Cricket commentators never tire of mouthing that hoary old chestnut about “the glorious uncertainties of cricket.

However, the adage seems wonderfully appropriate in the context of the current World Cup. Just two weeks ago, who would have imagined that the last men standing from the Indian subcontinent would be minnows Bangladesh – or that the so-called “giants”, India and Pakistan, would be forced to slink back home with their tails between their legs? No doubt, the “experts” will now pontificate about the Indian team’s lack of application and fighting spirit and – my personal favourite – “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.” However, to my mind, one of the major factors contributing to India’s humiliation is that – unlike other world class teams, India does not have a Plan B. If the match does not progress according to the prepared script, they simply fall apart. This was evident in the match against Bangladesh. After the top order batsmen surrendered cheaply, there was a look of bewilderment, even disbelief, on the faces of those that followed. Dhoni, for example, could not conceive that India could lose to Bangladesh, and set about in his usual cavalier fashion, oblivious to the predicament his team was in. Again, in the game against Sri Lanka, once Tendulkar and Sehwag were out, it was apparent from the body language of the remaining players – barring Dravid – that they did not have a clue as to how to salvage a desperate situation; and had resigned themselves to defeat. Cricketers are not necessarily picked for their intelligence, but even the slow witted among them would have realized the consequences of crashing out of the tournament in the preliminary round – not only in terms of public humiliation, but also loss of the advertising revenue that has long kept them in the style to which they have become accustomed. What was particularly ironical during the telecast of the matches was – as our ‘heroes’ tamely surrendered – the sponsors continued to air commercials of fans shouting “wah wah India”; and Dhoni, Tendulkar and company portrayed as all-conquering cricketing tigers. Talk about the mouse that roared. Then, again, maybe the players are smarter than we give them credit for. They know that Indian fans are, perhaps, the most forgiving in the world. The public anger and frustration will soon blow over – and a quick victory in a future match will ensure that they are heroes again. And so, Tendulkar and Dhoni will continue to receive obscene amounts of cash for jingoistic ads, showing them performing feats they are clearly incapable of. Trust me; the only thing capable of shocking our pampered cricketers out of their complacency is loss of advertising revenue. But, the gullible Indian fans will ensure that that never happens – and it will be business as usual. The reality is that India – and Pakistan - are the new minnows of sub-continental cricket. However, it doe not bother them, because they will continue to be regarded as lions. As for us adoring spectators, perhaps we have got the team we deserve.