Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sweet and sour dates from 'real cricket'

“..the real cricket for us starts on March 17”, says Rahul Dravid. Wish you beginners' luck, skip. And quite a significant date, that. ‘Real cricket’ touched Group B rivals Sri Lanka on this very day –they won the World Cup on this day in 1996. Understandably the Sri Lankans are not wishing Dravid's men a similar touch at this stage. We meet the Sri Lankans on March 23 and that is another significant date - in a reversed context.

The 2003 edition of 'real cricket' and India’s challenge in it ended on 23rd March. Australia snatched the African Cup. Worse, they thrashed the Indians mercilessly like a heavyweight boxing champ would do to an immature amateur daring the former to a prize fight. They landed the first blow in the very first over of their innings (and the match) by despatching Zaheer for 15 and they did it again in the first over of the Indian innings by sending back Man of the Series and perpetual thorn-in-the-Oz-flesh Sachin Tendulkar for a duck.
I’m sure the one-sided proceedings of that evening continues to prick the flesh of many others like me. Team India can hand their fans a soothing balm by ending their Group B campaign with happy memories of the day.

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