Jan 13th 2010: Millions of Indians were sitting in front of their television sets hoping to see their team win the final of the Tri Nation Series between India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. But sadly the story remained the same as that of the last decade. India lost the final. After the victory in the Compaq Cup in September, 2009 Indians started believing that the curse in the finals of Tri Series maybe over but the story remained the same in the start of this decade too.
If we take a look at the statistics, one would we be shocked to see that since 2000 India have qualified for 19 finals of tournaments which included more than 2 teams and they have been able to win only 3 of them. These include the famous Natwest Series win in 2002, the Commonwealth Bank Series in 2008 and the Compaq Cup in 2009. Last decade India played tremendously well over and over again to reach the finals of tournaments and all the time they failed to capitalize on the opportunities at the final moment. One cannot forget the loss at the Wanderers on March 23rd, 2003. That day the lack of temperament and confidence of the Indians clearly reflected on their performances in the field and Australia went to score the highest total ever in a World Cup Final. From the very onset of the match Indians looked nervous and played terribly, the first over was bowled by Zaheer Khan and he went for 15 runs, from then The Indians did not even look that they could even put up a respectable fight against the Aussies and to the disappointment of millions of Indians they lost the match. This has been the story over and over again for the last 10 years in Indian Cricket. India qualified for the final of the ICC Knockout Trophy in 2000 by putting up great performances against the Proteas and the Aussies but failed to beat the Kiwis in the final. If we consider the records of the Asia Cup, India reached the finals in the year 2004 and 2008 both the time beaten by the Lankans. India in the last decade have played 21 final matches, won only 4 of them, lost 15 and 2 ended with no result. Out of the 4 matches won the most famous one was played on July 13th, 2002 at the Lords- the final of the Natwest Series. This match is still remembered because India won this match from a position from which victory seemed impossible and also because of our Dada swinging his shirt crazily after the final runs were scored. The CB series of 2008 is considered to be one of the greatest victories in Indian Cricket history. India won the first 2 of the 3 finals against The Aussies and that victory brought back the joy and glimpses of the victory in the 1985 Benson and Hedges World Series in the Aussie soil.
The Indian players cannot handle the pressure at the final matches; this has been proved over and over again. Statistics say that even the great Sachin Tendulkar fails to give good performances in the field in the finals. The bowlers lose their usual rhythm and bowl terribly. The whole team loses its charm and everything gets messed up resulting in defeats. They are in total contrast with the Aussies who rarely looses a final encounter. The Indian people have now got accustomed to this usual routine of India reaching the finals and loosing it. The Sri Lankans are feared the most as in the last ten years out of 8 finals played between the Indians and the Lankans India have only won a single match while they lost 6 of them and one ended with no result. India needs to recover from this “DISEASE” fast and start playing like champions in the finals in the years to come. The huge Indian masses expects a lot more from them and if the team gains in confidence it is quite sure that they will not let down their millions of supporters. We want a change in this decade and the numbers should get reversed from that of the last decade.