Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The World Cup Memories - 2003

The 8th edition of the World Cup was held in South Africa in 2003. This time around I was living in a hostel for my engineering course. Saw almost all the matches in the hostel common room, which was filled to capacity throughout the duration of the cup. Have to say watching in a room stuffed with almost 100 people was pretty near to the stadium experience. Most of the matches started in the afternoon. Quite a few second half classes were missed. Bunking classes had to be done with extreme care to ensure that the attendance did not fall short in any of the papers. This was also the cup where the pre-match shows went on for hours and hours and Mandira Bedi became a cricket presenter (?)
The Indian team was now being referred to as the Men in Blue. They had come off a disastrous tour off New Zealand where 100 runs per innings seemed to be the par score for the entire team. The after effects of this series continued with the first 2 games. But after the bad start the Men in Blue picked up and went from strength to strength to reach the finals, where they lost to the Australia. This has been the most successful Indian campaign in the World Cups that I have watched. The team also provided quite a few moments to remember for their fans. The victory against Pakistan which included the upper cut sixes by Tendulkar of Sohaib Akhtar; Tendulkar's pulled six off Caddick, Ashish Nehra swinging out 6 English wickets and then puking on the ground, Ganguly's minnow bashing with 3 centuries against Kenya & Namibia, Zaheer Khan's misplaced sledging in the finals. But above all this would be the memory of the Indian team huddle (which has since been copied by every other team).
The Australians continued their dominance in the World Cup winning all their matches to win the cup inspite of losing Warne in a drugs scandal. South Africa choked again. In 1992 it was the rain rule, 1996 it was Lara, 1999 there was a tied match. In 2003 all the factors jumped in together. Lara smashed another 100 against the Proteas, Duckworth Lewis jumped in to help New Zealand beat them while the game against Sri Lanka was tied because of rains & wrong reading of the Duckworth Lewis chart. The sight of a dejected looking Shaun Pollock after the Sri Lankan game summed up another great South African choke.
With the tournament expanded to 14 teams the established ones indulged in lots of minnows bashing. However sometimes the so called minnows dished back the same medicine. Top of the list would be Kenya reaching the seni-finals. And there was John Davison of Canada hammering the West Indies but the rest of the team could not sustain the momentum provided by him.
For all the on field action there was none which could compare with the black armband protest by Andy Flower and Henry Olonga. Their actions to protest against the "death of democracy" in Zimbabwe effectively ended their playing careers but was definitely amongst the bravest messages ever sent out by a cricketer through his actions. 
In all, this was one memorable world cup. The good performance by the Indian team combined with the viewing atmosphere in the hostel was an experience which I do not think will come again.

Next Stop - West Indies 2007


  1. good one sir .....it looks like you are giving me a tough fight in remembering cricket matches.........one question ...who was the only cricketer other than ganguly to score 2 centuries in 2003 world cup??

  2. If I remember correctly Ponting had 2 with one in the finals...

  3. thoda sa research pe mil gaya, Ponting & Atapattu both scored 2 each

  4. oh!! i missed ponting .....i thought only attapattu scored ....thats why asked.....:)


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