19th February 2011 and its the first match of the World Cup of Cricket 2011 being hosted in India, Sri Lanka and Bangaldesh.
There is enough material about the world cup on the internet, television, radio and wherever you go. So no point mentioning the details like who’s playing whom and when and who is the favorite and who is the underdog. We all Indians want our country to win like most other cricket fans from their nation.
This is my 8th World Cup beginning from 1983 when I was 9 years old, so technically I was a toddler during the first one and a bumbling 5 year old during the 2nd. I remember the 3rd world cup, known as Prudential World Cup. I remember watching the Finals LIVE on Doordarshan, interrupted by ‘Batmya’ at 7.30 pm and ‘Samachar’ at 9.00 pm but it was a memorable night when India lifted the cup, although honestly I now have a very vague memory of that night but enough to feel proud of witnessing history.
1987 was a heart breaker when India lost to England in the semis and i remember the pin-drop silence walking out of the Wankhede at the end of that match. I was there and do not want to remember it. 1992 was the best format where every team played every other. I remember breaking my home window grill when India lost to Australia and our batsman did not take the match tieing run when it was available. I remember running home from my final board exams to watch the semifinals and i remember the 2 deadly in-swingers Wasim Akram bowled in the finals.
1996 was watched with friends either at a different freinds house every match and India Australia match in Wankhede is memorable, not only because it was an electrifying atmosphere but also because the manner in which all our freinds procured the tickets withstanding lathicharge from police. I had my arm swollen for a week. The semifinal loss was the worst though and I stopped watching after stone-pelting started.
1999 world cup has mixed emories with superb victory over Sri Lanka and Pakistan followed by ugly losses against Zimbabwe only to lose badly against South Africa and Australia
2003 was of course the best so far with India doing really well, Nehra’s 6 wickets in Durban and Sachin’s 98 against Pakistan are 2 of the favorite matches. The loss in Finals made me hate Australia and Ricky Ponting even more and I continue to dislike them.
2007 was blink and miss and literally I missed it as I was travelling during both of India’s losses against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Both times I was in the train, night journey with matches being in Caribbean I was checking scores through cell phone and SMS’s only to discover that India was losing and the world cup was over before it started.
Now its 2011. This one is huge. Its at home and as mentioned above all of us have high hopes for India to win it. This also is Sachin’s ( hopefully not) realistically last world cup. He is the guy who has defined ODI cricket and it would be a Billion people’s dream come true if he were to lift the world cup on his home ground on 2nd April, 2011.
My elder son is about the same age I was in 1983. Maybe the history would repeat itself. Fingers Crossed.