Like life, cricket is a great leveller
The beauty of sport is nobody knows what is going to happen, what comes next, which way the ball will roll. India won the Twenty20 World Championship though few thought it possible. But, in cricket and in life, there is a catch.
This is not pessimism, just cold realisation of reality. Cricket has demonstrated that as soon as anyone thinks he is on top of the game, events prove him wrong. Cricket is a leveller (Sanath Jayasuriya, in hot form at one time in T20, made three successive zeroes towards the end!) it bites back, hard.
Last month, momentous (and completely unanticipated) developments have shattered conventional wisdom. Experience is considered precious but events suggest we over value this quality. When India appointed a new, raw and untested captain, doubts were raised but observers now think Mahendra Singh Dhoni is India’s answer to Imran Khan – strategy savvy, spunky and with the right touch of confidence.
When Rohit Sharma, Joginder Sharma and Yusuf Pathan were picked ahead of seniors, and trusted, there was apprehension but no disaster unfolded, the kids coped.
Experts thought Twenty20 would be a wild slog but cricket surprised everyone. Shahid Afridi and his disciples who tried to belt every ball out of the park failed to make an impact. Instead, Yuvraj Singh hit not one crude shot as he despatched bowlers into outer space.
Bowlers, under severe pressure because of the short format, were expected to be slaughtered but they responded admirably. Pace bowlers retaliated by bowling straight and full and mixing pace, The success of Tweny20 lies in its ability to deliver tighter, more competitive finishes.
While cricket is levelled in this manner, it has also made a giant technical leap forward. Now on, it will forever be sharper, slicker and more refined. But the new series is a new ball game, Australia will certainly come hard at India. Cricket has a tendency to bite back.