Sometimes I think that the most relevant sports event are best written about in retrospect, because there are dots that can be connected only when a significant amount of time has passed. When the immediate dejection of a loss or the jubilation of a win has been overcome.
For Indians, one such win is the Natwest Final, 2002. Those who follow cricket, know everything about it I’d assume, and those who don’t, it’s the one where “Kaif did that thing and Dada took off his shirt”.
The latter would interestingly go on to become one of the most iconic sporting moments for India, giving stiff competition to a certain Mr. Khan, whose legacy depends as much on being shirtless as it does on his bracelets.
Anyway, it is iconic because there is context, and the context is that Flintoff did it first in Wankhede. I won’t go too much into it, you can read about it here.
Here, we will discuss the other events that made the Natwest Final, 2002 so crucial for India and the victory, so special. A thread posted by RandomCricketPhotos&Videos on Twitter (you can follow them here for all things cricket), discusses the events that happened before the Lord’s balcony witnessed one of its most documented moments.
Flintoff took off his shirt in Mumbai as England leveled the ODI series 3-3 in 2001, but the tour itself was marred by several moments of dispute.
The first: Michael Vaughan getting dismissed after an appeal from India as he ‘handled the ball’. This is one of the rare ways for a batsman to get out and it wasn’t something appreciated by England as they thought it was against the spirit of the sport.
The second: The aforementioned incident agitated Naseer Hussain so much, he decided to do everything in his power, and mostly against the much-discussed spirit of the game.
This got to a point where Sachin Tendulkar had to complain to the umpire about the same, though nothing much came out of it, except the first stumping of Sachin’s career.
The third: The ODI series was no less controversial, as a lot of umpiring decisions allegedly put India on advantage.
This did not go down well with an already upset Naseer, who appealed against Ganguly for obstructing the field during one of the games.
Marcus Trescothick out when he hadn’t nicked, all in an ODI which began with Hussain complaining about practice facilities. One of the many uglier incidents saw Nasser Hussain himself appealing for obstructing the field against his counterpart Ganguly in the Kanpur ODI. pic.twitter.com/OvCHjQUY0t— RandomCricketPhotos&Videos (@RandomCricketP1) July 13, 2021
The fourth: All of this led to England leveling the series 3-3, after being two wins behind at one point.
The Indian media was really critical of the team and things got so bad that Ganguly had to go to Kolkata with heavy security.
Keeping all of this in mind, it makes sense why the Indian captain, not known as the calmest cricketer anyway, couldn’t contain his excitement in England.
Spiteful gestures add up, especially when you have a passionate cricket captain on the other side. We don’t mind in this case, we got our revenge.
Here is RandomCricketPhotos&Videos’s Twitter thread.