Bleeding Blue: A Fan’s Odyssey of Hope, Heartbreak, and Unwavering Pride

Indian Fans (Photo: Debasis Sen)

As an Indian cricket fan, my journey with the Women and Men in Blue has been one of undying hope, fuelled by the passion for the game and the dream of witnessing my beloved team lift the coveted World Cup. The echoes of 2003, when Sourav Ganguly’s warriors faced Australia in the ODI World Cup final, still resonate in my heart. Back then, the nation held its breath, united in anticipation of glory. Alas, the dream shattered, leaving our hearts heavy with the weight of unfulfilled aspirations.

The year 2005 brought a new chapter, a chance for redemption as Mithali Raj’s team clashed with mighty Australia in the Women’s ODI World Cup final. A parallel narrative of hope and heartbreak unfolded, mirroring the agony felt by every Indian cricket fan. The resilience displayed by the women on the field was inspiring, yet destiny had its own plans, cruelly denying them the taste of victory.

Fast forward to 2017, and Mithali’s team faced England in another ODI World Cup final. The script seemed written for a triumphant ending, but once again, fate had other ideas. As a fan, witnessing our heroes give their all, only to fall short of the ultimate glory, was a torment that words struggled to capture.

And then came yesterday, a fresh wound in the form of the 2023 ODI World Cup final against Australia. The hope, the prayers, the sheer desperation for a different outcome—it all converged into those nerve-wracking hours. Yet, the cricketing Gods remained indifferent to Rohit Sharma and his men, and our dreams once again slipped through the fingers.

What makes these defeats even more heart-wrenching is witnessing our cricketing legends break down. Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar in 2003, the embodiment of cricketing dreams, sharing our collective agony. Mithali’s tears in 2017, a poignant reminder of the unspoken sacrifices made in the pursuit of glory. Yesterday, as the camera panned to Mohammed Siraj, Rohit, Virat Kohli, and the rest of the players, tears streaming down many faces, it was a gut-wrenching scene that transcended the boundaries of the game.

Team India (Photo: Debasis Sen)

In those moments, it became evident that, as fans, our connection with the team goes beyond the cheers during victories. When India is on a winning streak, the cheers might be the loudest, but do the players truly need them? Perhaps not. It’s when the chips are down, when defeat hangs heavy in the air, that our role as fans becomes pivotal.

We should be the ones egging our players on, lifting their spirits after the darkest hours. It’s during these times of despair that our support can make a real difference. Every player wears the national colours with pride and, rest assured, no one desires victory more than they do. As loyal fans and sports lovers, we must learn to stand by our team through thick and thin.

The day after a loss is the toughest to bear. The disappointment lingers, the what-ifs haunt our thoughts. Yet, in the depth of that despair, my heart will always bleed blue. For every heartbreak, every tear shed by our cricketing heroes, I remain a fan who will continue to shout “India, India” with unwavering passion. I will wear that Indian jersey with hope and pride, ready to embark on the next World Cup journey, because being a fan isn’t just about the victories. It’s about embracing the rollercoaster of emotions and standing tall in the face of defeat, forever proud and hopeful.

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