TIME TO REGROUP: Team India will have to regroup and play some tough cricket.
New Delhi: Don't draw that dagger. Put it right back. Team India has given us enough reasons to celebrate in the past and they can now expect a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold on to, a voice that will still cheer for them when they take the field next.
India came under pressure, some of it created by the expectations of the media and the fans and some of their own. But every Indian team member on Sunday would have been sad. They lost the plot, they failed the country, they failed their own talent and they will have to live with it for the rest of their lives.
None of us will feel that. We are mere spectators who ride the waves of emotions; but that's not the case with these cricketers. They will have to live with the truth that they are not the world champions any more. And that will egg them on to come back next year.
As an ardent fan what was disappointing to see though was the manner in which India almost gave up. That's an uncharacteristic trait in this team that is known to be fearless.
There's no case in pointing figures. Did the team lose because of selecting the wrong lineup or because they were too tired playing the IPL or because of the unnecessary hype that the media created around the so-called Dhoni-Sehwag rift? It doesn't matter. The answer to why we lost is that we didn't play up to our potential. The other team played better. Period. Nothing more, nothing less!
During a press interaction prior to the start of the tournament, the legendary Wasim Akram had been asked what he thinks about pressure of defending a title. His answer was that a team can either buckle or thrive under pressure. India buckled and therein lies the humanness of a team. They aren't a bunch of robots. They are very much like you and me. If we can't win all the time, we shouldn't expect our cricketers to do the same.
You win some, you lose some. You expect support even in times of loss and crisis. And so does the Indian team.
Even the mighty West Indians and Australians have fallen by the wayside. They have been amazingly consistent over decades and this Indian team will also scale similar heights. But at the moment they are still very much a work in progress.
For this edition of the T20 World Cup it's the end of the road for India for sure. But they do have a match to look ahead to. And they should play the South Africans as if they're playing the final and go out with their heads held high.
Sometimes, being able to do just that is more important than winning.