The World Cup is here, where's the euphoria.
After two horrendously one-sided tournaments in 2003 and 2007 where Australia rampaged the opposition, this is the first time in more than a decade when more than one team is in with an equal chance to take the trophy home. And yet there's no euphoria.
I vividly remember the fever pitch and the drama and the emotion that preceded the 2003 and 2007 World Cups. There was an air of expectation, which probably came from India's rise in the post match-fixing years.
The young unit, under the leadership of Sourav Ganguly, had just turned a new page. Indian cricket was a brave new team. The 2001 defence of the final frontier, the new-found rivalry with Australia, the 2002 Natwest Trophy win at Lord's were all fresh in the mind. Indian cricket was setting the order of the brave new world.
In 2007, India went in as favourites and were knocked out in the first round of a seven-week-long tournament that tested everyone's patience. And unfortunately, the event was followed more after the then Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer died under mysterious circumstances just a day after his wards had been stunned by Ireland. And the final between Australia and Sri Lanka in the dark was the most farcical moment of it all.
So what has changed in 2011?
With just over 48 hours to go to the ICC signature tournament, India sits atop the ICC Test rankings. It has won a series in every cricket-playing nation. It can defend at home and win abroad. And so maybe for the first time ever there seems to be a sense of complacency that has set in among the fans. They're so expecting this team to lift the trophy, as if it is almost a matter of routine.
Reports have also pointed out how the 50-over format spread over six weeks is struggling to keep up in the Twenty20 times. Mercifully, the round-robin league this time has stacked up teams together who can put on a class act and are expected to set the pulse racing.
Bangladesh, as reports suggest, is the only host nation where people are awaiting the World Cup with bated breath. This can be attributed to their debut as a host nation and more so for the expectation that the fans have from their team as they take on India in the opening game of the tournament on Saturday, four years after they had upset India in the first game of the 2007 World Cup.
Yes, we need a big bang start to the tournament. But we need the moments to be peppered right through. We need Akram's spell against England, we need Kapil Dev's catch of Viv Richards, we need Inzamam-ul-Haq's cameo, we need Chetan Sharma's hat-trick, we need Sanath Jayasuriya's blitzkrieg, we need Allan Border's golden arm and we need Sachin Tendulkar's double hundred.
Only one team will reach the zenith, but it is the high points during the tournament that will bring back the euphoria not just to the World Cup but to the experience of watching one-day cricket.
Dave Lindahl Scam