Tomorrow We Believe….

The ICC world cup schedule was drawn up 2 years back and Mumbai was granted  the final.I’ve been planning my WC Final Trip since that time. Tomorrow I’m heading to the place after 5 long years – after having visited it every year for 13 years between 1993-2206.

School, college, work – every phase of my life is defined by a match at Wankhede. I bunked school, college & work, caught matches between lectures when I was completing my MBA (My B-School was 15 minutes walk from the stadium.)

Wankhede is undoubtedly my favourite place in Mumbai – it’s the place I fell in love with when my father took the little school girl to watch the Eng Vs Ind test match in 1993. I went on to watch almost all the matches that were played in Mumbai until 2006 – the year I shifted base to Dubai.

I’ve amazing memories of that place. Read about them here in a post I had penned 5 years back on my personal blog. The crowd may not match in capacity to the one at Eden or in knowledge to the one at Chennai – but it is a fun crowd, it’s a vibrant crowd, it’s a crowd that loves cricket, loves its cricketers and loves its local boys.

I’ve watched the matches in groups of 15 and alone; I’ve never felt left out at any time. People absorb you, people argue with you, people cheer with you!

The last match I saw here did not give me very pleasant memories – the loss left me less affected but a certain section of the crowd shocked me. I’ve never witnessed such crass and rowdy behaviour in any of the previous matches. Abuses were rampant and directed towards each and every English cricketer by a bunch of teenagers – all sitting in the grandstands thanks to their family connections and misbehaving as if it was a thing to be proud about. Sachin was booed after failing in the 4th innings and it’s a memory I try to erase but cannot.

Tomorrow, I hope those bad memories vanish and I relive every bit of the fun I have had at the place. Tomorrow is the moment I’ve been dreaming about for the last 2 years. I kept telling myself that India should make to the finals. All those matches I have watched over 13 years there would be matched up by this one match.

Tomorrow, Sachin awaits his 100th 100 on his home-ground.He awaits the title that has been missing from his collection and India awaits her second WC title after 28 years.

Tomorrow, a lot of myths/jinxes await to be broken. Sachin scores a 100 – India lose. No host team has won on home-ground. No wicket-keeper captain has won the WC. Wankhede is India’s graveyard.

All of that should be erased tomorrow. Sachin’s resume should be complete with that final achievement. Wankhede deserves to be part of the Indian Dream

A billion dreams rest on those 11 men who will walk out amongst the uproar of 33000 fans inside the stadium and billion more outside.

It does not matter where you are tomorrow – inside or outside, all that will matter is your faith and belief in this team.

So no cynicism for tomorrow, no bad memories, no retorts and no taunts.

As my engineering buddy ZenRooster told me the other day while watching the Ind-Pak semi-final,  “Facts do not matter – when 1 billion people believe”

You and I  – need to do that tomorrow – just believe we can!