Home > Features >

Off-field controversies — Team India’s tried and tested winning mantra

MS Dhoni and co. have clearly shut their minds off from all the ruckus going on outside the stadiums © Getty Images
MS Dhoni and co. have clearly shut their minds off from all the ruckus going on outside the stadiums © Getty Images

By R Vishal

India cruised to a win against Bangladesh and with that became the first team in the ICC World T20 2014 to enter the last four of the competition, far away from the big murky world of the spot-fixing saga that continues to supersede Team India’s resurgence.

When the diabolical Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing allegations first came out in the summer of 2013, commentators of the game labeled the disgraceful episode in which some of the administrative honchos were directly and indirectly involved as the biggest low-blow to Indian cricket since their astronomical rise as powerhouses on and off the pitch.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni was promptly chastised for his proximity to the outgoing Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chairman N Srinivasan but what followed, placed the faith in the hopeful fans’ hearts all over again.

Full coverage of Supreme Court hearing on IPL 2013 spot-fixing and betting scandal

India played outstanding cricket throughout the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 which was punctuated with some thrilling displays from a young team, still in a rebuilding phase to go on and win the tournament on English soil.

India followed the win with a creditable display against Australia before crash-landing and having their wings broken into smithereens during the South Africa and New Zealand tours. With the Supreme Court grabbing hundreds of headlines in opinion pieces in dailies across the country, India have quietly gone about with their business and cruised to three wins out of three in the ongoing tournament.

As it was in England with the Champions Trophy and the ongoing T20 World Cup, a relaxed air is prevalent in the camp despite Dhoni being under mounting pressure while facing the barrage of questions about his involvement in off-field matters alongside Srinivasan and his ‘cricket enthusiast’ son-in-law, Gurunath Meiyappan.

In his seventh year as India skipper now, it should be recalled that it was the unheralded, underdog spirit that kick-started two the finest wins that he fashioned early on his career — the ICC World T20 2007 and the VB Series of 2008, trumping vastly experienced Sri Lanka and Australia. The former laid the cornerstone for the formation of the IPL itself the next year; just months after India suffered the ignominy of a group-stage exit in ICC World Cup 2007.

The ICC World Cup 2011 win was nothing less than an acid test of Everest proportions placed or rather demanded squarely but yet again, Dhoni’s inspired men handled pressure of a billion expectations where nothing less would have sufficed with aplomb to bring the biggest outpour of national euphoria in the country in the 21st century.

Dhoni’s predecessors too have shown this kind of in-the-zone confidence in the past, remaining oblivious to matters outside the pitch on the biggest of stages. Sourav Ganguly’s men shrugged off all the stone-pelting after suffering a hammering against Australia in the group stages to brush aside teams to go all the way to the final in 2003.

Anil Kumble was also successful in making heads turn from off to on the field, rallying his bemused troops to win the fortress of great Australian teams in the past that is WACA, Perth after the farce of the Sydney Test which was talked about a certain racism episode as much as the ridiculous umpiring that was witnessed in the match.

Non-cricketing issues have disintegrated better men and teams in the past. Hansie Cronje’s match-fixing scandal in South Africa threw South Africa in the doldrums and took many years to make the Proteas the team to beat with battle-hungry Graeme Smith at the helm of affairs.

Opinions and personnel were divided in the Australia and West Indies camps too in recent times while England continue to search for answers and wins after the inexplicable decision to sack Kevin Pietersen. The sub-continent teams, Pakistan and Sri Lanka though continue to find salvation despite finding themselves knee-deep in controversies or being at loggerheads with the selection committee, as it has been in Sri Lanka’s case in the recent past.

India, however continue to rule the roost and remain pioneers of scripting fairytales from troubled waters elsewhere. It is not just the pressure because captaining or playing for the Men in Blue is the summit of it all. While this phenomena of rising above adversity remains an unsolved mystery, no one would bet against India to go all the way and win the World T20 for a second time.

ICC World T20 2014 Points Table and Team Standings

ICC World T20 2014 Schedule details

(R Vishal is a journalist and an alumni of the Asian School of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 24, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 25, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Bengaluru

World T20 League 2014

Sep 26, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Mohali

World T20 League 2014

Sep 26, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Mohali

World T20 League 2014

Sep 27, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Bengaluru

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 23, 2014  at Raipur

Hobart Hurricanes won by 86 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 22, 2014  at Bengaluru

Chennai Super Kings won by 54 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 4 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014  at Hyderabad

Hobart Hurricanes won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 4 wkts

Photos

Cobras vs Hurricanes Match 6 at Hyderabad

Videos

Daniel Flynn looks ahead to Hobart game

CLT20 2014: Wasim Akram heaps praise on Gautam Gambhir’s leadership

Live Cricket Score Hobart Hurricanes vs Northern Knights CLT20 2014 Match 9: Hurricanes register massive 86-run win

Kolkata Knight Riders vs Perth Scorchers CLT20 2014 Match 9: Preview

Brendon McCullum’s stunning fielding effort in CSK vs Dolphins CLT20 2014 match

Hobart Hurricanes vs Northern Knights CLT20 2014: Northern Knights likely XI

Asian Games Asian Games 2014 Champions League T20 2014 Chennai Super Kings CLT20 CLT20 2014 CSK vs Dolphins Dolphins Hobart Hurricanes Incheon Asian Games India at Asian Games 2014 Lahore Lions

Alastair Cook can’t handle Kevin Pietersen, says Geoffrey Boycott

Ben Hilfenhaus, Aiden Blizzard star in massive 86-run win for Hobart Hurricanes against Northern Knights in CLT20 2014 Match 9 at Raipur

Hobart Hurricanes vs Northern Knights, CLT20 2014 Match 9 at Raipur: Knights lose their sixth wicket

Scott Styris becomes only 2nd player to get T20 double of 4000 runs and 100 wickets during Hobart Hurricanes vs Northern Knights, CLT20 2014 Match 9 at Raipur

Hobart Hurricanes vs Northern Knights, CLT20 2014 Match 9 at Raipur: Knights sink further after fourth wicket

Hobart Hurricanes vs Northern Knights, CLT20 2014 Match 9 at Raipur: Highlights

Cricket in Canada: Coach Mukesh Narula travels around the vast nation to train players

Australia on the verge of handing out 50 Test caps in a decade!

Hobart Hurricanes vs Northern Knights, Match 9, CLT20 2014: Key Clashes

Chennai Super Kings’ top five batting performances

Fan of the Day

Edward Knowles

Edward Knowles

447 Posts | 1 Fans

Video: Brendon McCullum's amazing fielding in CSK vs Dolphins CLT20 2014 match

First Kiss Parody: Watch this hilarious parody of the video First Kiss

Here’s why the Bigg Boss 8 Secret Society is a big flop!

Bigg Boss 8: Sushant Divgikar hopes to sensitise TV viewers to LGBT cause via Salman Khan’s show

Xiaomi offering free micro-SIM card trays to Mi 3 owners

इन खाद्द पदार्थों के द्वारा किडनी को स्वस्थ रखें

Updated Retina iPad mini and 12.9-inch iPad Pro delayed till 2015: Report

Scared you’ll lose your job? It might be the reason for your frequent asthma attacks

Asian Games 2014 Live Streaming Day 5: Watch Live Stream & Telecast of 17th Incheon Asian Games

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here