The good things about 2008 for me largely have been from the sporting field, so I thought I would just put them. The top 8 highlights of 2008 for India according to me and I have ranked them as I perceive them :
1.) Abhinav Bindra
(Numero Uno without any dispute, Gold at Olympics)
2.) Sushil Kumar & Vijender Kumar
(Two Bronze Medals from two unheralded sons of India)
(Undisputed World Champion)
4.) Perth Test Victory
(Indian Cricket shows steel under Anil)
5.) India crush Aussies in India
(India’s era commences with the Aussies being demolished)
6.) Common Wealth Bank Series in Australia
( India knocks out the World Champions in their back yard)
7.) Sania Nehwal
(First Indian to Reach World Super Series Semis)
8.) Under – 19 Cricket World Cup
(These kids played with amazing fire, flair and passion)
I am a cricket fan to the core of my heart, however I have followed Indians in all sports. This year Abhinav Bindra’s first Gold Medal in an individual event is the first for me because it simply has not been done by our country before. This achievement is not just great for Bindra but it just opens up new frontiers for all other athletes. He now gives belief to all other Indian athletes that we can do it. I won’t be surprised if in the next Olympics we win even more medals. Bindra has just started the trend !!
Sushil Kumar & Vijender are both from very ordinary back grounds and they have further emphasised the achievement of Bindra more so they will give more and more struggling Indian sportsmen the belief that humble beginnings can also reach out and earn crowning glory.
Vishwanathan Anand just proved once again to us that he is the king of 64 squares and no one can now dispute this all over the world. Indians are always considered as intellectuals and it should never come as a surprise that we are the Chess world Champions should it ??? Vishy just put a stamp over the whole thing.
The Perth Test came after Sydney, a match that every Indian will remember for the wrong reasons. At a crucial stage in the game Australia are 5 down for 60 odd, Andrew Symonds nicks one big time to the keeper, Steve Bucknor doesn’t give it. Australia show their ugliest side and their win at all costs attitude. The racial slur adding enormous drama to the whole thing. The team 2-0 down and going into Perth with ‘Chin Music’ calls by the opposition. However on one cloudly afternoon a 19 year old tall lanky Ishant Sharma bowls one of the most amazing spells to the opposition captain giving him enough ‘Thigh Music’. The mighty Aussies are humbled at their most favourite venue as Anil Kumble’s side shows the steel of their captain and become the first team from the subcontinent to beat them at Perth, the so called ‘fastest pitch in the world.‘ Indian cricket has not looked back since then.
The Commonwealth bank Series was won in convincing fashion as Sachin the king ruled in the finals however the belief of the Indians got a shot in the arm when an unheralded cricketer from a wrestler’s family in UP came from no where and still played against the world champions as if it was nothing new. Praveen Kumar just emphasised how so many Indian cricketers come from no where and play against the world beaters without worrying at all. This Indian team is led by a lad from Ranchi and has players from Najarfgarh, Rai Bareily, Bharuch, Allahabad, Aligarh…. a thoroughly Indian team !!!!
The aussies came to India for a test series and left with no anwers, they had lots of questions on their plate and never have they been humiliated like this in a Test series since 1992. They at no point looked like they could beat India. Even recently they lost to South Africa but in both matches they lost from winning positions. However in India they did not get into winning positions and infact it was a One sided affair !!!!
Sania Nehwal narrowly missed out in the Olympics but she made it up by becoming the first Indian Player to Reach World Super Series Semis. She is young and she has a bright future ahead. She is a bright prospect !!
I have grown watching cricket from the mid 80’s and I have never seen Indian players actually intimidate the opposition. We have always been wonderfully talented players but not the ones who would pump the chests, inflate the nostrils, look the opposition in the eye and pulverise them. But these kids led by Virat Kohli did everything you never could have imagined. Naah being goodie goodie in sports doesn’t work out all the times. These kids at all points clearly were threatening the opposition and they were intimidating the opposition players. The energy with which they played was infectious.
These 8 are my favourites moments and this year for me will be a year where only sports gave us a reason to smile.