Australian cricketers won against political odds

Against all odds, after being nearly written off after losing its first two marches of the tournament, Team Australia proved its mettle yet again and won the ICC 2023 World Cup on Sunday, 19 November 2023, at Ahmedabad (India), for a record sixth time.

Smart cricketing brains of Team Australia prevailed over the brains and wealth of political infrastructure of India. Of their 6 World Cup wins, the recent win against the virtual gods of cricket, must be seen as Australia’s greatest win. Australia played its cricket hard and won, without succumbing to pressures or the designs of the hosts.

The ruling political party of India, seemingly lacking any cricketing wisdom or the nitty gritty of the sport, spared nothing to ensure Team India’s win for boosting its own electoral chances at the ballot box. The itinerary, venues and nature of wickets were seemingly meticulously planned over the past months and years. However, a burden of Himalayan expectations from the politicians and 1.4 billion people, represented by nearly 130,000 spectators and political activists on the ground, and the unnecessary hype leading to the final match backfired spectacularly for the political planners after Captain Cummins chose to bowl first on a tricky Ahmedabad wicket. Perhaps, Pat smelled the cat after Team Pakistan’s sudden debacle, batting first on the same wicket, a few days ago.

Noticeably, Indian Prime Minister hurriedly ‘handed over’ the World Cup to Captain Cummins, leaving the latter alone on the stage bewildered, before rushing into the Indian dressing room, against the ICC rules, for a quick video recording, which circulates now on social media.

Australia won the championship based on its solid cricketing effort all around and against the odds. Australia lost the first two matches of the tournament, and many doubted their ability to make any dent in the tournament. But Captain Cummins seemed resolute, as the team gelled behind him and remained unbeaten till they won the championship on recording their 9th consecutive win in the tournament.

There was no hoo-ha or any exaggerated hype here in Australia, before or after the win, just because not many Australians were even aware about the tournament and those who passionately follow cricket just accepted the win with traditional Australian modesty, the win was nothing new to them. Australia punches much above its weight and is one of the top sporting countries in the world despite having a modest population of just 26 million people.

In contrast to Australia, a great hype was created in India about a wishful invincibility of Team India. However, the hype crashed when Team India lost shockingly by 6 wickets and, with that, all the post-win celebrations planned by India’s ruling party (and its followers) never came to fruition, much to the dismay of the current rulers of India who would have used Team India’s success as a match winning political tool to win the ongoing assembly elections in a number of states and the all-important General Elections in May 2024.

For its longevity, the game of cricket must be respected by one and all, especially by its guardians, and not allowed to be misused by some as a political tool. The ICC must appreciate that money and glitter are not everything.

A sickening politicisation of cricket in India may possibly kill not only the image and credibility of Indian cricket, which is bad news for the ICC, but also potentially affect cricket in other countries, as alleged recently by legendary Sri Lankan skipper, Arjuna Ranatunga. One must ask why the authority of the BCCI President (current and past) is dwarfed by that of the BCCI Secretary (a politician). The current president of the BCCI, Roger Binny, who is an eminent cricketer of the 1983 World Cup fame, was never shown on the camera in the final.

BCCI’s absurd decisions, including a weird decision to stage the tournament final at Ahmedabad, may possibly make the Indian cricket vulnerable to a decadent future. Conspicuous absence of illustrious Kapil Dev, Mahindra Singh Dhoni and Saurabh Ganguly from the final’s guest list reflects its politically vindictiveness.

Aussie cricketers were despicably trolled on social media after the match. During the match, an unsportsmanlike behaviour of the local crowd shows cricket is not respected or understood by Indian politicians or their zombie followers. Sad!

Bill K Koul [22 November 2023, Perth, Western Australia]

Copyright © Bill K Koul

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