Latest News | India 2011 World Cup Winners by Adam Hollioake
India 2011 World Cup Winners by Adam Hollioake
Has there ever been a bigger single celebration in cricket history? I don’t think so? Why was this such a huge and public win by this great Indian side?
Well the reasons are many! Firstly and most importantly it was played at home and no side has never won the world cup on it’s home soil! I can tell you the pressures that are involved with playing a world cup at home are immeasurable. I (Adam Hollioake) played in our fateful 99’ World Cup campaign in London and the distractions for us were immense and to be honest to much for us to deal with. But let’s put it in perspective. England is a cricketing giant but can’t claim to have a fraction of the attention that the Indian cricket team enjoys. Firstly population 50 odd million versus over a billion in population, secondly the fact it is a national sport in India whilst England will always have football as its numero uno! Thirdly there is the increase in media attention and commitments required by players these days.
So add all these things together and why have this Indian cricket team managed to cope with and in fact appear to enjoy the pressure that has been heaped on them? Well I have had a good think about this and it comes down to 2 key points.
1. Great Players- There are several players that are or are in the process of becoming great players. Obviously there is Sachin, but Sehwag, Khan, Harbaghan , Yuvraj and Dhoni, are on their way in the one day arena as well. Having so many great players settles the rest of the team and ironically it is often one of these great players that puts his hand up to get the team across the line. Great players don’t feel pressure as much as normal players. They deal with pressure every day just by being great, so something like a big game doesn’t seem as extreme to them. I would put it like this, if you work in a morgue you will not be as shocked to see a dead person out in the street as an accountant. You will still be shocked but you are far better equipped to deal with it. In the final when Sachin was at the crease there was an air of complete calmness about him compared to everyone else. Why I asked myself, even he must be feeling the occasion. Then I realized….his senses must be so dulled down from constantly being under pressure every time he goes to play a game, such is the weight of expectation on him. So therefore the big occasion never seems so big to him. On top of this you have the others such as Dhoni, Yuvraj, Khan etc who enjoy bigger stardom in their country than other great players from other countries. I think people in India would be shocked to hear that even our biggest player Alec Stewart (at the time) could easily have walked down a street in London without being recognized by the majority.
2. Simply the best players- The Indian side along with Sri Lanka and Pakistan had by far and away the best team for the conditions. They all had good spinners who could turn the ball both ways, on top of this they all had a number of destructive batsmen and lastly they all had decent quick bowlers. On top of this the Indian side fielded like no other Asian side I have ever seen. They were more like an Australian side or the West Indies from the 70s.
So why do the Indian side have so many great players these days? Well I am a big believer in cycles, but also in the system that the players are raised in. Indian players are afforded superstardom before they have really had a chance to earn it therefore the players who cant handle it are weeded out very quickly and only the strong survive.
Why the improvement in the fielding? Well coaching techniques and foreign coaches make techniques and training routines more available. Secondly the standard of outfields and facilities have improved vastly allowing for fielders to practice diving and other skills the involve being on the floor. In days gone by India had dustbowl outfields that didn’t encourage any sort of diving, I am sure we all have memories in our mind of sub continent players running to get to a ball and sticking a leg out as opposed to diving. Gone are those days and it would be fair to say that India’s fielding led by Raina and Yuvraj was outstanding by any standards!
There was an air of inevitability about the result once Dhoni got to about 10, he marched to the crease and proceeded to knock the ball firmly and confidently into the gaps, he looked a man in complete charge and for me showed how a true superstar reacts under pressure. He had been in ordinary form leading into this game and when he strode to the crease his early dismissal would have made it very difficult to win. Such was the confidence that he exuded this is hard to remember. He is a true 5 star leader….. A 5 star leader never takes credit for the wins, but is there to take the responsibility for the losses, he puts the rest of the team 1st but is there to help the team when they most need it. He has an air of calm that every captain strives for but only very few actually achieve. Compare instead, Sreesanth, Sehwag, Harbaghan, Khan, even Tendulkar at rare times….they all show their emotions and gesticulate at their team mates at certain times.
What can be said of this great man and cricketer that already hasn’t been said? He is quite simply unbelievable, you forget that he is approaching 40 such is his form, you forget that he has carried the weight of the nation for 20 years. I played against Tendulkar as a kid (before his international days) and even then he was destined for greatness, he just had that presence!
Well now it will be interesting to see what decision he makes regarding his immediate playing future. I feel the most obvious decision would be to retire from 20/20 and 50 over cricket and carry on with Test Cricket and retire after getting his 100th hundred, I think it is unlikely that it will ever happen again and would be a wonderful record to have. That said Tendulkar isn’t about himself and may just call it a day.
I am sure the celebrations will continue long and hard for weeks to come and who could hold it against a nation that loves its cricket as much as India. They show time and time again that their passion for the game is unrivalled by every other country in the world. They are deserving winners indded
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