A year since World Cup triumph…it has been a downhill journey for Dhoni & Co

April 2 will burn into the memories of all Indian cricket aficionados as it was this day last year that Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his boys scripted one of the most memorable victories of Indian cricket and won India the World Cup after a long gap of 28 years. Back then the Men-In-Blue looked an invincible bunch with the world cup and No 1 Test status in their kitty. But a year since then a lot of water has flown down the river and from being adored by fans all over what they receive now is skeptism and ire. Barring a few individual performances in the last 365 days, India were a big flop as a team as they were thrashed miserably on their overseas tour to England and South Africa. The defending champions could not even make it to the finals of the CB series and the Asia Cup and that further aggravated their wounds.

Writing about the diminishing stature of Indian cricket in the year one by, The Times Of India says, “It is exactly a year since MS Dhoni & Co lifted the World Cup at the Wankhede Stadium and Team India were proclaimed lords and masters of the cricketing world. There was no indication of the sudden steep descent in fortunes that was to immediately follow. From the high of the Wankhede to the low of Adelaide, what do they know of cricket who only cricket know?” 

Adding further, TOI writes that failure to qualify for the final of the tri-series in Australia and subsequently the Asia Cup in Dhaka meant the correction was complete. “The tumultuous year was proof that nothing was permanent. The same could be said about Sachin Tendulkar. Two fantastic hundreds against England and South Africa in the World Cup, followed by more than 30 innings without a ton, the quest for the 100th hundred was the toughest phase in his two decade long career.”

“The clock has turned a full cycle in the year gone by. While we reminisce the joys of the Wankhede night and ponder over the lows of the last few months, it is time to come to terms with cricket’s biggest reality, something the now-retired Rahul Dravid has taught us over and over again.  You need to be prepared to struggle when the chips are down. 2 April 2011 to 2 April 2012, these 365 days had it all. From the ecstasy of the Wankhede to the shame at Perth, Indian cricket has gone through a true emotional roller coaster in the past 12 months. There has, however, been one constant,” adds the national daily.

Meanwhile Indian Express writes that the Indian cricket team have sunk from one low to another in recent months but good memories come flashing by on the first anniversary of its epoch-making World Cup triumph. “One of the most poignant reminiscences is the six over long on, hit fittingly by skipper MS Dhoni off Sri Lankan pacer Nuwan Kulasekara. Other memories that run across the mind are of the celebrations that followed at Wankhede Stadium here with fireworks lighting the sky, a full-throated cheer from the packed gathering inside, across the country and elsewhere, and senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar and coach Gary Kirsten being carried around the ground by players on shoulders. The partying by the players continued till the wee hours of the morning at Hotel Taj Mahal Palace. Elsewhere in the metropolis, fans made night into day with noisy celebrations,” writes the paper adding it has been downhill since.

Meanwhile The Hindu writes that the 2nd of April is a date that brings delightful memories to every Indian cricket fan, and is also a special day for a man, who often came close but never had the opportunity to lay his hands on the World Cup. That aberration was corrected on that historic night a year ago at the Wankhede Stadium once India won the World Cup and the Marine Drive witnessed unbridled scenes of delirium. Anil Kumble had been part of Indian teams that came close to winning the World Cup before stumbling in the final stages as evident in 1996 (losing semifinalist) and 2003 (runners-up).

Kumble said, “It was very special to witness that moment. I will never forget that: 1. Because India won the World Cup and 2. The players I played with went on to win it and it was also my son's birthday. I went there to congratulate all of them and they said ‘hold the cup.' Before this the only time we came close to winning was in the 2003 final and the previous best was when we lost in the semifinal in 1996 and I was part of those teams. Today if you ask anyone, they will remember the 1983 squad but if you ask them which team played in the 1987 World Cup then they will start thinking. That's the speciality of World Cup winning teams because we tend to remember the special moments and get inspired by the victories. We were all inspired by the '83 victory and this victory will also inspire many youngsters.”