“Cricket is the Great Indian Disease. Worse than dengue or polio or tuberculosis; no heartache, no ulcers, no plunge in productivity during a match and no stupid bets that make you lose money.” Anuja Chauhan has aptly penned down the Cricket fever for Indians. And making Cricket a religion for the nation are the miracles by the blue jersey men. Cricket is that religion in secular India which unites the divided country. When India wins a match, it becomes a festival for the nation. Crackers are burnt, parties are planned to celebrate it. Dedication, hard work, team spirit, confidence and attitude are the qualities of the sportsperson on the 22 yards. But a single moment can change it all.
Cricket is a game of batting, bowling, fielding and along with these, a game of the single moments. History is written, legends are formed and records are broken in these seconds. Take a look at such nerve-wrecking performances by the men in blue:-
1. 1983 World Cup-
India won their first ICC World Cup. Kapil Dev raising the trophy from the Lords’ balcony is an image still fresh in minds of every Indian. But to reach there, the most crucial match was nothing short of a miracle. India was pitted against Zimbabwe. 17/5 and enter the captain Kapil Dev, his knock of 175 runs helped make India a comeback. Later, Madan lal and Haryana Hurricane managed to hamper the opponent batsmen, thus recording a 31 runs victory and finally becoming the World Champions.
2. Dus ka dum-
Indo-Pak matches are always a hit among the crowd. There’s a different air when India plays Pakistan. But 1999 New Delhi match is a special one. Anil Kumble ripped the Pakistan team. One by one the entire Pakistan team was escorted to the pavilion by Anil Kumble. All 10 wickets were taken by a single bowler-Kumble.
3. Partnership Pride, Fighting a follow on-
Second test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, 2001 is again one such encounter where the least expected happened. The test match was being played at Eden Garden against the best team of that time, Australia. Australian team was full of confidence after having a winning spree of 16 tests in a row. And as expected they started thrashing the Indian bowlers in the first innings and forced India to follow-on. India’s first innings was a disaster, but the determination with which they returned in second innings was as if magic. And the partnership of Laxman and Dravid made history, by making India win that follow-on match by 173 runs. Various records were broken that day. Further in the honour of the match and the partnership, Laxman and Dravid picture is placed outside the Eden Garden ground.
4. Champions Trophy , India Vs South Africa(2002)
The next on the list is a match not known for a great batting side or bowling side but for the sheer luck factor. As if God wanted that match to be won by the Indian Cricket Team. India was playing well and managed a decent score of 261 to defend. Second half started again on a good note for the Indian side, but as soon as Herschelle Gibbs and Kallis set their foot on the pitch, tables turned and the match started slipping from the Indian hands. At that point India’s help came in disguise; Gibbs retired due to cramps and with him leaving the ground, South African team left the ground as well. Rest is history as they say.
5. Shirtless Dada-
India-England, Natwest series, 2002; Sourav Ganguly ‘shirt act’ was an icing on the cake of the high voltage test match. Lord’s ground had not witnessed ODI victory by Indian’s in years at that time. And England gave the target of 325, a big one. But 2 players, just 21 and 20 then; Yuvi and Kaif led India to the unimaginable victory on foreign soil. The atmosphere that day was electric and in spur of the moment, Ganguly was shirtless in the Lord’s balcony, full of excitement and happiness.
6. T20 World Championship (2007)
What’s so great about winning the FIRST T20 World Cup? Practically nothing, neither there’s a miracle, if the story behind is unknown. The 2007 champions were initially not participating in the series. BCCI was not in favour of sending the Indian team for this format. Later when the agreement came, the team lacked seniors; Sachin, Rahul and Sourav opted out to make way for the younger ones. Captain Cool with his youth brigade, sans the experience went on to become the First T20 Champions ever. Talk about fairy-tales!
7. Yuvraj Singh Six Sixes (2007)
2007 South Africa T20 World cup helped Yuvraj Singh make another record. His name got etched yet again in the pages of history. Six balls, one over and the maximum runs you could score; Six sixes. Yuvraj paved the way for sixes on each of Stuart’s ball. India won the match making its road clear for the finals. And the match remains one of the most incredible T20 matches. Kya chakke chudaye Yuvi ne!
8. Home Ground ICC Champions(2011)-
All the odds were in favour of the Indian Cricket Team. Dhoni and his team were ready in full form for the world cup. Indian soil favouring spinners and the crazy mad Indian crowd provided the added advantage. Dream of the millions of the people came true when on 2nd April 2011 India won the nerve wrecking final against Sri Lanka.
9. India vs Bangladesh(2014)
Miracles are not history. Indian team still believes in it. In the year 2014, when crossing 300 for setting the target is a must, India barely manages to set 105 as the target. Given the exceptionally bad performance of the Indian batsmen, nothing was expected of the bowlers. But this match is few of them where Indian bowlers came into limelight. Stuart Binny’s brilliant bowling bagged 6 wickets and India won the match with a 47 run margin.
10. Rohit Sharma in vs Srilanka (2014)
13 November, 2014; Srilanka lost to India by 153 runs. And the ruthless Rohit is the person responsible for it. Rohit 264 and Srilanka 251; the statistics say it all. He became the first person to score double centuries two times in an ODI. The man alone led the Indian team to a win, where the Srilankan side was 13 runs short of his individual score.
Cricket is a Religion and Sachin is the GOD. So when the God of Cricket is a part of your playing 11, it in itself is a miracle. The day Sachin retired, Mumbai was all in the Wankhede Stadium and the entire nation glued to Television sets to watch the marvellous man perform for the last time. The Master Blaster, Cricketer of the Century and Jersey No. 10 are all just some names favourite among his fans. A Bharat Ratna recipient, he is the holder of various records which can never be broken-the only player to have scored 100 international centuries, to complete more than 30,000 runs in international cricket. 24 Years on 22 yards changed the face of Indian cricket. Sachin Tendulkar, the man himself, still believes in ‘Playing it his Way’.