There is a surreal euphoria in the air - along with tons of fireworks and smiling faces wherever you go. I swear, it's as though everybody here has had a tremendous weight lifted off their shoulders - quite incredible really.
I've not blogged at all for the last month and have been totally engrossed with the cricket. I thought it best that I write this now while it's still all fresh in my mind and I'm still on a high from today's final match in Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
So, my top highlights of the tournament are:
1. MS Dhoni - not just for the brilliant captain's innings played this evening but for his measured temperament throughout the tournament. Cool, calm and collected is what Dhoni is (definitely think the IceMan title that the commentators have given him is a bit inappropriate!). I believe the likes of the choking South African cricket team can certainly learn from him. In fact they should seriously consider hiring Gary Kirsten since his winning stint in India is now over - perhaps he can give them the type of life coaching they really need.
2. Strauss and the England cricket team - certainly not for their lousy performance in the quarter-finals against Sri Lanka but definitely for the entertainment value they provided throughout the tournament. Every one of their matches was a nail-biter (again, except for the last 10 wicket loss) - if ever the game needed an advert for the one-day version of the sport, England provided it.
3. Tillakaratne Dilshan - what an absolute pleasure it has been to watch this allrounder on the field. he was excellent with the bat and as a part-time bowler who delivered for his captain when he was most needed to do so. He played with greater consistency than Sehwag, who is equally talented, and that's why he makes my list.
4. Shahid Afridi - it is not often (with the exception of perhaps MS Dhoni) that a captain plays such a critical role in the team. A wicket taker of note, it was inspiring to see how he wore his emotions on his sleeve and motivated the Pakistan team throughout. When Pakistan fell to India, I thought his few words were precious and sincere. If it were not for him, I doubt Pakistan would have reached as far as they did in this tournament.
5. Sachin Tendulkar - not quite sure what more needs to be said about my favourite cricketing genius. Playing in his sixth World Cup, he has finally won one. To see the respect given to the man, by the team and by his country is amazing. And all of it is well-deserved. My only regret is that he did not get to complete his 100 one-day centuries today in the final of the World Cup - now that would have been something - darned commentator's curse (and if there were any low-lights of this tournament I would have to say it would have been some of the awful speculative commentary - cricket commentator's curse indeed!)
Needless to say, India's victory is the greatest highlight of all. If you had asked me to bet on cricket world cup at the start of the tournament, I would likely have placed my money on Sri Lanka. They don't choke like South Africa does and are way more consistent than India. After today's performance though, I would quite gladly have lost that bet - India IS amazing!
Sigh... 4 years to wait now for the next cricket world cup in Australia/ New Zealand - 2015 is a long way away. I do believe this vibe will help carry me through till then though!!
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