World Cup resolutions: What Indian fans need to do
Bikash Mohapatra lists five things that the Indian cricket fans need to do to avoid disappointment should MS Dhoni's men fail to meet the high expectations at the upcoming World Cup.
As the World Cup nears, so do the expectations soar.
It's been 28 years since that unexpected triumph. And every four years since then, we have been waiting in eager anticipation for our players to replicate that effort to see India winning a second World Cup.
To say that cricket has become a religion in India since would be akin to stating the obvious. However, what needs to be pointed out here is the fact that we have been very patient as regards the Indian cricket team considering we are an impatient lot in general.
The Men in Blue have had enough support or shall we say pardon despite their repeated insipid displays in the sport's flagship event.
And on this occasion it is no different.
Considering the fact that India is in such good form, having huge expectations from the team is palpable.
There will be delirium for sure if the home team does manage to win the event. Consequently, we have to gear ourselves to face the disappointment, in case we have to.
We, at rediff.com, suggest you, the quintessential Indian fan, to make a few resolutions ahead of the World Cup.
If these resolutions are followed, the World Cup will be all about enjoying the tournament and getting over your disappointments quickly.
Illustrations: Dominic Xavier
Support an alternate team
Team India palpably gets our unconditional support during the event.
If MS Dhoni's men do go all away - and going by their impressive current form there is no reason why they can't - and win the first World Cup for India in 28 years, there is nothing better.
However, if that doesn't happen there will be disappointment. Remember 2007?
We also have to recall here that Team India has over the years always been a favourite going into the World Cup. And has always failed to live upto the tag.
On this occasion it is no different. So let's brace ourselves for the same.
The best option, back another team besides India. That will ensure the disappointment is less if at all Team India fails.
It is not about patriotism here, but just for the love of the game.
Count out the Sachin factor
It is a shame, without doubt.
For a batsman who owns almost all the records the sport has to offer is yet to help his team win the World Cup.
This despite having played in five tournaments.
The fan inside us is eternally forgiving.
He has been unfortunate, we can argue. The team has not supported him full throttle, we can blame. However, the fact remains Sachin is yet to be part of a World Cup winning team.
A sore spot in an otherwise illustrious career.
2011 is the perfect stage.
The Master Blaster is in prime form, the tournament is being played on home conditions and what more, the final is to be held at his home ground the Wankhede Stadium.
At almost 38, this is probably Sachin's final chance to lay his hands on that elusive piece of silverware.
If he does there is nothing better. If he doesn't, our love for him doesn't change.
After all there's a regret in every player's career.
Stop underestimating Australia
Agreed they are in a slump. And it is also a fact that we (Indians) love to see them lose.
There are many of us who would want Australia to be where they are at the moment.
However, as they say: form is temporary, class is permanent.
And the Australian pedigree at big tournaments is proven. The fact that they the three time defending champions needs to be respected.
We Indians, while showing our patriotic spirits, tend to disrespect other countries. This has to be a strict no-no.
Remember, before the last World Cup the team from Down Under was in a similar slump they had lost the Commonwealth Bank Series to England and the three-match ODI series to New Zealand.
Yet they won the World Cup without losing a single match.
One can argue they had a few match-winning players then. But so had India. We all know what happened.
The fact that they are regaining form in the ODI series against England proves they can't be underestimated.
Don't be satisfied if India manages to beat Pakistan
There is a big 'if' in this case considering both the teams aren't in the same group and can only possible meet in the knockout stages.
However, since it has been the case in the last few editions, it needs to be mentioned.
For four tournaments in succession from 1992 to 2003 the Indian fan conveniently forgot the fact that our team failed at the World Cup.
The solace came from the fact that we beat Pakistan, our arch rivals.
This attitude has to end. Beating Pakistan is no excuse for exiting from the tournament per se.
The Indo-Pak rivalry is no longer what is used to be, the intensity no longer exists and excess matches has to an extent taken the charm out of the contests.
Pakistan isn't half as strong a team as we are. Yes, they remain unpredictable.
But so are we.
It is difficult but...
Finally, for the most difficult part.
Before coming to it I must confess it is easier said than done, considering we are an emotional lot. And cricket is religion for us.
God forbid, if India does fail to meet the expectations yet again, promise yourself that you won't be so passionate about cricket henceforth.
Console yourself saying it is a limited sport and India will be have many more opportunities in the future.
Or switch to a more global sport, say football. It certainly gives more options than cricket.
Besides, there is no heartbreak no matter which team wins or loses.
Being practical always helps, you see.