इंडियन आवाज़     29 Nov 2023 06:47:58      انڈین آواز

Making Asia-proud

In the World Cup, India and Sri Lanka were the finalists, Pakistan the Semi-finalists. Such a line-up has never happened before.

Taking to the streets of Delhi to be part of the frenzied celebrations, Sonia Gandhi summed up the mood of the Nation in one short  “a victory etched in gold for generations to come”. “This victory is special” she went on to say.

Back in Sri Lanka and Pakistan, their boys were not vanquished but hailed as victors. In an article for the Pakistan Defence Forum, Maheen Sadiq writes; “Shahid Afridi addressed the Nation in a way our President never has –unselfish, genuine, and modest. So, when Afridi apologised to the Nation, millions listened and were humbled by the gesture. Our eyes were filled with tears and our hearts with love and a strange kind of sorrow. Afridi, you need not apologise to the nation”.

“We are proud of you and our entire cricket team.” So again, Afridi, your apology is appreciated but not needed. You conducted yourself with patience, grace and dignity, encouraging your own with a smile, and congratulating the opponents with a even bigger smile.” You didn’t win the Semi-finals, but you won our hearts. Thank you for showing the world we are not an aggressive nation.

“This was never a battle between nations, or a jihad against Hindus. It was semi-final cricket match, and if a loss is what it took to be reminded of this, then I am glad we lost”.

A signed news report portrayed the mood in Colombo.  “Smiling faces, all religion blessings, hordes of cheering fans and representatives form the Sri Lankan government welcomed its cricketers warmly.

Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa set the tone for the celebrations, congratulating his team on its performance as the Nation shrugged off the defeat to a better team the night before in Mumbai. He says “Sri Lanka can be proud of its cricketers led by its Captain Sangakara. The whole of Sri Lanka was with the team. The performance of the team augurs well for the future”

The team returned to Colombo to heroes welcome. With an amazing grace, unseen elsewhere in the sub-continent following a defeat, the crowd cheered its cricketers. The are our heroes, They played superbly for most part.’ said a middle man in the crowd says the Chennai daily.

All that matters is that the game is played well and in its true spirit. In doing so, the people have set an example to the rest of South Asia. 

The all-conquering Australian Captain Steve Waugh says “the best aspect of Saturdays final was that it was the most keenly contested one from among the championship games of the last four editions. “A decade ago, I said that Australia’s main threat was from India, where the financial might was going hand in hand with depth in talent. This World Cup has also underlined the fact 50 over cricket is alive and well.”

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