April 11, 2011

How do you top a World Cup win?

Some said the World Cup success would increase the fans' appetite for the IPL. That seems optimistic
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It's best called the idiot smile, and most sports fans can relate to it. It's usually accompanied by the faraway look. You can see a lot of them around India these days - in the stands at cricket matches, in restaurants and airport lounges, at office workstations.

Behind the idiot smile lies bittersweet emotion. It's prompted by recalling the highest of highs, but it also comes tinged with the realisation that life will never get better. Spanish football fans experienced it at Soccer City last July, and the Fenway-Park faithful felt it come on when the curse of the Bambino was finally overcome. Now it's the turn of the Indian cricket fan.

The Indian Premier League's opening game, in Chennai, didn't attract a full house. A day later, in Kochi, the massive Nehru Stadium was less than half-full for the Tuskers' first game. The state assembly elections, to be held this Wednesday, might have been a factor, but the vast swathes of empty seats would certainly be of concern to owners who hadn't been especially keen to play in Kerala in the first place.

What did we expect, though? After India won the World Cup, there was a school of thought that suggested interest in the IPL could only increase as a result. Such people clearly haven't watched much sport. Or if they have, they don't understand how the fan thinks.

When your team wins the biggest honour in the game, whether that's a World Cup, a World Series pennant or a Champions League title, you experience end-of-life sensations. It doesn't always need to be a trophy either. Just ask those who were at Headingley in 1981, the Eden Gardens in 2001 or Edgbaston in 2005.

I remember staring at the empty concrete stands in Kolkata in 2001, long after players and fans had left. It was the first Test match I had covered. It may as well have been the last. How do you top that? You don't, not even if you've seen 60-odd games since.

For an entire generation of Indian fans, April 2 was such a day. Many English and Australian fans get most nostalgic about Ashes campaigns. And while there are lots of Indians who prefer the longer version of the game, the country's cricket is inextricably linked with the 50-over version. It always goes back to 1983. Just as every goal Manchester United score is a tribute to the Busby Babes, every Indian run and wicket owes something to the spirit of '83.

There comes a time, though, when the weight of history and nostalgia can crush you. Nearly three decades after that Lord's afternoon, India were getting to that stage. A new set of fans, for whom Kapil's Devils were no more than Youtube footage, needed a new focal point, something of their own to hold on to.

It wouldn't have mattered to most if they had beaten Netherlands or Zimbabwe in the final. A win is a win. But the fact that it came after back-to-back victories against Australia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka - three teams with genuine big-tournament pedigree - made it all the more satisfying. MS Dhoni and his team breathed life into the cliché that you have to beat the best to be the best.

The casual celebrity-spotting crowd will still turn up for IPL games. But for the serious fan, recovery could take a while. And any comparisons with Ahmedabad, Mohali and Mumbai will invariably be unfavourable.

The players, too, haven't been immune from the morning-after feeling - both those who were part of history as it was made and those who missed out. Gautam Gambhir will have banked about $171,000 for the one run he made in Kolkata's opening-night defeat. But who could put a price on the 97 he made in a World Cup final?

When your team wins the biggest honour in the game, whether that's a World Cup, a World Series pennant or a Champions League title, you experience end-of-life sensations

RP Singh has won an IPL (with Deccan Chargers) and the purple cap given to its leading wicket-taker. On Saturday night, playing for a new team, he looked very much like a man conscious of the fact that the most important bus had been missed. For someone who was part of the national team when the push to glory began under Dhoni and Gary Kirsten, IPL riches are poor consolation.

The discerning fan will also have noted that the expansion to 10 teams has made the gulf between the great and the average all the more apparent. It means 70 Indians are guaranteed starting places. Not even half that number have what it takes to compete on equal terms with international cricket's finest.

Had Mahela Jayawardene been captaining Sri Lanka instead of the Tuskers, he'd have thrown the ball to Lasith Malinga for the 18th over on Sunday. Instead, he looked around at a threadbare attack and settled on Raiphi Vincent Gomez. Three mighty AB de Villiers sixes later, the match was as good as over.

Even if the overseas quota is increased to five players - and for that to work, Pakistani players will have to be welcomed back - most teams will still have a popgun bowler or out-of-his-league batsman who can be picked on. However great the hype - and the commentators seem to be outdoing themselves even in Lalit Modi's absence - the lack of depth can't be wished away.

Club football is a different beast. With no salary cap in place, the likes of Real Madrid or Chelsea can hoover up available talent, even if that means stars rotting on the bench. The IPL's insistence on a homegrown quota makes it relevant to a local audience and keeps the playing field even, but it also means that you won't ever see a team that can match the excellence of Ponting's Australia (2003-07) or the batting depth of Dhoni's India.

One of the most eloquent takes on the nature of fandom, its ecstasy and agony, is Colin Schindler's Manchester United Ruined My Life. Two decades from now, you can expect a similar treatise from a middle-aged Indian. Only, this one will be called How Dhoni Ruined Everything. One fluid swing of the bat, the ball soaring into Mumbai's night and a foothold on cricket's highest peak. You can only go downhill from there.

Dileep Premachandran is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Arun14 on April 14, 2011, 21:02 GMT

    Not to worry.. the crowds will return next year when there's no World Cup win to cheer about. And even now it's not all that gloomy. You see the stadium half empty, I see it half full.

  • Vilander on April 14, 2011, 19:09 GMT

    Accurate article, the casual fans will throng the ipl for the die hards it would take some time. but IPL does give a chance to those who missed out on the WC narrowly to release some frustration.

  • IMJimmy on April 14, 2011, 12:26 GMT

    As I read this article I felt I am expressing my thoughts in writing. Brilliantly written. I am an ardent anti-IPL guy and was so much happy that World Cup was scheduled before IPL. At least we got the chance of playing fit guys. Last 2 years in ICC tournaments we had seen the after-effects of IPL. The feeling of winning the World Cup is still fresh and IPL seems a unlaughable joke in front of that.

  • Nata on April 13, 2011, 15:16 GMT

    you are right, post WC win this IPL is nothing! In fact who cares man???I just tune in to see Sachin smile :) April 2nd images will never leave my heart. You rightly mentioned, for a whole generation April 2nd will remain their DAY for Indian cricket.

  • on April 13, 2011, 7:30 GMT

    Indian team may go downhill from this "high" as Dileep says, but lets hope its the beginning of an era- Indian era in cricket for a long time to come, with India climbing many more such Mount Everests...Go India Go..may it be the beginning of a never ending pursuit of excellence!

  • IMObserver on April 13, 2011, 2:38 GMT

    Pleasure the writers and fans get is essentially vicarious. Players on the other hand get the pleasure out of playing. Look at Tendulkar. I odn't think he, though overjoyed, winning the cup is back to the act which probably gives him additional joy. India probably should pick him in T20 World Cup; it appears that he is doing better than most. He is not loosing any interest in IPL. Then there is Kallis. Who might have let down momentarily but back to his best in IPL. There is lot of life after winning the World Cup. Attitude should be, as shown by Tendulkar and Kallis, "You ain't seen nothing yet".

  • on April 12, 2011, 23:32 GMT

    Downhill - ohh its acceptable for me! atleast I can die knowing very well that I have seen that momentous scene and experienced that out of this world feeling of knowing that my team are world champions..Good article!

  • cricmatters on April 12, 2011, 23:29 GMT

    India's famous batting lineup stood up and delivered when it was needed. Both against Australia and Sri Lanka they chased a reasonable target and the middle order did not cave in. Bowling attack wasn't too bad. Both Zahir Khan and Harbhajan took wickets whenever the opposition seemed to be getting away with the game. The most important piece in the jigsaw was Yuvi's bowling which plugged the gap and didn't allow the opponents to post mammoth totals. It was a win based on team effort instead of individual brilliance because every player played their part in the overall win. India looked hungry, determined and willing to win at all costs and that self belief eventually paid off because they kept their focus and peaked at the right time.

  • on April 12, 2011, 22:51 GMT

    Hey even a big cricket fan like me and many others , cant relate to IPL this season. The euphoria , the pride, the high after that last six is still not settled down. You need to give rest your imagination and apetite for glory after this..and I am referring to a Cricket fan's heart here.

    C u empty stands, till we see Bleed Blue again !!

  • Gujaratan on April 12, 2011, 20:45 GMT

    BCCI was RICH, even before IPL I, why in the world they want to be more RICHER? I JUST DO NOT GET IT, why make our STAR WC winning and No.1, Test players so mentally and physically FATIGUE? what is MORE important than defending or being at the TOP in test and ODI and WC winner? or BEING a SUPER RICH, but at the Bottom of the List, like Zimb and Bangladesh or Like KENYA?, what is more important? Super Rich (being at the bottom) or No.1 side in TEST, ODI AND WC WINNER?

  • Arun14 on April 14, 2011, 21:02 GMT

    Not to worry.. the crowds will return next year when there's no World Cup win to cheer about. And even now it's not all that gloomy. You see the stadium half empty, I see it half full.

  • Vilander on April 14, 2011, 19:09 GMT

    Accurate article, the casual fans will throng the ipl for the die hards it would take some time. but IPL does give a chance to those who missed out on the WC narrowly to release some frustration.

  • IMJimmy on April 14, 2011, 12:26 GMT

    As I read this article I felt I am expressing my thoughts in writing. Brilliantly written. I am an ardent anti-IPL guy and was so much happy that World Cup was scheduled before IPL. At least we got the chance of playing fit guys. Last 2 years in ICC tournaments we had seen the after-effects of IPL. The feeling of winning the World Cup is still fresh and IPL seems a unlaughable joke in front of that.

  • Nata on April 13, 2011, 15:16 GMT

    you are right, post WC win this IPL is nothing! In fact who cares man???I just tune in to see Sachin smile :) April 2nd images will never leave my heart. You rightly mentioned, for a whole generation April 2nd will remain their DAY for Indian cricket.

  • on April 13, 2011, 7:30 GMT

    Indian team may go downhill from this "high" as Dileep says, but lets hope its the beginning of an era- Indian era in cricket for a long time to come, with India climbing many more such Mount Everests...Go India Go..may it be the beginning of a never ending pursuit of excellence!

  • IMObserver on April 13, 2011, 2:38 GMT

    Pleasure the writers and fans get is essentially vicarious. Players on the other hand get the pleasure out of playing. Look at Tendulkar. I odn't think he, though overjoyed, winning the cup is back to the act which probably gives him additional joy. India probably should pick him in T20 World Cup; it appears that he is doing better than most. He is not loosing any interest in IPL. Then there is Kallis. Who might have let down momentarily but back to his best in IPL. There is lot of life after winning the World Cup. Attitude should be, as shown by Tendulkar and Kallis, "You ain't seen nothing yet".

  • on April 12, 2011, 23:32 GMT

    Downhill - ohh its acceptable for me! atleast I can die knowing very well that I have seen that momentous scene and experienced that out of this world feeling of knowing that my team are world champions..Good article!

  • cricmatters on April 12, 2011, 23:29 GMT

    India's famous batting lineup stood up and delivered when it was needed. Both against Australia and Sri Lanka they chased a reasonable target and the middle order did not cave in. Bowling attack wasn't too bad. Both Zahir Khan and Harbhajan took wickets whenever the opposition seemed to be getting away with the game. The most important piece in the jigsaw was Yuvi's bowling which plugged the gap and didn't allow the opponents to post mammoth totals. It was a win based on team effort instead of individual brilliance because every player played their part in the overall win. India looked hungry, determined and willing to win at all costs and that self belief eventually paid off because they kept their focus and peaked at the right time.

  • on April 12, 2011, 22:51 GMT

    Hey even a big cricket fan like me and many others , cant relate to IPL this season. The euphoria , the pride, the high after that last six is still not settled down. You need to give rest your imagination and apetite for glory after this..and I am referring to a Cricket fan's heart here.

    C u empty stands, till we see Bleed Blue again !!

  • Gujaratan on April 12, 2011, 20:45 GMT

    BCCI was RICH, even before IPL I, why in the world they want to be more RICHER? I JUST DO NOT GET IT, why make our STAR WC winning and No.1, Test players so mentally and physically FATIGUE? what is MORE important than defending or being at the TOP in test and ODI and WC winner? or BEING a SUPER RICH, but at the Bottom of the List, like Zimb and Bangladesh or Like KENYA?, what is more important? Super Rich (being at the bottom) or No.1 side in TEST, ODI AND WC WINNER?

  • Gujaratan on April 12, 2011, 20:36 GMT

    @sandson, Dhonia is Great, even Ian Chappel said it, Dhoni WON, Wt20 and WC, without having Genuine Bowling attack line, McGrath, Lee, Gillespie, WARNE, so YES, DHONI is GREAT, PONTING IS NOT, if ponting WAS GREAT, he would have WON this WC'11 WITHOUT Warne and Mc Grath.

    besides very well said Mamidipudi SwarooP and Knowledge_eater. 90 games from your local team, even it is at the bottom of the league, you still go and support them, watch them do WELL, JUST IN THAT ONE GAME, is the greatest joy, IT IS LIKE beating AUS by 1 wicket, with 1 balls left, CHASING 434, is the GREATEST than 100's of other WINS, INCLUDING ANY WC FINAL.

  • kanishkazico on April 12, 2011, 18:14 GMT

    40 days of draining worldcup, barely couple of days at home, and now 50 days of hectic IPL ! Com'on Indian regular players need rest to perform at highest level in upcoming full tour of West Indies, England, Australia scheduled later this year to maintain their no. 1 ranking. I mean I can imagine BCCI and players wanting to play IPL, as they are getting all the money, but I am wondering why we Indian cricket fans buy it!! We should understand the detrimental effect IPL is having on Indian regular players, mental and physical fatigue caused by IPL2 and IPL3 caused India to crash out of follow up T20 worldcups in 2009 and 2010 respectively!! Still no lessons learnt!! Yet again we have IPL4 !! Even a cricket frenetic like me believes we should boycott watching IPL. I do care India had a good team in World cup and we won, but why do i care if Kolkata (or Delhi or Bangalore) has good team or not in IPL !! How does it matter if they win or lose, why are we watching?!!

  • Percy_Fender on April 12, 2011, 14:01 GMT

    The timing of this IPL seems to have been decided upon under the presumption that the IPL is above verything else. Coming after some wonderful cricket in the World Cup 2011, franklyspeaking the IPL games seem pedestrian. Maybe it will pick up as it goes on. Perhaps, the paying public has realised after all that 20/20 is not the real game after all because the 50 over ODIs was the game of cricket not some colourful entertainment.For keen followers of cricket however, the prospect of seeing potential India stars is what is exciting. After all the hype, I hope we do get a glimpse of Atul Sharma,Varun Aaron and others playing the game rather than giving interviews. I wonder why they are being held back.

  • world_peace on April 12, 2011, 11:43 GMT

    @sandson , Hope you didnt mean to disgrace Martyn, Just on sheer quality he is as good as ponting and better than the rest. Its just that he was in a great team and so his chances were limited. Sublime is the word to describe with his batting and it is the word which you cannot associate with most Australian batsman as they are associated with the word Powerhouse.

  • RFeynman on April 12, 2011, 11:18 GMT

    While it is true that nothing can top a world cup victory, it was a much needed one for inspiring the next generation of cricketers. So instead of looking at it from a short term perspective, one hopes that it inspires the next generation to defend the cup next time around. If they do it, we can definitely say that the best way to top a world cup win is to defend it successfully.

  • on April 12, 2011, 10:52 GMT

    This is totally WRONG....just for example....winning TWO, or even THREE, or MORE World Cups can easily top it! And...cricket always gets more unpredictable! There are always more and more exciting matches!

  • gopikrishna63 on April 12, 2011, 9:57 GMT

    This article explains superbly what most Indian cricket fans are going through at the moment.The World Cup was one big success and boy didn't we celebrate it.You can never get that kind of joy or fulfillment by watching the IPL.In fact whenever i turn on the ipl i feel like watching some of the highlights of India's World Cup matches.After such an over the moon feeling it is very hard to take the ipl seriously.And the fact that it started just a mere 5 days after the World Cup also didn't help.

  • sandson on April 12, 2011, 9:28 GMT

    The writer shudn't compare cricket n football.. come on.. Football is really played by the whole planet.. cricket is barely played by a coterie of commonwealth nations.. India wud consider itself lucky l if it has a fit playin XI for the english tour after IPL n WI tour... the english r hungry n they will be extremely tough to beat at home.. I find it extremely hillarious whn Dhoni is called the greatest captain.. Ganguly led india is sa to the finals n it lost to a team which has mcgrath,hayden,gilly,punter,martyn etc.. all these sans martyn r all-time gr8s... now the present team has who???...plsss dhoni a geniusss...nice try

  • dtnair on April 12, 2011, 9:12 GMT

    test series victory in SA and Australia would top everything else

  • on April 12, 2011, 6:25 GMT

    We still have tors of england and australia coming up... we still need a series victory down under..we still need a series victory in SA...

  • nzcricket174 on April 12, 2011, 4:00 GMT

    @mrgupta for that to happen all India's top players such as Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman will have to play on for those 10 years. Remember Australia's reign came when they caught their greats at either the start or the middle period of their career. Great teams require great players, which India currently have but won't for long. The only way for India to dominate is if Kohli and Pujara are instant successes like Ponting was for Aussie.

  • knowledge_eater on April 12, 2011, 3:25 GMT

    I won't say downhill from here. India still has to maintain their number1 test status, MI still has to win IPL under Sachin, Champions Trophy just like MSD, we still have to witness Laxman making match winning 90 with Tail soon, India still has to defend their title in Aus/NZ just like Australia did Twice, boring,no?. If just mere 50 something IPL matches are sounding boring then what about 38 games per team each year in just Premier League, why do people only choose to watch only games they want to watch. 82 NHL games each year per team, on top of that they play junior + senior world championship + olympic matches, and if you have seen last olympic final OT win that was, let me tell you, it was really thrilling and STILL ppl. fill up for this season easily, even paying hefty $ for tickets, same thing with NBA, you will see ppl coming to see their team even they know they won't make it to playoffs. Why? Because they want to be fan and want to be entertained, it's not for everyone.

  • Shripathi on April 12, 2011, 3:21 GMT

    The problem is that the IPL started way too soon after the World Cup. It's like winning the Oscars and then being nominated for an Emmy the next day.

  • on April 12, 2011, 2:21 GMT

    The only plus for me as a Chennai native is that I have seem my Captain lift 3 trophies in the last 12 months. but you are right. Nothing is better than this World Cup win. Nothing will come close to beating Aus, Pak and Lanka, that too ending it all with a 6. Nothing will beat watching Sachin 21years later still running onto the ground like an 8 year old at his own birthday party only that he has won the world cup at the 6th attempt. Sachin started it all for our generation, and Dhoni ended it all with that one 6.

  • prasanna2929 on April 12, 2011, 1:24 GMT

    Nice article......yes its true until we win the next WC its downhill from here.....and ipl is just a time pass for the people and its totally not fair to make the WC heroes play dese t20s for us to pass time......

  • on April 11, 2011, 21:22 GMT

    Perhaps you are correct, Dileep, but there are examples that are the direct counter of this. While the United States did not win the 1994 World Cup for instance, it was just the mere hosting of the event -- to see what we as Americans had been missing out on in this global football party -- that sparked our nation to become more interested in soccer. MLS was founded the very next summer, and saw teams half-filling NFL stadiums of 80-90,000, including a near sellout of Giants Stadium for the inaugural all-star game.

    While that may not be the case in India, surely there are some fans who simply just want more cricket. You're on a high of a World Cup victory, and you want to say "ok I've seen the pinnacle... done with cricket?" No, sorry -- that's not the true fan's way. And then to top it off you get a match like Chennai vs Kolkata to start the tournament... What a match! 9 from 8 required resulting in a loss. High Drama! It whets the appetite again.

  • on April 11, 2011, 19:37 GMT

    Well put.. I feel the IPL is bit ill timed.. the average Indian fan simply cannot get over the scenes that unfolded at Wankhade on April the 2nd.. The emotion and the electricity of those winning moments cannot be matched by a mere circus like the IPL.. India right now is in the blissful slumber that comes after every great triumph.. The fans ( the real ones.. not the celebrity hunters and ppl who seek 'soccer like action' on the cricket field) believe they are at the pinnacle of sporting achievement and do not want anything to be disturbing them.. Note- The Kochi stadium has a capacity of abt 90K.. a 50% crowd there is the same as a full house at most other grounds in India..

  • on April 11, 2011, 18:55 GMT

    Oh, absolutely.

    I was there at the Wankhede that night and nothing can come close to the emotions we went through.

    The IPL can wait, and probably should have.

  • akasavani on April 11, 2011, 18:41 GMT

    The IPL is not for the cricket fan. It is a concocted tournament catering to the money minded BCCI's attempts to squeeze all it can from the gawking Indian audience for whom it is not truly cricket but the personalities and the drama that come as a side-effect that matter. That is the reason why phenomena like the Fake IPL Player are making their livelihood on pretty much thin air.

  • harryspooner on April 11, 2011, 17:49 GMT

    Another self contented Manu fan?? wonder if they would stop manu-adoring after the 19th title... anyways a spot on argument with the end-of-life feeling with the world cup win. nothing can top that.. the IPL denied the indian fans a space for celebration :(

  • on April 11, 2011, 15:49 GMT

    Nice one.....Hopefully, we will soon have a Test Championship and if Dhoni and team can win that, that would be the icing on the cake. Until then, WC 2011 would be one of the greatest victories.

  • mrgupta on April 11, 2011, 15:10 GMT

    Dileep, Nice attempt, but the way i see it is, its not downhill from here.. Its only the beginning of the journey for India to the Pinnacle of Cricket. Let us be World No.1 for atleast 10 years, let us Win World Cup over and over again, let us beat SA and Aussies in their home. I have been following Cricket since i was abt 10 year old and a Certain 16 yr old by the name Sachin made his debut. For major part of 1990s we were more or less like a minnow team. Whatever happened since is only the start of the great Indian Rise. We have only been served with the appetizers, the main course remains, Its only the beginning Dileep, just the beginning!

  • on April 11, 2011, 14:23 GMT

    Super Article Dileep!! i too feel the same.World cup glory is such a BIG thing!! IPL is surely no match!!

  • on April 11, 2011, 14:17 GMT

    My thoughts exactly!!!IPL just isn't exciting enough... Its all about the perspective.

  • Kumar_cricket on April 11, 2011, 13:56 GMT

    Who cares about IPL . India tour of Englan and Tour to Australia will be series to watch.Winning world cup is being top of the game

  • seminoma on April 11, 2011, 13:21 GMT

    boss..we've just won a World Cup after 28 years..what's the need to talk about a downhill right away..we're at the peak..let's enjoy the moment before it fades away..australia did it thrice in a row..let's hope for the best and get on with it

  • HimanshuSwaroop on April 11, 2011, 12:35 GMT

    That is a great article. I think the next big challenge before India and the captain of the team is to keep the number 1 position in Tests and keep performing well in ODIs. Australia were never satisfies during their peak. They kept winning! So I think it would be a little pessimistic to think that its only downhill from here.

  • Vindaliew on April 11, 2011, 12:10 GMT

    This brought a tear to my eye, but also hope that there are better things in store for Indian cricket!

  • on April 11, 2011, 12:04 GMT

    I am from the ODI generation, yes. But what matters most to me is a win against Australia in Australia in a Test Series. The World Cup comes a distant third. (A win against SA in SA being second)

  • Munish.Kalia on April 11, 2011, 12:03 GMT

    Cannot agree anymore with you Dileep! World Cup victory has created big hangover like situation in Indian cricket. As a die hard Indian cricket fan, IPL right after world cup has lost its charm. I believe it is more to do with the timing of IPL. Right after World cup (irrespective of India win or Loss), you donot want to see your favorite players playing against each other but with each other. IPL should be at the start of Indian domestic season which would give good practise to Indian team. Even a hot popular IPL is not able to attract a lot of people is understandable with the fact that people are having overdose of meaning ful cricket. This period in which IPL is being played if was a rest period for Indians ( dozens of Foreign palyers) future series like West Indies and ENgland would have been more welcomed by Indians but I believe those series might also loose its charm. Good Article!

  • rsubras on April 11, 2011, 12:03 GMT

    ok..what if India had lost the WC in QF itself..would it have brought more audiences to the IPL matches??? Most of the Indian fans would have criticized the Indian players as playing only for money's sake and not for nation's sake..that again would have taken the sheen on the IPL matches.... in the past two years, World cup (T20) came after IPL and this time thankfully it was the reverse....

  • on April 11, 2011, 11:50 GMT

    Yes, it was expected from my side. And one thing rightly said- "Such people who thought the other way, clearly haven't watched much sport. Or if they have, they don't understand how the fan thinks".

  • on April 11, 2011, 11:48 GMT

    AWESOME ! Excellent article ! Keep it up DP !!! Was a wonderful read ... One fluid swing of the bat, the ball soaring into Mumbai's night and a foothold on cricket's highest peak. You can only go downhill from there. - Master Stroke!

  • on April 11, 2011, 11:47 GMT

    AWESOME ! Excellent article ! Keep it up DP !!! Was a wonderful read

  • on April 11, 2011, 10:49 GMT

    "You can only go downhill from there. " DP, ever heard of a plateau? Aussies had it.

  • CrissCross786 on April 11, 2011, 10:46 GMT

    Only if we could watch through Tendulkar and realize there is more to Indian Cricket.

  • on April 11, 2011, 10:19 GMT

    Nice piece Dileep. I think now that we have won after 28 years, the appetite has only been whetted for more. If Australia can win three world cups in a row and if Australia could have been the number one test team in the world for close to 15 years, then our benchmark should be to try to emulate those feats, I guarantee you that it will not be easy.Just ask Ricky Ponting. I think our future eyes should be on the English tour in August and one more tilt at Australia. Wins in these two series to my mind will be even greater than the World cup and set at rest doubts about India"s ability to beat the big teams on their home turfs and in their own conditions. I still think test cricket is the main thing, the only thing if you will. I am sure my age is on display. The IPL has relevance in the sense that it throws up young talent who can rub shoulders with the Warnes, the Lees and the Sachins of the world. Did you know most Indian players have not played against Sachin till the IPl came along

  • Kewal999 on April 11, 2011, 9:53 GMT

    Well put Dileep. Actually, the inequality of talent and skill among players in the IPL is so glaring that contest between the bat and ball is just not competitive enough for the real cricket fan. Its been the problem right from the first edition of the IPL. The success for the first 3 editions was due to the 'nouveau' or the wannabe cricket fan. This time even they are missing because their capacity to be entertained by cricket has already been drained by India's success in the World Cup. Though, I don't agree that India has achieved its climax as far as the real cricket fan is concerned. Finding a tearaway fast bowler or two like a Dale Steyn or a Malinga will be a new climax, defeating WI, Eng and Aus in their homes in Test Series in one year after being the world champions will be a new high. Lot to look forward to for the real fan.

  • topgun5781 on April 11, 2011, 9:42 GMT

    Very True Binu!! What Dileep is elucidating is the fact that after a World cup win; winning over Aus in the QF Pak in the SF and SL in 'THE FINALE" WHAT ELSE CAN A TRUE INDIAN CRICKET FAN ASK FOR? or to put it subtly what can better it? Definitely, Sachin's 100-hundreds is dearly awaited; Bhajji's 400 wickets; a series win in both Test and ODI in SA and Aus in the same year amongst others are truly welcome can it beat this HANGOVER of having won the world cup after 28 long years with a near miss in 2003. I really don't think so. Believe me fellow readers the day Sachin retires that will be another MARKED event in our lives; I for one would definitely shed a few tears.

  • on April 11, 2011, 9:37 GMT

    ya i agree IPL seems a lot boring than last 3 years and IPL is surely missing LALIT MODI and i think INDIA WINNNING THE WC has done opposite of what many people expected IPL till now is a flop as indian fans dont wish to go against our heroes . i disagree that rules were twisted all teams had oppertunity of reating players they dint retain their mistake

  • on April 11, 2011, 9:24 GMT

    spot on mate.. IPL can never match a world cup victory.. Brilliant. people criticizing this article possibly d not understand the English Language.

  • cric_fanatics on April 11, 2011, 9:13 GMT

    dislike....IPL is helping younger players develop and make a living out of the most loved game in india..also helps india discards to fight back...and we are doing just fine without match fixers..no need to welcome them

  • mjrvasu on April 11, 2011, 9:01 GMT

    After the excitement of World Cup 2011 in Indian soil, IPL is a damp squib. With barely half a dozen matches gone, already IPL has started boring the viewers. We have had too much cricket to watch on television. We do not have to listen to same old boring commentators, with a bunch of even duller commentators added to the list. What is worse, the same old 'analysts' in the TV studios boring us to death. Arun Lal, man, you have the most amazing stamina we have seen to keep drilling same old garbage time and again. Not just Arun Lal, it is the rest of the same old, 'experts' who are driving the audience to the limit of ennui.

    The timing of IPL has to do with the response it gets. The organizers have completely messed it up, bringing it right after the World Cup. If anybody thought the World Cup would inspire more crowds to IPL, they are mistaken. The result will be the contrary. Some odd players like Sachin or Dhoni may attract some adulation, but that is where it will stop.

  • SamRoy on April 11, 2011, 8:43 GMT

    @Rahulbose Mate, India broke the minnows tag when they won consecutive test series in West Indies and England in 1971. It's another matter that until the 2000's India lost a lot more away than they won away from home. Pakistan on the other hand were a very strong team in the 70's and the 80's. Especially, in 80's when after the West Indies they were easily the second best team in the world. Sri Lanka broke its minnows tag not with 1996 World Cup win but with 1993-94 away test series win in Pakistan.

  • moBlue on April 11, 2011, 8:24 GMT

    there is irony in the fact that i agree with dileep, but perhaps not entirely with his sentiments. i was 15 when kapil's devils in 1983 did what to me - until that glorious night - had seemed so impossible it had not even been a distant dream a month before... yet, as IND beat the WI in their league game [yes, people, we beat the mighty WI twice in that WC!!! the final win wasn't a fluke!], and news reached us that kapil had scored 175 n.o. to rescue IND from a seemingly hopeless 17 for 5 (yikes!!!) against a then-strong zimbabwe side, we all began to think about the possibility of a dream... but then you thought of richards, and i still remembered the BBC commentary of richards hitting the last ball of the 60th over for a six enroute to his 136 n.o. a mere 4 years ago, and you dared not dream at all! so when IND folded for 183, and then sandhu bowled a dreamBall and then kapil caught the king, *that* is when i started to dream! so i'm afraid it has been downhill 4 me ever since! :-)

  • bonaku on April 11, 2011, 8:00 GMT

    I dont agree with dileep's opinion. It is true that there are players who are not good enough, but still you need to give them a chance. There are many examples who succeded on a give opportunity. This view is similar to ICC's 10 team WC 2015. Not a good view.

  • stevejohnson1010 on April 11, 2011, 7:59 GMT

    As an INDIAN, I am too a diehard cricket fan, but somehow, after winning WC'11, I am not able to digest IPL'11, I am definitely foreseeing one or two major players for IND getting injured here, and hence not playing v/s WI in May/June. I feel this is enough of IPL, and it should only be staged once in 4 years (like WC), and not every year.

  • amit_mangal30 on April 11, 2011, 7:58 GMT

    Felt 'Moksha' at the win, but I had that exact same feeling of two days after the finals...'what next...'. We had won a World cup, I don't care if we don't win the next, I don't care about the next trophy or anything...I didn't have anything left to win...I felt emptiness. But that may also be because of my dedication to Sachin. But anyways, India-Australia test match in december still seems to excite me with likes of laxman, dravid and pujara coming back. And that's not till december. So we have time to recover.

  • on April 11, 2011, 7:57 GMT

    While it's certainly fine to expect the standard in the IPL to be better, all this talk of increasing the quota is too premature. The success in the world cup is in part due to the IPL (or if you stretch your imagination, Lalit Modi). It was the IPL that catapulted players like Yusuf Pathan and Raina into the limelight. You could even surmise that Dhoni draws a lot form his experience successfully captaining his CSK side. Furthermore, you can also relate to how players like Chawla and Sreesanth are not pressure players based on their IPL performances. In other words, the IPL is the breeding ground for Indian talent in the shorter forms of the game. This is where players get recognition, experience and confidence along with a secure income which will allow more players to concentrate on the game. With a population of 1.2Bn, India should be easily able to front 150 players of international quality given time, effort and experience.

  • binu on April 11, 2011, 7:20 GMT

    I think many readers have misunderstood Dileep's article. He is not saying that Indian Cricket has reached its climax and the only way is decline. What he is saying is that the ability of the Indian Cricket Fan to anticipate to a cricket match has reached its climax. He is saying that the Indian Cricket Fan has had the buffet from the seven-star restaurant, and there is no eight star restaurant around.

    But I do have my reservations though. I think the Indian Cricket Fan is a real glutton. A buffet won't be enough for him.

  • M.Yamani on April 11, 2011, 7:14 GMT

    Dileep, you have exactly described what i have been feeling watching all the IPL matches!! Even the MUM vs DEL match couldn't inspire any emotions in me. The euphoria of the World Cup can never be bettered. And, definitely not by the IPL. Yes, some may want to believe that this WC win will kick-start an era of domination for Team India. But, with all due respect to Dhoni and his men, they do not possess a bowling attack worthy of dominating world cricket. My heart says that this WC win is but a stepping stone to greater triumphs, but by brain vehemently disagrees!!!

  • gururajan23 on April 11, 2011, 7:02 GMT

    I dont agree with the comments that the rules are twisted for CSK and MI. All had their chance to retain the players, others were not smart enough to do it. I think DD and Punjab are the one who lost the most by not retaining the players..They need to have 5 players in a team, have Pak players and have an international window.

  • dtnair on April 11, 2011, 6:54 GMT

    A test series win in australia or south africa would top everything that has happened so far!!

  • on April 11, 2011, 6:45 GMT

    @Rahulbose, @Sridhar Gandham Munna You completely missed the point. He doesn't mean that the team's performance is going to drop, just that the fans are not going to have much interest in the IPL now.

  • charismaticdude on April 11, 2011, 6:23 GMT

    Adding more IPL teams, organising IPL every year, and keeping IPL a month and a half long event, would eventually lead to its decline.

  • Umair_umair on April 11, 2011, 6:07 GMT

    A year ago. When IPL was planned for just after the worldcup, someone(perhaps Sambit) wrote one article saying,supposing India wins the worldcup and then the team and nation will not even get time to celebrate and cherish the worldcup and then IPL will seem so ill timed. I am surprized how true that proved.

  • kriskingle on April 11, 2011, 5:55 GMT

    Dileep- Although the IPL was always going to be a letdown, I think instead of thinking of the slide down, this is the ideal time to be thinking about an Aussie-style world domination. They, presumably, did not think after winning one world cup that that was going to be the high point of their lives, cricketing or otherwise. They believed that they had it in them to continue that trend in all forms, and went ahead to prove it. With the nucleus of a young team around MS Dhoni and the freedom to demand the changes he wants, with Sachin's WC ambitions, which, after this edition, were going to be a feather in his cap or a cross around his neck, satisfied, the team already at the top of the Test perch, Australia in a state of flux and upcoming tours to Aus,Eng and WI...the prospect of watching a world beating team belonging to India is mouth-watering indeed.

  • jimbond on April 11, 2011, 5:38 GMT

    The teams are quite unequal. This is partly owing to the two BCCI favourites- Mumbai and Chennai, which were allowed to twist the rules to retain more players. That said, its would be fun if one of the less fancied teams wins the cup against these favoured teams, and the teams of the more egoistic owners. I would certainly cheer if Mumbai, Chennai, and the teams of Shahrukh Khan and Mallya bite the dust. However, this seems less likely. Rajasthan, Punjab, Kochi are very weak. Only Pune has a slender chance.

  • on April 11, 2011, 5:29 GMT

    Utter Dislike... Would you say same thing about Aussies when steve waugh lifted the world cup they continued to win consecutive 3 world cup and still any match they play.. no matter who is the opponent they are still considered one of the deadliest side.

  • ankit.munjal on April 11, 2011, 5:17 GMT

    I agree to a certain extent that most games in the IPl will not come anywhere near the Indian knock out games from the world cup.

    That said the IPl still has its place just like any other football league in the world does even if they play the Champions league. Yes the strength in depth of local players will be tested but isn't that why the IPl is good for Indian cricket?

    These young local players previously weren't playing at such a high standard at a young age and the opportunity of doing just that will make them better and hence in the coming years we will see the strength of the locals increase.

    I don't think increasing the quota of overseas players is a good idea. The way the teams are at the moment is perfect. We should allow for players to be traded in the off season just like in club football allowing for strength to be added where required.

    Just hope there are no more auctions where every player is put back into it just defeats the purpose of developing a fan base.

  • Sreerang on April 11, 2011, 5:14 GMT

    Yes, One cannot top the feeling of the 2nd April night. For the 1983 win I had to listen radio commentary in a faraway cousins place where nobody except me was interested in the world cup and had nobody to share the joy with late in the night. On April 2nd there was the whole of India to dance with! And watching the Indian world cuppers in IPL, one wonders what motivates them now. Maybe the exception is Sachin who just loves to play!!

  • on April 11, 2011, 5:01 GMT

    Love this article.

    The scenes in Delhi around India Gate at 2 in the night will remain etched in my memory forever. It was a riot situation, except that there was no riot, only fans partying away in the night.

    I remember waking up on the 3rd and feeling emotionally exhausted (its another thing that I'd danced and screamed all through the night). It was just so much - so many heavy and varied emotions.

    Thank you Dhoni and Co. You gave me a memory I can tell my children about.

  • abhi_dns on April 11, 2011, 4:37 GMT

    In the aftermath of wc glory, ipl looks like a dead rubber. Anyway, i m from jharkhand and supporting mumbai. Whatever team tendulkar belongs to, thats our real team.

  • Rahulbose on April 11, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    Clive lloyd won the WC in 1975 and kick started a golden era for WI, Steve waugh won his WC in 1999 and started another dynasty. Ranatunga and Kapil won it and send a clear message that they were minnows no more. If the history of world cup is anything to go by, Dhoni's victory does not have to be followed by a decline.

  • cricfave on April 11, 2011, 3:42 GMT

    I agree with the theme of Premachandran's article. IPL this time (after the World Cup) somehow is just not so much fun to watch. As a cricket fan from Bangalore, seeing hardly any local in the new RCB team is one other factor for losing interest. I am now IPL team-neutral!

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  • cricfave on April 11, 2011, 3:42 GMT

    I agree with the theme of Premachandran's article. IPL this time (after the World Cup) somehow is just not so much fun to watch. As a cricket fan from Bangalore, seeing hardly any local in the new RCB team is one other factor for losing interest. I am now IPL team-neutral!

  • Rahulbose on April 11, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    Clive lloyd won the WC in 1975 and kick started a golden era for WI, Steve waugh won his WC in 1999 and started another dynasty. Ranatunga and Kapil won it and send a clear message that they were minnows no more. If the history of world cup is anything to go by, Dhoni's victory does not have to be followed by a decline.

  • abhi_dns on April 11, 2011, 4:37 GMT

    In the aftermath of wc glory, ipl looks like a dead rubber. Anyway, i m from jharkhand and supporting mumbai. Whatever team tendulkar belongs to, thats our real team.

  • on April 11, 2011, 5:01 GMT

    Love this article.

    The scenes in Delhi around India Gate at 2 in the night will remain etched in my memory forever. It was a riot situation, except that there was no riot, only fans partying away in the night.

    I remember waking up on the 3rd and feeling emotionally exhausted (its another thing that I'd danced and screamed all through the night). It was just so much - so many heavy and varied emotions.

    Thank you Dhoni and Co. You gave me a memory I can tell my children about.

  • Sreerang on April 11, 2011, 5:14 GMT

    Yes, One cannot top the feeling of the 2nd April night. For the 1983 win I had to listen radio commentary in a faraway cousins place where nobody except me was interested in the world cup and had nobody to share the joy with late in the night. On April 2nd there was the whole of India to dance with! And watching the Indian world cuppers in IPL, one wonders what motivates them now. Maybe the exception is Sachin who just loves to play!!

  • ankit.munjal on April 11, 2011, 5:17 GMT

    I agree to a certain extent that most games in the IPl will not come anywhere near the Indian knock out games from the world cup.

    That said the IPl still has its place just like any other football league in the world does even if they play the Champions league. Yes the strength in depth of local players will be tested but isn't that why the IPl is good for Indian cricket?

    These young local players previously weren't playing at such a high standard at a young age and the opportunity of doing just that will make them better and hence in the coming years we will see the strength of the locals increase.

    I don't think increasing the quota of overseas players is a good idea. The way the teams are at the moment is perfect. We should allow for players to be traded in the off season just like in club football allowing for strength to be added where required.

    Just hope there are no more auctions where every player is put back into it just defeats the purpose of developing a fan base.

  • on April 11, 2011, 5:29 GMT

    Utter Dislike... Would you say same thing about Aussies when steve waugh lifted the world cup they continued to win consecutive 3 world cup and still any match they play.. no matter who is the opponent they are still considered one of the deadliest side.

  • jimbond on April 11, 2011, 5:38 GMT

    The teams are quite unequal. This is partly owing to the two BCCI favourites- Mumbai and Chennai, which were allowed to twist the rules to retain more players. That said, its would be fun if one of the less fancied teams wins the cup against these favoured teams, and the teams of the more egoistic owners. I would certainly cheer if Mumbai, Chennai, and the teams of Shahrukh Khan and Mallya bite the dust. However, this seems less likely. Rajasthan, Punjab, Kochi are very weak. Only Pune has a slender chance.

  • kriskingle on April 11, 2011, 5:55 GMT

    Dileep- Although the IPL was always going to be a letdown, I think instead of thinking of the slide down, this is the ideal time to be thinking about an Aussie-style world domination. They, presumably, did not think after winning one world cup that that was going to be the high point of their lives, cricketing or otherwise. They believed that they had it in them to continue that trend in all forms, and went ahead to prove it. With the nucleus of a young team around MS Dhoni and the freedom to demand the changes he wants, with Sachin's WC ambitions, which, after this edition, were going to be a feather in his cap or a cross around his neck, satisfied, the team already at the top of the Test perch, Australia in a state of flux and upcoming tours to Aus,Eng and WI...the prospect of watching a world beating team belonging to India is mouth-watering indeed.

  • Umair_umair on April 11, 2011, 6:07 GMT

    A year ago. When IPL was planned for just after the worldcup, someone(perhaps Sambit) wrote one article saying,supposing India wins the worldcup and then the team and nation will not even get time to celebrate and cherish the worldcup and then IPL will seem so ill timed. I am surprized how true that proved.