April 3rd, 2011
03:04 PM ET

Cricket World Cup win swells Indian pride

Indian fans celebrate after winning the Cricket World Cup on April 2.
Indian fans celebrate after winning the Cricket World Cup on April 2.

India’s island city of Mumbai is all about noise: a constant car-honking stream of vehicles and people. It was silenced for eight hours Saturday as the 2011 Cricket World Cup final was played, but then burst back into life to signal India’s victory. Colorful explosions lit up the skyline as an astonishing number of fireworks were let off, continuing for an hour after the match.

Even after the fireworks had run out, ear-splitting firecrackers kept punctuating the gap between vehicles beeping and drums beating. We went out on to the streets to film near our hotel in Worli, south Mumbai. We saw mopeds buzzing around, mainly ridden by young men, bare-chested and faces painted, with the pillion passenger waving an India flag.

Whole communities that had gathered to watch the game together spilled out of their apartment blocks to celebrate. Some had created posters of the players and were dancing and drinking in front of them, taking photos there because they knew they couldn’t get near the real team in the Wankhede Stadium across town.

At the sight of our camera, the crowd went berserk, clearly desperate to show the world what this victory meant to them. We were mobbed and groped and had to move on.

A 10-minute drive away, we spoke to an equally happy, but more sedate, group from the Sahkar Niwas apartment block in Tardeo. They were jumping for joy by the roadside after watching India’s triumph on a big screen on the roof of their building.

There were more flags and many had marked their foreheads and cheeks with traditional smudges of purple. They ensured my face got painted too.

This is my first visit to India, and although I have heard the phrase “cricket is a religion” many times, you can only truly believe it when you hear the people here tell you. We have spoken to plenty of amateur cricketers playing in Mumbai’s parks this week: they look you in the eye and tell you that star batsman – and local resident - Sachin Tendulkar is God with complete conviction.

The sport unites this nation of more than a billion people. Many of them couldn’t even explain the leg-before-wicket rule, but for India cricket is an expression of national pride.

One resident, partying in the street, said to me that he hoped the world would now realize that India is a future superpower. Others agreed with my suggestion that this sporting success was significant enough to be Mumbai’s first decent morale boost since the dispiriting terror attacks here in November 2008, which left more than 160 people dead and hundreds more wounded.

Perhaps it’s is why one of the more unlikely headlines in the newspapers the next morning said simply: “Thank You” – the Sunday Mumbai Mirror reflecting the appreciation of an entire country.

It’s thanks to India’s captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni - or Midas Singh Dhoni as he’s been nicknamed, because everything he touches turns to gold. Yesterday it was for a match-winning innings and a huge Bollywood-style ending when his big six clinched victory.

It was thanks also to Tendulkar for finally adding a World Cup winner’s medal to his long list of batting records.

And thanks to the entire team for living up to their potential, coping with the pressure and winning cricket’s biggest prize on home soil.

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Filed under:  Cricket
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Sridhar - Hydbad

    So winning the world cup after decades for a sport that barely half a dozen countries in the world play and we are now calling ourselves superpower. Grow up people. To be a superpower, you need a holistic growth and success in all arenas, not just cricket. It is really shameful in India that the state sponsors only cricket and ignores thousands of athletes competing in other sports and winning medals for our country. These are the true heroes as there is no support from the government, sporting ministry nor any basic infrastructure. These really great sportspersons from India are those that have bought us accolades in Asian / Commonwealth / Olympic games.

    Really sad and shameful.

    April 3, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Reply
  2. Praveen

    Incredible Indyeah!!!

    April 3, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Reply
  3. lachman

    Congrats India, keep it up, hope India wins world cups in other sports as well, GOD bless India.

    April 3, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Reply
  4. Abhishek Shukla

    This was on the front web page of CNN on the second day

    April 3, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Reply
  5. IndianFan

    As an Indian cricket fan, this is the happiest and proudest moment of my life, seeing India win the World Cup (I was born after 1983). Congrats to Team India, they have made us all proud. It was delightful to watch our Young Brigade chase down all those runs with such composure after Sehwag and Tendulkar departed early. I think the IPL has taught this Indian team how to handle pressure situations. This is a golden era for Indian cricket, with India dominating all forms of the game – tests, ODIs and T20s. Jai ho the IPL and Jai ho Team India!!!

    April 3, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Reply
  6. Anupam Baruah

    Team India's victory over Sri Lanka has made the country proud.
    Winning the World Cup is a great Event.
    Australia have dominated this cup for a long period of time.
    Now its India's turn. I am very proud to be an Indian.

    April 3, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Reply
  7. vkmo

    Everyone must remember that cricket is by chance and hockey is by dance .... !! 🙂 (this is not intended to reduce the contribution of Dhoni- with his mighty winning six, Gambhir and the rest of the team. They played well in the tournament and deserve all adulation!!)

    April 3, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Reply
  8. Girish

    "This is my first visit to India" – yeah it clearly shows.

    Also evident is your little knowledge of cricket fans and their frenzy 360 deg around the world.

    April 3, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Reply
  9. Surya

    Yes! I witnessed the tremendous achievement by India in the world cup.
    Quite few years back infact even till recently was never convinced of Indian cricket team credibility in winning any matches as they always used fumble even for small pressures.
    Now what i saw was unbelievable as India is confident of game, confident of themselves, worked like a great team.
    I personally felt that this team work( everybody chipping their best) is the key factor deciding the champions from rest.

    India is the New CHAMPION...
    And yes i would watch most of the cricket matches again till we hold the same magic..( hope forever)

    April 3, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Reply
  10. vikas

    this generation Indian's are much crazy and interested in cricket they waste their money and time in it but they are not crazy and interested in helping poor's ,utilize their time and money for the nation problem,they dont want to do hard work they need money and fame without doing hard work ..

    April 3, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Reply
  11. Rahul Redy

    India has good players (hero kind of) they always had for decade ! but they got hammered 300+ in few matches in WC2011- brought in raina / ashwin to win key 2 matches –

    when PAK and SL much stronger TEAM faced India – both teams didnt perform !

    president of all 3 countries / politicians everywhere / talks of using the victory as a political tool made me think –

    PAK dropped sachin 4 times and didnt take the power-play leaving it to the tail handers

    SL bought fresh players from home straight to finals ground made me laugh and think harder – few players were fishy

    pressure or inexperience ? NO both country have won world title

    Yuvi with his excellent nick should have scored another century in finals – means hard time for Dhony – so he jumped in first – as he know new small time ballers are in for SL !

    whats happening Cricket world Cup or WWF (WWE)

    any how the victory is worth 1000s of Billion $ for the master planer
    and priceless joy for supporters

    April 3, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Reply
  12. Derek

    Congrats team India from all of us here in Boston, USA.

    Even though not broadcasted on TV here, it was a nail biting affair watching on html format as scorecard updated on "Times of India" and/or NDTV.

    After being here for over two decades, I can still not understand the concept of "American style" football.. similary to rugby but with full protected gear worn.

    So to pass my time.. I watch the similar sport of "Baseball" and a die hard Red Sox fan.

    Anyway congrats to Team India and a big GOD BLESS!!

    April 3, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Reply
  13. Luke

    Im tired about cricket on CNN!Its not a world wide popular sport to show it on a world-wide TV!

    No matter that cricket has 1.5 billion fans!90% of its fans are from only one country – India.

    CNN ignores many MORE popular sports.

    PS.Im not American so please stop talking that I love baseball!

    April 3, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Reply
  14. kunal

    @ Sridhar, – We won the world cup in cricket, absolutely the most popular sport in the country, no sport can even dare compete in any aspect. So please, rather than seeing the negativity just shut up and enjoy it. Stop being a pissy wet blanket.


    GO INDIA!!

    April 3, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Reply
  15. ashish

    well if other countries do not like cricket, its not cricket's fault. also most often we compare with what america does. name one team sport in which America pasisonately competes globally ? Sorry, not soccer, america are minnows in soccer. And america football is mainly domestic for americans. If americans can be on cloud nine watching domestic america football, Indianns should not at all be negative about cricket not being played in several nations.

    April 3, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Reply
  16. Ashay

    Game like cricket and football are not just sports they are something more. So i can understand people not knowing what the fuzz is about. It is the only opportunity for people who have long been dominated to express that we are champions!! This feeling just makes a simple sports into a cult following.

    April 3, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Reply
  17. Spanish in Spain

    Congratulations India, now you know how the taste of the victory is, we have even learnt to replay it, keep on and go straight.

    April 3, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Reply
  18. Preet




    April 4, 2011 at 12:29 am | Reply
  19. Robin

    @ LUKE

    What do you mean Cricket is NOT a world-wide sport?
    What do you mean 90% of Cricket fans are Indians?

    You need to get out of your shell and look.

    Australia, ENGLAND, South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, West Indies, Ireland, Netherlands, Scotland, UAE, have teams that are predominantly Local [natives]. and they do have a good population that follows cricket.

    Cricket is a Skill based sport and not all countries that have a team are good enough [91+]. So i only listed the top countries excluding South Asian teams since you are so against us or our colour.

    Those countries span Europe, Africa, Australia/NZ and little bit of ME. Obv South asia as well. Now we can also include South America since Guyana and the caribbean area of South america is into Cricket.

    If a Sport spanning all Livable continents is Not a World sport, i dont know what is!

    Anyways Even if 90% fans were Indian, Who are you to Deny us the pleasure of being a part of a world sport.

    April 4, 2011 at 1:03 am | Reply
  20. sid81

    let us know what other popular sport needs mention?

    April 4, 2011 at 3:44 am | Reply
  21. Neelofer

    India has "Risen and Shone ".

    April 4, 2011 at 4:17 am | Reply
  22. Soup

    Congrats to the india cricket team.

    i really thought Australia would of won this time :S

    April 4, 2011 at 4:31 am | Reply
  23. Naveed

    india has great cricketers but new zealand will win the next world cup becasue its gonna be played in their home country 🙂

    April 4, 2011 at 4:43 am | Reply
  24. a sri lankan

    yeah, India deserved it... they did no mistake and took the advantage over opponents' mistakes... hope we'd have all-asian-world cup final next time as well...

    April 4, 2011 at 5:23 am | Reply
  25. Dan Gillespie

    @Sridhar – Hydbad, so you rejoice in the 'world series' plays within US and you crib when India wins a world cup played among countries from Asia, Africa, Caribbean, Europe, Australia, NZ etc. The sports men and women who have won in the Olympics and the CWG are also celebrated in India. You dont really have to show your ignorance and hatred by running down Indian cricketers. Try and be something, anything, in life, and you might, just might begin to see that you don't have to be so bitter and a failure. Have a dream, work, and you might succeed, and perhaps be less bitter. Congratulations to all Indians! Well done India!

    April 4, 2011 at 5:39 am | Reply
  26. conradb

    Luke – tired of CNN covering cricket? It's hard to find on CNN. There are more cricket fans in the world than there are human beings inhabiting the North American continent. Sachin Tendulkar is the world's most popular human. How could CNN call itself a world news source and not cover it?

    April 4, 2011 at 9:02 am | Reply
  27. Arindam

    First, thank you to all the non-Indians for ur wishes and a hearty congratulations to my fellow Indians on a fabulous World Cup win.
    May we have the opportunity for many more such occasions.
    Second, in response to Sridhar – Hyderabad,
    As one of my friends of Facebook rightly mentioned, it is sports that actually brings recognition to a country. I am quite sure an average
    Joe in New York or a random Sridhar in Hyderabad might not know the names of the prime ministers / Presidents of Portugal or Argentina, but
    will know (at-least I hope) the names of Critiano Ronaldo or Lionnel Messi.
    Saying India will be a future superpower just for its cricketing glory is a bit too far-stretched, but at-least people (whoever gets to read newspapers or watch news broadcasts) will get to know of our country and cricket.
    Recognition matters.
    As for people who think cricket is not a global sport, you have football! Go and enjoy that.
    Finally, for us, Indians (who don't crib about state governments and other sports not being as popular to cricket), this is one of the best moments for us as a nation. We finally achieved the elusive "world champion" title and will hope to put up a solid defense on the pacy tracks of Australia and New Zealand.

    And yes, in India, cricket IS a religion and Sachin IS a god.

    April 4, 2011 at 10:15 am | Reply
  28. Cec

    Congratulations India...Well done. Thanks to all non-indians that have cognratulated Indians. To all the negative people here...grow up, give due where it belongs and see how much you will enjoy the fervor yourself. It is a high we deserved...totally. It was a fantastic final...couldn't ask for a better matched opponent in SL. They played extremely well. It was pure Cricket...( not war ). Thank You to our Cricket team for giving all Indians such a high and total euphoria..Indians ENJOY...you deserve it. JAI HO !!

    April 4, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Reply
  29. Patel-Detroit

    I sincerely want to congratulate Indian cricket team. I watched all the games India played and I think we deserve to win this world cup.
    I am proud to be an Indian.

    April 4, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Reply
  30. Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    Congratulations to the World Cup Runners Up and the World Cup Champions. SL and Team India were certainly the best among the fourteen participating teams. Thanks for the wonderful moments of sheer magic and artistry.

    April 4, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Reply
  31. shilpy

    while nearly whole of india insulted the memory of 26/11 victims of pakistani terror when the indians let cricket get the better of their common sense, i honored it by using the day for quiet contemplation and not watching pakistani game on tv. to the sponsors, money meant a whole lot than those noble souls who persihed on 26/11. to the indians it did not matter at all. a huge shame on india. it is unpardonable sin, really. for all i care, that world cup can go into arabian sea. and 3 cheers to america for telling moscow olympics to suff it in 1984 for a reason similar to 26/11. and it is precisely because america is the real superpower, and india a mere hellucinating nation of cowards.

    April 4, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Reply
  32. Chits

    @Sridhar – Hydbad: what is more shameful is India has citizens like you, who cant appreciate anything...that is shameful otherwise winning WC is one of the biggest achievement for India...You grow up & start appreciating things, may be you too will get some appreciations in return!

    April 5, 2011 at 1:35 am | Reply
  33. Chits

    @Sridhar – Hydbad: You may need to improve your general knowledge too, there are as many as 20 countries at least play the sport & the number is growing every year!

    April 5, 2011 at 1:37 am | Reply
  34. Sanjay

    @Sridhar -Hyderabad : do u know anything about cricket??? Be a sportsman first then send your comments. Enjoy and unserstand cricket before you play politics. Just wait and watch next 4years....rest of the world will play...

    Congrats!!! Team India – we all luv you from distance!!!

    April 5, 2011 at 5:19 am | Reply
  35. Sanjay

    Guys – if you are thinking about poor people then why u r sitting on your chair and commenting about cricket?? Go help people...just don't wait for others...

    This forum is abt cricket and talk cricket – don't google to get information. If u hv any experience then share it with ALL CRICKET FANS.

    Great leadership from Dhoni – lots of thing to learn from him. Calm, focused, goal achiever and believes on the decisions. True leader...

    Sachin – Cricket GOD

    April 5, 2011 at 5:33 am | Reply
  36. joyleo

    Cricket is given to India by the English and today India won not only the English but also other super nations to win the world cup. India is the most wealthiest country in the world other than money. When people were riding horses and fighting bulls Indians already knew how to read and write. There is no computer today without an Indian because '0' was invented by Aryabhata an Indian early in the 9 century C.E.

    April 5, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Reply
  37. pIYU

    congratulations to India. we must get our facts right though. This is world cup cricket but most of the participants are commonwealth nations with exception of UAE and Netherlands. This time UAE did not make it. The top sporting nations are USA China Russia and Germany and they do not play cricket. Cricket is a wonderful game but there is still the element of luck like in other games like pool, darts, soccer etc. A sports game like squash will have a much lesser element of luck but looking at cricket, the element of luck is larger and does play a factor at the highest level of the game. India are WC champs but don't get too carried away – they lost to SA and almost lost to England. Be humble in victory and prepare to defend the next WC

    April 5, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Reply
  38. shijith

    @Sridhar – Do you know India's population is 1.2 billion ? we are not talking about a game which is followed by 1/2 million people. Cricket is the biggest global game after Football. We don't need your approval.

    April 5, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Reply
  39. Spanish

    Congratulations India...and please do not pay attention to the negative. Enjoy and keep doing what you are doing. Your youth is educated and working not just hard but smart. They will take you to where you want to be. People will say negative thing but they are just envious of your potential. Living in the past is keeping then behind, look forward to the future and don't look back. Band thing may happen but good and bigger things will follow just the same. Don't mope on the bad things like the rest and you will A OK! 🙂 Live, Love, Laugh!

    April 5, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Reply
  40. Jadhav

    Congrats India on the world cup win!!!, proud Nation!!, proud People!! and proud Game!!!

    April 6, 2011 at 4:43 am | Reply
  41. Bhatti

    Indian team deserved this victory. India is investing a lot of money in the game. Fifty/fifty has produced good batsmen. Let other cricket playing countries learn a lesson. Intelligent investment in cricket can help everyone. Indians won the final only because they lost the toss and were asked by rivals to defend themselves. Cricket is a game of batsmen. Improvement in batting will give us give cricket.

    April 6, 2011 at 7:48 am | Reply
  42. cali

    Congrats on the World Cup victory from California! I am American and know some of the joy of cricket from my stepfather (from India). Every culture and country has sports or activities that bind their nation and raise the collective spirit! They worked hard for the victory and deserved it, they should only be supported in enjoying the victory for their country and their people! Congrats again!

    April 6, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Reply
  43. Victor

    Sridhar, why this negativity, cricket is a great game played by great countriesd, winning it is great.

    Tone down on negativity and enjoy the momenr.

    April 6, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Reply
  44. Ravi R Chand

    I have been in the US for 10 years, US has given me everything but I still miss my mother land, MY INDIA.




    April 7, 2011 at 5:25 am | Reply
  45. Nimesh M (Fremont, CA)

    Awesome game India just awesome, could not be happier Dhoni and his men won!
    Being away from India for more than a decade watching the semi-final victory and finally lifting the world cup once again brought nothing but tears of joy.

    Congratulations India and Sri Lanka for a wonderful final.

    Sridhar, please do not rain on our parade, we may be crazy but we are crazy to love something. You on the other hand seem to have lost touch of what joy means in cheering for your own country. If you cannot cheer at least do not belittle our joy.

    April 7, 2011 at 5:58 am | Reply
  46. JM

    Congrats to India. I don't care much for the sport but I hope this boosts thier confidence as a nation. India has so much more potential than China. Take back Asia! China is a not a sporting nation. China are newbs when it comes to sports. China didn't even have a team in the world cup (soccer). I think China is only good at gymnastics and diving and maybe archery but archery is not really a sport. Would you call half court contest a sport? idk, I wouldn't. US has their fingers in many sports: ice hockey ( right behind Canada), football (uncontested), soccer (not the best but up there), baseball (up there), swimming, basketball (best in the world). Anyways, God(s) Bless India!

    April 8, 2011 at 10:29 am | Reply
  47. Jag

    @Sridhar – You need more general knowledge. If you dont know about cricket, go to the street corner and ask that pan wala. He will explain it to you. I encourage you to learn about cricket, and more than that you should learn how team work and a decision making leader helps to achieve results and how it has an indirect benefit in projects.

    April 8, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Reply
  48. RN

    It was great to see India win – finally !!! We all were waiting for this time to come and it came, but with the twists thrown in . At one stage India were 31-2 chasing 275 with Sachin and Sehwag gone. But great play by Gambhir, Virat and Dhoni ensured India reached home... and then it was just euphoria .. Wow!!

    April 9, 2011 at 8:16 am | Reply
  49. Sridhar

    maybe you are too smart for India.

    April 9, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Reply
  50. Blue Eyed Devil

    I can sincerely say that as with all sports, I couldn't care less. My life isn't so empty that it has to matter to me.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Reply
  51. Jassi

    THIS IS FOR: Sridhar – Hydbad
    offcourse u gna react like dat coz pakistan lost n if they had won u wouln't have said any of those things..am i rite?? offcourse i knw u ppl filled wid hatters n jealousy...just bcoz of dat INDIA WON....buddy...
    i still called u buddy after u saying mean things....dats how we indians are gud 4m d heart n outside...
    any how if u dnt knw..look at american superballs...the team goes against each other same country n states..

    keep it up INDIA ; )

    April 11, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Reply
  52. king

    Bboooo0000OOOOO... What's a cricket anyway, an insect ?

    April 12, 2011 at 1:21 am | Reply
  53. Kiran

    @Sridhar, come out of your shell and realize the fact that India is a Super Power. World in acknowledging our achievements.

    April 12, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Reply
  54. Raina

    To Jassi, well said these people are not loyal to India,
    they are jealous of her victory.

    April 12, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Reply
  55. Lupe

    won a contest at eating crickets? great..... got to be india.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Reply
  56. Raman Sampath

    Victory Poem

    India's Well Deserved Win in World Cup Cricket 2011
    Raman Sampath

    Sehwag rushed early for a six pack,
    Sachin joined him quick after an edgy whack

    Gauthee was there to take on the mantle
    When the pressure in the field was too much to handle

    Kohli joined his partner to make hay
    While fans the world over went to pray

    The word on the street was be brave
    Let us all not go to the grave

    Kohli jilted Gauthee with a jolt
    The fans closed their eyes in complete revolt

    Then came Dhoni, anyone but a minnow
    Who carried the hopes of Ranchi in a willow

    He was a man not much in form
    But was there to prove everyone wrong

    He found his groove, causing bowlers’ doom
    With sparks bursting in air boom boom

    A quick step at a time, and a milestone in a hurry
    He nudged Gauthee nearer to a century

    Century not to be, Gauthee took us to the gates of heaven
    A solid pillar that moved his tally to ninety seven

    But not before his bat took a hard thump
    From a Malinga pellet nowhere near the stump

    The skipper briefly turned the ground into a parlor
    Inviting a massage fresh from the harbor

    Then came Yuvi who with a whack and a blow
    Got us closer and closer to victory row

    With more runs in the bag after the fours and sixes
    Team India laid claim to the cup flanked by lasses

    A fitting end to a forty day wait,
    Men in blue winning after twenty eight!!!

    April 12, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Reply
  57. Srini

    @Raman Sampath: Your victory poem is awesome. Great Job, Dude.

    April 13, 2011 at 12:13 am | Reply
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