel happy if England beat the West Indies in the final simply because the Caribbean side denied us the opportunity to battle for the T20 trophy. And I will make my pleasure be publicly known. It’s a natural, uninhibited reaction. Most of us will react similarly.
So when Mushfiqur expresses his pleasure, it should be okay and acceptable. We denied them a win and the keeper would have been hurting, waiting for someone to beat us… I wish we were more sporting and tolerable.
Go to Twitter and see how we are behaving. We are calling Mushfiqur a ‘nobody’. We are calling it cheap thinking, branding them idiots and urging BCCI to never arrange future bilateral ties. There are even abuses. We can’t expect the whole world to mourn India’s loss. There will be those celebrating, and it should be okay.
Meanwhile, the Indian cricket team should lick its wounds and move on. So should the fans.