The Indian cricket team showed an unprecedented resolve throughout the 2003 Cricket World Cup that saw them besting stronger opponents to reach the finals against an invincible Australia led by Ricky Ponting.
Much to the dismay of the Indian cricket team, the day on which the final was scheduled was marred since the first event of the game. After winning the toss, Saurav Ganguly wanted to bowl as the deja vu of being skittled out for 127 in their previous match against Australia in the same World Cup kept on consuming him.
As they say, the dawn shows the day, similarly, Zaheer Khan started the final with a wide ball that drifted miles down the legside. Post that Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden put their foot on the pedal and propelled Australia to 105 before Harbhajan Singh applied brakes to the innings. It was the Turbanator who struck again as he removed Hayden in quick succession. Who would have known back then that it was the beginning of India’s end?
Ricky Ponting and Damien Martyn started with the repairs and much to the woes of the Indian bowlers and the fans, Punter kept on hammering every single Indian bowler with extreme prejudice.
What exactly happened with Ricky Ponting’s bat?
He smashed an unbeaten 140 from 121 balls that comprised 4 boundaries and 8 over-boundaries. This knock was the most heart-breaking knock for every Indian until date.
In order to find a salve to their wounds inflicted by Ricky Ponting, Indians sparked a rumour that Ponting had a spring in his bat that helped him to strike those boundaries with consummate ease.
Now one of the primary reasons why this is not possible is because of the fact that a bat is made of solid willow. In order to insert a spring horizontally, one will have to scoop a chunk of willow from the middle of the bat and then place it. Now keeping in mind, if a mass of willow is being detracted from the bat, it loses its power in that area and if the ball strikes that area of the bat, it would eventually shatter the willow, thereby exposing the spring that will definitely bring disrepute not just to Ponting but to the entire Australian cricket team.
The second place where the spring can be fixed is towards the bottom edge. If it is being placed upwards, it would be of no help to Punter, considering the fact that a batsman will struggle vehemently if the ball strikes that upper area of the blade. Now, the toe-end of the bat is a vulnerability for any batsman as the ball connecting with the toe-end mostly takes a loft in the air. Now going by the rationale of the Indian fans that the spring pushes the ball an extra kilometre, the ball will be going higher, making it easy for the fielders to snaffle up the catch.
Thirdly, a few fans believed that the spring was fixed vertically. Unfortunately, that will be defying physics and this ain’t a Bollywood movie where this is possible.
Now the most heart-shattering fact that will rattle the glass-bubble of the Indians is that Ponting only smote 12 boundaries in the game those were assorted into 4 fours and 8 sixes. Out of the 140 runs, only 64 of them came from boundaries while the remaining came from running between the wickets which did a greater dent in India’s aspirations. Hence, if Ponting had a spring, ideally it must have been in his boots. We were always looking at the wrong place.
The Indian batters couldn’t live up to the expectations and the mighty bowling line-up of the Aussies left us hung, drawn and quartered.
As Ponting put up his bats for display on his Twitter handle, the Indian fans jokingly sparked the old memories as 23rd March 2003 was supposed to be a dream for crores of Indians which ended in a horrid nightmare.