Afghanistan’s exit from the Asia Cup was sad not only because of the circumstances in which they didn’t qualify for the Super 4 stage of the tournament but also because they are such an exciting team to watch.
They bring a dashing and unpredictable element to a tournament, and on their day, they are capable of beating the best in the game. Having lost their previous game, they knew that they had to win within a certain number of overs to qualify for the Super 4 stage of the event.
Chasing 291 runs, they were told by the officials that they had to get 292 in 37.1 overs to qualify. There were other scenarios too, where if they had gotten 295 in 37.4 overs, they could qualify for the Super 4. While it is debatable whether the officials should have given them all the scenarios, the question is: why didn’t the computer expert with the Afghanistan team tell the team what they needed to do to qualify?
The coach in particular should have been more proactive in trying to find out the different scenarios in which they could have qualified instead of simply relying on the match officials. If a team is desperate to win, then they will look at every way to win, and the coach in particular will be doing the math himself. It is a practice of all the teams to keep the TV on mute in their change rooms so as not to hear the outside noise, as they like to call it, but that noise was telling the viewers that Afghanistan could have even won by hitting a six off the first ball of the 38th over when the scores were level.
Anyway, they eventually ended up two runs short, so they lost both of their games in the group. It would be a big surprise if, after this heartbreaking loss, the coach and the support staff kept their jobs unless the team did remarkably well in the World Cup.
The decision by BCCI secretary Jay Shah to honour persons who have done yeoman service in their respective fields is a terrific one. As of writing, the one and only Amitabh Bachchan and Sachin Tendulkar have been given a golden ticket to witness the World Cup matches.
It is not known how many others are on the list, but hopefully, the chief of ISRO, under whom India landed on the moon, will be one. Obviously, it can’t be given to everybody who has played for India, but if the associations where the matches are being played are instructed to invite the Indian players from their city to the games in that city, it would be a magnificent gesture. Of course, two others who deserve the golden ticket are the two World Cup-winning captains, Kapil Dev and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Neeraj Chopra, the Olympic and World Athletics Championship gold medallist, is another one who comes to mind for the BCCI golden ticket.
Whether these people can attend a match or not doesn’t matter. It’s the thought that will surely be appreciated by the recipients. It’s a great initiative that is seen at Wimbledon and the US Open Tennis, where current as well as former champions from other sports are special invitees to witness the tournaments. India has so many sporting heroes, and if they are also recognised with the golden ticket, the image of the BCCI will get really bright. Rohan Bopanna, who, at the age of 43, finished runner-up at the US Open recently, and Sharath (Kamal) who is a super legend in table tennis, are two other names. They may not be able to attend the games, but it’s the recognition that matters.
Well done, BCCI!
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