I have fond memories of the Cricket World Cup. Really fond memories. 11 years ago, in 1996, when India hosted the World Cup, we got our first new TV at home. On top of that, it was not your plain B/W TV, but a Videocon Bazooka with speakers so loud that when Sachin Tendulkar hit a boundary, the whole neighbourhood knew it. The TV even came with a remote control, and I didn’t have to sit close to the TV and turn the knob on the old second-hand B/W TV to get the channels – not that there was much knob-turning since we had not subscribed to Cable before, and had to make do with DD. But, no more going to the neighbour’s place to watch the match – it was one of the happier moments of my life.
But, my history with World Cups goes back further. In fact, every World Cup has also been a major milestone in my life too – some really major and others made up :D
Let’s start right at the beginning.
1975 & 1979 – India fare badly – nothing to remember except the infamous Gavaskar innings of 36 runs off 174 balls in the first edition and a shameful exit without even reaching 200 runs in the second edition. But then, I wasn’t born yet.
1983 – Two historic events – one, Kapil Dev lifts the World Cup at Lord’s beating the mighty West Indies. A legend is born. But, another more significant event took place 18 days before the World Cup Final. A Shining R’moured Knight announced his arrival into this world, unnoticed. Both births signalled a new dawn for India.
1987 – India reached the semi-finals but was booted out by England. The Shining R’moured Knight (let us call him SRK for convenience) completed his first year of schooling, and was ranked 57th in his class. But, like India, things were only poised for better.
1992 – India fared poorly, finishing seventh out of 9 teams, above minnows like Sri Lanks and Zimbabwe. SRK also has nothing significant to show for himself other than mediocre school performances.
1996 – India host the World Cup, and SRK gets his first colour television at home. The semi-final ends in tears after crowd trouble at Calcutta, and SRK hates the Bongs for what they did. India has shown some promise, and SRK has also bagged first rank in his school.
1999 – India is fresh from defeating Australia in 1998. SRK is fresh from a 90% showing in his SSC in 1998. India somehow scrapes through to the Super Six stage, and still has not got its bearing right. The team is confused, and all at sea. SRK also scraps through his first year in Mumbai, and he is yet to get his bearings right. He is confused and all at sea. But, both India and SRK are confident that they can rise and shine in the time to come.
2003: India put its best showing in 20 years, and reaches the finals, only to finish second best behind a deserving Australia. While no one expected India to play so well at the beginning, India managed to go where only one Indian team has gone before. SRK puts up his best showing in 20 years and aces his B.Com exams, only to finish second best in the university. While no one expected SRK to get a university rank, he managed to reach a place that only one SIES guy had gone before.
2007: The World Cup is beginning. SRK meanwhile has got a job in West India and is very happy about it. Let us see if India manages to catch up with SRK and remain happy about their job in the West Indies.
Here’s wishing my twin all the very best for WC 2007.