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Air-show, grand function, and 1.4 billion prayers


India vs AUS 2023 World Cup final: The moment Kapil Dev`s India won the final World Cup in 1983, cricket was still one of the sports in the country and a champion team wanted a true blue cricket fan Lata Mangeshkar to hold a concert so that each member could earn Rs 1 lakh.

In 2011, when Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s team won, the BCCI was already a billion dollar entity. And, in the 28 years between 1983 and 2011, cricket became an “industry”.

A dozen years have passed and so Rohit Sharma and his men go all out to win the Cup for the third time on Sunday, cricket as a sport is now a medium of “Soft Power” for the country.

“Soft Power” is a term that defines countries that use sports and culture to enhance their geopolitical influence. Cricket gives India an opportunity to flex its muscles not only in the sporting community but also socio-politically, in a larger context.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s presence during Sunday’s final, a grand air show by the Indian Air Force, two former Kapil Trophy-winning captains and Dhoni watching from the stands with a bevy of who’s who from the world of entertainment and present politics, the greatness will not match.

There will be cultural programs with Bollywood music director Pritam, singer Jonita Gandhi and Coke Studio Gujarati singer Aditya Gadavi of `Gotilo` fame.

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The programs have been put together before throwing and breaking the guts and it is expected that 500 dancers from Mumbai will arrive to the popular numbers of Bollywood.

Perhaps for the visiting Australian team and also for the larger television audience around the world, a taste of India’s soft power and cricket as a tool.

There will also be viewers, at least 1.30 lakh, who would not want to settle for anything less than a world crown and another 1.39 billion sitting in their homes.

Like all India’s matches in this World Cup, it will be an “Ocean of Blue” in the stands and on the streets.

The counterfeiting industry has boomed, and all the Nos. 18 and 45 — the jersey numbers of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma respectively — will be knocked off the street corner in a flash.

Also Read: A bitter pill to swallow

Little people, dads, mums, big dads and the pesky neighbour, everyone will come ‘Bleed Blue’ on Sunday.

This will surely be a “Night to Remember” but only time will tell whether Rohit and his men can make it a “Night to Savor”.

(For agency input)

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