Thank you India

Thank you India.

Thank you MS Dhoni for being a man among boys, for your straight-talking, your courage and for being one of us. For the pride you give us middle-class boys from small towns.

Thank you, Gary Kirsten. Thanks a lot!

Thank you Zaheer Khan for the skills, the bag of tricks, and for carrying the weakest bowling attack for any top-four nation on your shoulders.

Thank you Worcestershire for giving us back the Zaheer we didn’t imagine we could have.

Thank you Wankhede stadium, for making the last flickering flame of the erstwhile heartcenter of Indian cricket a forest fire.

Thank you Mumbai.

Thank you Gautam Gambhir for being a far better Larry Gomes than Larry Gomes ever was. Thanks for gritting out what is already, and probably will forever be the greatest forgotten innings in a world cup final.

Thank you Harbhajan Singh for the tears. Our tears.

Thank you R. Ashwin.

Thank you Mahela Jayawardene. It was the greatest one-day innings I have ever seen. And that’s including Sachin’s Sharjah tree-uprootings.

Thank you Kumar Sangakkara, for being the unscrupulous chaalu guy at the start of the match, and the gracious, glorious big man you showed yourself to be at the end.

Thank you Shehan Karunatilaka for writing that amazing book on Sri Lanka.

Thank you Lasith Malinga, you glorious freak!

Thank you Muttiah Muralitharan, for picking up a cricket ball.

Thank you, Sri Lankan cricket team. How can anyone dislike you? You are the pride of our sub-continent.

Thank you Sreesanth. You are the classic a-hole, but you are our a-hole.

Thank you Viru Sehwag.

Thank you, you Bollywood and TV stars, you glory-mongers, you. Thanks for being us for a day.

Thank you Sourav Ganguly for building a cricket team. Today, it’s the best cricket team in the world.

Thank you Sunil Gavaskar.

Thank you Rahul Dravid for being the rock we could lean on for so long.

Thank you Anil Kumble. Grit will find a way. Please become the BCCI chairman someday soon now.

Thank you VVS Laxman equally for the magic and for the dignity. A class act you forever will be.

Thank you Ashish Nehra for coming back from the SA onslaught, you deserve way more credit than you get. Gawky and gangly has its disadvantages.

Thank you team India. It was supposed to be ‘Do It for Sachin’, and not ‘Sachin will do it for us’, and thank you for keeping to it.

Thank you Paddy Upton. We do run chases only one way? No, we can do it the other way, this way too.

Thank you Eric Simons.

Thank you, Doordarshan, for those days of free-on-air cricket broadcasting.

Thank you Dhirubhai Ambani, for the Reliance cup.

Thank you Virat Kohli. Would love to see you lift the damn trophy someday. And thanks once more for ‘Chak De India’.

Thank you Yusuf Pathan. Throughout the world cup, we knew we had Yusuf. And the others knew that too.

Thank you, Hall of Fame sports pub, Road 36, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad. My ears are still buzzing from the whistle-shrieks, and I think I still smell of beer.

Thank you Mohammed Azharuddin for teaching me to love this game. That’s what I remember of you, and that’s what I will remember forever.

Thank you Munaf Patel. Oh how much we laughed! But who cares now! You won! We won! We are all laughing now!

Thank you Harsha Bhogle, for speaking for us.

Thank you Navjot Singh Sidhu, you joker! The cornflakes taste best when the milk has just been poured, my friend. Or rather, who cares? We won!

Thank you Piyush Chawla.

Thank you Yuvraj Singh. What started with those potbelly jokes ended with you as the man of the tournament! We ate our words. Have already eaten them, with breakfast, in the morning today. Didn’t taste bad at all. Shabaash, champion!

Thank you Shahid Afridi for your magical bowling all throughout the world cup.

Thank you England for this amazing adventure of a world cup. To make CWC11 the awesomeness it was, your contribution was foremost.

Thank you New Zealand for packing off South Africa, the only team that beat us, in the quarters.

Thank you South Africa, for giving us the kick up our backsides we so desperately needed, in the leagues. With an easier run to the quarters, I have little doubt we would have become complacent.

Thank you Suresh Raina. Against Australia, a Yusuf would not have done. We needed a Bevan. We got our Bevan. Bevan tended to have to do nothing in the finals of world cups. Just like you didn’t have to. Will you be our Bevan, then?

Thank you Kapil Dev for doing it once, so we can bask in the glory of doing it again. Today.

Thank you Kapil’s Devils.

Thank you Sachin Tendulkar. Thank you, Sachin Tendulkar.

Thank you, Men in Blue.

Thank you India.


Remembering Velettas forgotten gem courtesy Cricinfo .. (and Inzamam’s too)

Velettas forgotten gem.

Remember this innings vividly. Australia ’87 was so very similar to India ’83… a lot of bits and pieces players – Veletta, O’Donnell, and of course Stephen Rodger was very much a glorified Madan Lal then…

Veletta was a runner, a scamperer. He hit a fair few 4’s in an innings of 45 off 31 balls… hitting those unorthodox shots (he wasn’t bludgeoning, if I remember correctly. It was a Fairbrother innings, not a Yusuf Pathan one)…. building up the innings…. eventually winning Australia the world cup. It was probably the most important forgotten innings in One-Day International cricket.. a 45 is not a cameo.

Probably Inzamam’s 42 off 35 in the finals of the ’92 World Cup beat Velletta’s innings though. We of course have no choice but to remember those two deliveries of Wasim’s – and therefore his 33 (which was a cameo), we remember Imran’s speech, and his and Javed’s painfully slow innings to get a decent score on board… We’ll probably remember Inzamam’s unbelievable one in the semis against the Kiwis… it was certainly the best knock of the world cup… but you know what, this 42 was probably the most important innings of them all. I believe Imran and Javed miscalculated somewhat…. and went overboard with the slow buildup. Inzamam changed the dimension of the innings… Wasim of course put the icing, but the innings that made it all possible was Inzamam’s.