Over the last couple of decades or so, Indian football fans haven’t had much cause to celebrate. The national team’s record in World Cup Qualifying competitions in general has been dismal. Unsurprisingly, the national team’s ranking has also been an eyesore for years. However, in recent times, especially over the last 3 years or so, the mood in the Indian Camp has seen a gradual upswing. The national team’s ranking has also seen a rapid rise. There was a stage not so long ago when the national team’s ranking languished in the 160s and 170s. More recently, this number had risen to as high as 97 (A number not seen since the 90s) and the team is currently ranked 104 (At the time of writing). So, how does all this tie in to Indian football’s watershed moment against Qatar ?
No, this is not a breakdown or a detailed analysis of the Indian cricket team’s surprise loss to New Zealand in the semi-finals of the World Cup. India’s loss on the day can be put down to a bad day at the office. While the general public and the so-called pundits might be over-reacting at the moment, it was just that; a bad day for the Indian top-order at the most crucial juncture in the world cup (Let’s also give New Zealand credit for their terrific performance in spite of India having to play in rain-affected conditions).
While the loss was an excruciating one for fans of the game in India, the emotions still haven’t completely settled down. However, there are some deeper goings-on at play in Indian cricketing circles which will in all likelihood never be addressed. These issues have always existed in Indian cricket but have never come under as much public scrutiny as they do today due to the widespread use of digital media.
In my blogging journey thus far, I’ve never really considered writing about anything remotely cricket related. As far as possible, I mostly stick to football and cartoons. While I have written about off-beat topics on occasion, cricket is something that has never really crossed my mind. Perhaps then, it is time that I make another exception to the usual routine.