Cricket fans’ caterwauling misses the point

India won the World Cricket Cup — period. It was a game played fair and square in front of a large crowd with neutral umpires and state-of-the-art technology to assist in the officiating.India won because of a close-knit team headed by a captain thirsting for victory. However, the final, against Sri Lanka, was eclipsed by the semifinal between them and archrival Pakistan in a subcontinent derby, and that is the match I am focusing on. There is absolutely no question of match fixing.The nationalistic pride of both teams acts as deterrent against foul play by any player. A fix in the World Cricket Cup would be as unlikely as a fix in soccer’s World Cup or hockey’s Stanley Cup or baseball’s World Series.A 260 score set by the Indians was a reasonable task, and had the Pakistanis played well they could have achieved it just as the Indians got the 275 runs in the final in Mumbai on Saturday.When you drop six catches, four of them of Sachin Tendulkar — the first at 24 — what do you expect? Wrong field placements and a hammered bowler Umar Gul added to Pakistan’s woes.

Pakistan’s innings also was inconsistent — poor shots, a lackadaisical approach, strange tactics and an almost maniacal approach in the slog overs cost them the match.Somebody had to win, and it was the better team. In this case, India. However, the diatribe against Pakistan that followed was horrendous. Our comment section was flooded by letters from conspiracy theories to hate mail, some of it using the worst kind of language.It was as if the people of the subcontinent had gone totally berserk. As they say “That’s not cricket.” It is just a game. You win or you lose, and the spirit that should be evoked is one of sportsmanship. This was not war; it was a sporting event.India played better and it won. Indian supporters should view it as a game — not a triumph of ideology. The Pakistanis lost, and their supporters should not sully the team with accusations of match fixing.The Sri Lankan players lost, so were they also involved in match fixing? The answer is an emphatic “No.”The semifinal at Mohali and the final at Mumbai both were great games. Let us not demean the efforts of all the three teams’ players by indulging in idle gossip and vitriolic comments.We should hail the victors and commend the vanquished for their inspired efforts. That is what real followers of the game would do.Well done India for a well-deserved victory. – Arabnews