I hope Pepsi does not sue me for distorting their ad-punchline "Hu Haa India, Aaaaya India". Well, even if they do, I don't care. It doesn't matter now. India is out of the world cup (unless a miracle happens and Bermuda defeats Bangladesh).
The writing was on the wall yesterday when Ganguly was dismissed. He really surprised me. Ever since he has made that splendid comeback in international cricket I have found him the most dependable among Indian batsmen. While batting, he seemed to be playing in a totally different cricket field; batting only for scoring runs without pacing his innings according to the team's requirements. After he was dismissed the only hope I had was Sehwag; he is one man who has never displayed any nerves on the big stage, for the big game. For him, every match is same, he would never change his batting style come what may. He started well and was playing very fluently before Murli got him. I went to bed after that believing that it was all over. When I woke up today, I found that Team India had lived upto my expectations and did not surprise by pulling off a highly unlikely victory.
So, what does this mean for India? Well, not much for me personally. I am not that big a cricket fan now. But for the millions of die-hard fans, this will be difficult to digest - the team which boasts of the strongest batting line-up in world cricket has not even made it to the second round. It would be a big financial loss for corporate giants like SONY, PEPSI, NIKE etc who had invested heavily in this tournament. According to estimates, SONY stands to lose out appx Rs 1500 million in ad revenues which it would have gained had India advanced. Many restaurants who had invested in big screens to attract crowds stand to lose out. The story can be extended to multiplexes, fast food manufacturers, sports good manufacturers, TV manufacturers, garment manufacturers etc. It seems like a national economic setback!!
Lets look at some positive sides of this setback. For one, again there will be cries from all corners to make cricket more professional - linking players' salaries and perks with their performances. More important than that would be to link sponsorship of team/players with performance. Today, players make much more from brand endorsements than they do from match fees, BCCI contracts etc. This needs to stop.
Second, others (like me) start losing interst in the game. It is high time that we treat cricket like a sport and nothing else. We should stop glorifying and deifying cricketers after every victory and crucifying the same people after a defeat. We should grow up.
Now that India is out, it would be interesting to see which ads will dominate the TV channels in world cup. Will the ads glorifying Indian team and urging them to win still be shown? I hope not!
Also, now I hope SriLanka wins this cup because then we will be able to say that we lost to the best team ;)
Go Lanka Go!!!! Huu Haaa Lankaaa, Aaaaya Lankaaaa...