Sometimes in life, you get to be the pigeon, and sometimes, the statue. To put it crudely, sometimes you give shit and sometimes you get shit. There is a binary pattern right there. Simple isn’t it? Perhaps not when 600 million watch you, judge you and bet their personal pride on how you turn up on match day.
Players try and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t . A loss always stings and a loss against your arch rivals stings harder, but losing a final is the hardest. Simply because you did the hard work and beat the rest and yet couldn’t be the best in the end. That sting stays.
Big matches are often won in small battles. And in this final, all Team India needed was 10 overs at the start of each innings to go their way. Your opposition is the best at the start. Mind ,body and heart are in full tilt. But if you survive that onslaught, path to victory becomes easier.
You wear them down by stonewalling them. Because you know aggression is in limited quantity. Mind prevails over emotions. So when Team India announces that they play a ruthless brand of cricket, then they raise the bar of expectations. And when they don’t deliver on those expectations, the disappointment is higher.
Make no mistake, this was a return, with interest. After a 124 run defeat, they handed Team India a 180 run defeat. The victory was so comprehensive that you can actually count the minutes Team India was in the game which was about 30 mins. or so out of 7 hours.
Team Pakistan will have the bragging rights for this for many years to come, just the way they kept basking in the 1992 WC victory.When you have nothing, you latch on to your last best memory. Now,all that will change. Because the next time these teams meet, I am certain, the friendly camaraderie will not be there anymore. Team Pakistan have a habit of overdoing their jibes, a.k.a sledging. And Team India will give it back in the language their opposition understands best. And so net of it, they have created a pressure cooker situation even before a ball has been bowled.
Team India, if you need the world to believe that this was a costly aberration , then it has to show in your next effort in a big match final. Think of Team Australia at their peak, they were not just better marginally, they were better by a huge distance. Often competing teams would implode at the thought of competing with them. But they never let their guard down, they went ahead and kept the opposing team on the doormat outside the house. Never let think, they could ever get in.
So playing too calm or too composed can sometimes be counter-productive. You need to turn up the heat when the going does not go your way. The mind needs to be sorted out. And it starts with the captain. Ruthless teams win big matches and destroy smaller encounters.
Yes you could be great with a counter argument, have better vocabulary to give smug answers to silly questions at the post match press conference and keep tough questions at bay, but the real questions lie within.
Sure it is a victory for Team Pakistan, but remember it still is an upset victory , a fluke, a chance, and not by design, yet. Unpredictability is not a tag for a champion team. Team India still is a Champion team for its consistency.
But remember ,it took a long time to take the monkey off their backs post Miandad sixer. So the question is where is the monkey now? I am guessing it still sits on Pakistan’s back,but it sure is stretching its arms to find a new back.
Like they say, when you win first, its a fluke, second, you were lucky, but the third time, the world says wow! The same logic applies to losing, first time its an aberration,second , bad luck, but the third time, the world will write you off.