Hello and welcome once again to DRS, my very own take on what's happening in the world of cricket. It's a great day to be blogging on cricket or doing a video blog on cricket because today, a year ago, was that historic day when Mahendra Singh Dhoni's team lifted the World Cup 2011. That's right, even the thought of that day brings a smile to one's face.
I think it was a remarkable day in Indian cricket. All the pressure that was there of a home crowd, India overcame all that; they overcame a spirited Sri Lankan resistance to win the World Cup in Mumbai on that terrific day for Indian cricket. The irony is, instead of celebrating today I sense an almost mournful mood. It's as if a year is an eternity in the game of cricket. We often say in politics that a week is a long time but it seems that a year is almost like an era in cricket. The 2011 World Cup success is like a distant memory quite simply because in the last year we've had terrible defeats, particularly in England and Australia, and then we lost the Asia Cup. In fact we didn't even reach the finals, losing to Bangladesh, leading many to believe that the Indian team is on a permanent downslide.
I think that is extremely unfair. Teams go through highs and lows. We reached the summit in 2011 and as any mountaineer will tell you, once you've scaled the peak you go down. That's what has happened with Dhoni and his team. A number of the players who were instrumental in that success, like Sachin Tendulkar and possibly Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan, are now at the fag end of their careers, or at any rate not the players that they were in 2011.
But on the positive side, we've discovered new batting heroes. Virat Kohli is a world-class player now; Rohit Sharma is showing the potential of getting there. So the batting is showing potential. The bowling is a problem. We don’t have death bowlers and the moment or a replacement for someone like Zaheer, which is perhaps why in the next few years India will lose more matches than they will win. The challenge is to stay with these players, repose faith in the young talent. The only way you can build is when you are ready to give youngsters a chance.
I think Dhoni has put it right. He's a candid man, who said 'look, every team goes through highs and lows, [and] we've got to repose faith in the players'. The one thing that's true is that the Indian fan is very fickle. The same fan who was celebrating and calling Dhoni the greatest captain India has ever had, is now at times calling for his head. Look guys, it's the same man. Dhoni hasn’t changed. It's just that the team he has today, perhaps, is a young team yet to mature. It doesn't have the experience that the previous team had and had played in foreign conditions which are always tough for India, particularly England and Australia.
So I think the challenge, if we are to do well in 2015 which should be our next goal, is to retain faith in a bunch of young players who have the potential to maybe become world-class players. Kohli is a good example. The Indian selectors reposed faith in him which is why Kohli today is delivering results. We need to do that with five or six other players so that we have a core of players for the 2015 World Cup campaign.
So guys, the next time you want to target the India team, think about April 2, 2011. It wasn't all that long ago, and today is a day to really celebrate what Dhoni and his team achieved on that historic day. Just one more positive thought to leave you with, because I think it's important to keep thinking about India positively, is that until 2015 India are the world champions. They may lose the odd match in the Asia Cup, we may lose in tri-series, but history will remember the World Cup. And as of now, we are the World Cup champions until 2015. No one, no critic, can take that away from us.