Cricket is a game of similarities. History tends to repeat itself and it is those players and teams who stand up and perform that earn a place in history.
Thirteen years ago, India came out of the gloom, its darkest phase in cricket till then, caused by the match-fixing scandal, with a new leader, a refreshing attitude and wins in trying circumstances.
Sourav Ganguly took on the world in the ICC Knockout tournament as the Champions Trophy was known then. In his first major tournament at the helm, India showed the likes of Australia and South Africa that it could compete away from home.
Yuvraj Singh, with 84 on debut and some electric fielding, and Zaheer Khan, with those spearing yorkers, announced themselves on the big stage.
If the 1983 World Cup had placed India on the map of One-Day cricket, this performance infused belief that it had the ability to win abroad. Though Chris Cairns swung the final with a century, the tournament was a defining moment in India’s cricket history.
M.S. Dhoni will find it tough to repeat that stellar feat as India goes into the last edition, aiming to improve its dismal recent track record in the competition. Though India shared the trophy with Sri Lanka in 2002 after the final was washed out — Virender Sehwag and Mohammad Kaif coming up with memorable performances in the tournament — it failed to reach the semifinals in 2004, 2006 and 2009.
The Indian squad appears to lack experience as it bids to win silverware and repose the faith of the millions of fans that follow the team. But the beauty of the Champions Trophy is that it makes new heroes.