India is a country where cricket is supposed to be a religion, where a cricket team carries the burden of expectations of millions of cricket fans. The 2003 World Cup runner ups were expected to repeat or better themselves at the 2007 Cricket World Cup in the West Indies.

2007 was a year where India was going through a tough phase with respect to the coach and the team selection, the captain and many other things. Greg Chappell, the Indian coach had been taken to the rippers by the Indian retired players recently, and all this was opening up now.

The 2007 World Cup format was different from the previous versions. There were 4 groups of 4 teams each. India was placed in Group B which had India, Sri Lanka, Bermuda and Bangladesh. The tour opener against Bangladesh was a shock to everyone as India lost to a minnow side Bangladesh.

It was a run feast after that against Bermuda when India amassed 413-5 in their 50 overs. Virender Sehwag scored a majestic century. Yuvraj Singh and Sourav Ganguly provided the ample support. India won the match by 257 runs, however to proceed to the super 8 stage of the tournament, India still had to beat Sri Lanka.

India were set a target of 255 in their 50 overs against Sri Lanka. The batting line-up fell like nine pins as India got all out for a mere 185. Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni scored ducks. Only Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag were able to tackle the Sri Lankan pace comprising of Lasith Malinga and Chaminda Vaas along with the spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan.

After a horror at the ICC 2007 World Cup, Indian coach Greg Chappell resigned. Anil Kumble took ODI retirement. Rahul Dravid continued to be the captain of the Indian team but Sachin and senior players expressed their feelings of unhappiness with the coach. The fans were clearly disrupted. They even attacked player’s houses especially in Bangalore and Mumbai.

Cricket was at a low in India. No one could come to terms with what had happened in the World Cup. India, only for the second time, came back home from the group stage of the tournament, the first being the 1992 World Cup.

However, India retained their lost pride under Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s captaincy by winning the first ever T20 World Cup soon later in 2007.

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    Archit Athani Writer

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