By: Keyur Seta
Mumbai’s weather can be completely unpredictable at times. In the midst of a sunny day, sudden emergence of dark clouds from nowhere can fox anybody. The same analogy can be used for Indian cricket team fans. Till February 14, they had no hopes from the team in the ongoing 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup due to their terrible recent form. Some even felt that India would struggle to reach the quarter finals and would face challenges to beat associate teams.
However, a day later (February 15), a new lease of hope emerged after India defeated Pakistan in their first match of the World Cup. Now, India’s cricket enthusiasts (I am not referring to Gurunath Meiyappan) were hopeful of at least a semi-final berth. But come February 22 when India humbled South Africa and the fans started dreaming of the team retaining the trophy by winning the 2015 World Cup.
This is how the expectation graph of Indian cricket fans changes so drastically. Absolutely 0 expectations transformed into World Cup winning dreams, all in a span of just eight days! There is no doubt that the team needs all the accolades for their wins against Pakistan and South Africa. It is also normal to have expectations from the team after such convincing victories against two strong opponents in pressure games.
However, it is extremely early and amateurish to start dreaming about winning the World Cup 2015. As well all know, it takes one bad loss (God forbid) for the expectation graph to come down severely.
But more than this, there are other sensible and realistic points to take into account before fantasizing the ultimate glory. They are as follows:-
1 Pressure of Chasing: There is no denying that India’s batting order has fired in both the matches. But we shouldn’t forget that India batted first on both occasions. So the team has still not experienced the pressure of chasing a score of 250 or 300 against a strong opposition. Plus, batting under lights can also be a bit of a challenge.
2 Pitch: The pitch for both the matches was batsman-friendly. Apart from the odd ball bouncing, there wasn’t any problem for our batsmen. Hence, batting on a not-so-friendly batting wicket or a pitch favoring fast bowlers will be a different challenge altogether.
3 Bowling Pressure: Nobody can take away the credit from Indian bowlers, who bowled well with a plan in pressure situations in both games. But in both crunch games our batsmen had put together a formidable score to defend. So the real test of our bowling will be defending a total under 250 and that too in a pressure game against a strong team.
4 Opening Woes: India’s opening partnership hasn’t amounted to much in both the games. This is purely because of Rohit Sharma’s failure. Thankfully, on both occasions, the team was saved by the middle order. But to become favorites to win the cup, your opening stand needs to be rock solid.
5 Facing Other Teams: Beating South Africa isn’t the ultimate achievement. The biggest challenge is to beat Australia. Apart from the fact that it is the home team, what makes them all the more lethal is their current form. Plus, it is also time to consider New Zealand as one of the strongest teams in the world.