India Win

Sachin Tendulkar at Adelaide OvalImage via WikipediaAnup Kaphle: Cricket Is Not Baseball, Stop Comparing
India Beats Sri Lanka To Win Cricket World Cup
New York Times: Cricket Victory Brings Relief From Scandal in India: cricket, a sport that permeates life here the way monsoon rains seep into the soil ..... Indians erupted in delirious celebration. Fireworks exploded in city after city and village after village, as throngs of people poured into the streets, beating drums, shouting and cheering. ...... “There is a national kind of mood, or zeitgeist, that cricket brings in,” said Anand Mahindra, managing director of one of India’s largest business conglomerates, Mahindra & Mahindra. “Can it have a disproportionate impact on people’s sense of self and general well-being and confidence? I think yes.” ..... In this country of 1.2 billion people, the national cricket team is treated like a group of rock stars and regarded by some as a metaphor for the country as a whole: young, increasingly confident and slowly moving forward, if sometimes tripping itself in the process. ....... especially gratifying for Indian fans because the national team has failed to win big matches in recent years, even though it was regarded as one of the world’s best teams. On Sunday morning, Indian newspapers carried euphoric headlines. “The World at Our Feet,” shouted The Times of India, the country’s biggest English-language daily. “Windia,” proclaimed The Indian Express. ...... a majority of India’s 138 million television households tuned into the tournament, with many tens of millions watching from elsewhere in the world. ...... In India’s biggest cities, fans congregated around outdoor screens or watched in restaurants and coffee shops. During key Indian matches, pilots on some domestic flights offered midair updates on the score. One 20-year-old model with a flair for self-promotion asked permission to perform a striptease for the team, calling it her patriotic duty. On Sunday, India’s politicians hailed the team, with the chief minister of Delhi announcing cash bonuses for Mr. Dhoni, the team captain, and the four team members from Delhi. ....... Then India was rocked by a telecommunications scandal over the allocation of cellphone licenses, as a government auditor concluded that the government might have lost about $40 billion in fees because officials gave licenses to favored bidders at bargain prices. On Saturday, as the cricket match was under way in Mumbai, the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation filed charges against a former communications minister, his aides and several high-profile business executives in that case. They were accused of cheating, forgery and corruption. ........ In India, cricket is no longer regarded as a leisurely sport of gentlemen in white trousers but has instead become a sexy symbol of the “new” India. The stars of the Indian team are wealthy and ubiquitous. They are covered feverishly in the news media and endorse countless products. India Today, a weekly magazine, recently listed India’s 50 most powerful people, placing the country’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, at the top. But ranked second, ahead of several billionaires, was the country’s most revered cricketer, Sachin Tendulkar. ........ Mr. Dhoni comes from one of India’s poorest regions, and his rags-to-riches story embodies the hopes of many Indians on the margins. After the match, Mr. Dhoni and other players said they were inspired to win for Mr. Tendulkar, a batter who has hit more runs than any player in the sport’s history and is often referred to in India as simply “God.” ...... Even Saturday night, e-mails were making the rounds in India charging that the World Cup match was fixed by bookies. Similar accusations were made after India beat Pakistan in a politically charged semifinal last Wednesday. ..... But as India awoke on Sunday, there was joy, a salve to a bitter political season. Even Sonia Gandhi, the president of the governing Indian National Congress Party, stepped into the streets of New Delhi to celebrate — perhaps not only the victory but the distraction it offered. .... “Sachin Tendulkar and company has done Dr. Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi a huge favor,” said Ramachandra Guha, a historian and authority on cricket, “by redirecting popular sentiment away from corruption and toward cricket.”

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