Sunday, October 7, 2012

Finally.

The year was 1983 when they were denied once. They were to be denied many more times. The ride was never meant to be easy; but to be this hard, it did take some hard blows, ugly controversies, badmouthing and blaming.

The West Indies were mammoths, giants, what not. But that was in the 1970s and 1980s. Somewhere along the line, the others had picked up; the giants had not got their hat-trick World Cup; Australia took it then, and thence, it has exchanged many hands, yet, never returned to its first owner. The West Indies were still a great team, in spite of their inability to boast of bright, shiny trophies in their trophy room in numbers as the others could do. Hooper and Lara were some of the finest Test cricketers that could play the game. The West Indian cricket fan could boast of talent, only not of trophies.

T20 world cup was a new happening, and it gave rise to much expectations amongst everyone; players to selectors to the ever-expecting fans. The team that did not shine in the T20 world cup till now, did today. The 7th of October 2012 will always remain a special day in the mind of the West Indian cricket fan. This, I can personally vouch for, having experienced the pleasure of the T20 world cup being brought to India in 2007 ( after a gap of 24 years ). My West Indian counterpart had to wait longer; his agony and frustration only increasing exponentially. Today, after 33 years, he is relieved. For, the trophy is home. Home, sweet home.

Coming into this World Cup as one of the major contenders, West Indies' hopes were majorly pinned on the Predator - Chris Gayle. His brutal massacre of the Aussies in the semi-final would stand witness to that. But, the finals, it was destined to be something completely different. Somehow, this West Indian team winning the World Cup reminded me of Nolan's Batman trilogy. This is not an analogy nor something that I can clearly explain myself. Still, some parts and one quote did fit and fit well.

The total that they put on was low. I was disheartened. In 1975, it was 291 ( then a huge total) and in 1979 it was 286 (again a humungous one ). In 1983, however, it was 183, they had to chase and they succumbed to 140. No wonder I was disheartened. Gayle, the man-to-turn-to had turned to the pavilion before long and if not for Samuels, it would've ended a disaster. The West Indies however chose to show grit, passion, determination and show their 'never-say-die' face. They ably defended their total. "Gayle was the hero West Indies deserved, but not the one it needed in the finals".

This was not one of those matches that was nail-biting, edge-of-the-seat thrillers. It was interesting and exciting; nonetheless this match was better enjoyed by me, via CricInfo, which became my silent radio. As I sat in the window-seat of my bus, staring at my mobile for the refreshed scorecard, anxiously waiting to get home and type this down before it left my mind, the feeling was priceless. This was the match I most enjoyed, in the whole tournament. If the semi-finals was Avengers, the finals was The Dark Knight Rises.

Indeed, the Dark Knights had risen. Risen after 33 years. The World Cup is theirs. They are proud and they damned better be! As I pen this down and glance at the Presentation Ceremony running on the TV across the hall, I see Gayle doing the Gangnam Style. The sober me starts laughing. Somehow, I feel happier that I would've felt if India had won it. Somehow, the fairy-tale conclusion had finally come for West Indies.

The West Indian fan, the meticulous ones, the ones that constantly support, would be elated and they silently utter, "Finally. *sigh* ".


P.S.: Goodbye Simon Taufel. You were one of the best at what you did.