Sunil Gavaskar is going to grab the first lottery ticket he sets eyes on. May be that will bring him, at least, some luck.
It?s like this: This morning, pigeon?s droppings greeted him bang in the centre of his head as he walked into the County ground. Gavaskar didn?t brush it off.
??It?s supposed to bring luck... And, just in case we don?t win, I?ll certainly buy a lottery ticket,?? he?d told The Telegraph.
So, while Gavaskar will head for a lottery outlet this evening itself, the gentleman who put all of ?10,000 on South Africa pocketing the World Cup, with bookmakers William Hill last evening, will park himself in the nearest pub.
South Africa, after all, have begun their campaign on the note they wished: Full points vs India. As for the Indians, they had their chance, specially with South Africa 68 for three, but possible victory was turned into defeat.
It didn?t help that Jawagal Srinath, after an incisive first spell, eventually went for 69 in ten overs. It didn?t help that Man of the Match Jacques Kallis produced another fantastic performance (96 off 128 deliveries) in a pressure cooker-like situation.
Finally, it didn?t help that Ajit Agarkar was punished for 17 in the 47th over. With Jonty Rhodes taking the lead, whatever pressure there then was, went for a six.
In time to come, Mohammed Azharuddin may regret not inviting South Africa to bat but, really, few could have envisaged that conditions (for batting) would improve dramatically in the afternoon. Only, that?s how the cookie crumbled and it?s the South Africans who left for neighbouring Brighton amid cheers.
The jeers were all reserved for the Indians. In fact, a sour note was struck when the players were coming off as an inebriated Indian ?fan? lunged at Azhar and Rahul Dravid. The Indians didn?t press charges, but there?s concern over security. The ?fan? was let off.
Even otherwise, it was a quite dramatic day with the South Africans carrying the use of technology a little too far.
Indeed, the very first Indian innings in this World Cup saw just about everything: Heroism and tragedy, with Sourav Ganguly featuring in both, and controversy in the shape of earphones used by Hansie Cronje and Allan Donald to stay linked with coach Bob Woolmer.
The Indian innings was built around two handsome partnerships: Sixty-seven between Sachin Tendulkar (a soft-dismissal victim) and Sourav; 130 for the second-wicket between Sourav and Rahul Dravid (54 from 75 deliveries).
Playing their first World Cup, Sourav and Dravid did much to promise an Indian summer. They certainly made the morning for thousands of tricolour-waving fans who either drove from London and other parts or packed the Connex South Central railway service from London to Brighton and here.
Incidentally, tennis? hottest doubles pair, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, was in the cheering party. They arrived in London last night (from Rome), hired a car and made possibly their first appearance at a one-dayer featuring India.
?It?s been terrific, good fun... Hope we win,? Paes remarked, adding Bhupathi and he would leave for Paris tomorrow. Sadly, he would have to return disappointed.
For a while, it seemed India would touch 275, but the 42nd over broke the momentum. Dravid got out, playing across, and not much later Sourav was run out after a typically brilliant stop from Jonty.
Early on, Sourav was hit at an embarrassing spot by Kallis, but he made the South Africans pay. Sourav got runs on both sides of the square as also behind and in front.
Still, being run out three short of a World Cup hundred will haunt. Clearly, even momentarily, you can?t have second thoughts. Not with Jonty around.
Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja did their bit to get beyond 250, but the 275-mark couldn?t be touched. With conditions mostly overcast and the ball doing quite a bit, batting definitely wasn?t the most welcome option.
As it turned out, India fell 20-odd runs short. Game number two for India is in Leicester, versus Zimbabwe, on Wednesday.