The hurt was simply too much.
Indian players have been called out for snubbing Australia’s trophy celebrations after Monday morning’s extraordinary Cricket World Cup final.
Travis Head was the hero as Australia broke 1.4 billion hearts with a six-wicket win as the Aussies cruised to victory with 42 balls to spare.
It is one of the most extraordinary achievements by any Australian sporting team to climb up off the canvas from two early defeats at the start of the tournament to hold the ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy aloft.
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It was even more special to do it as the underdogs against an undefeated Indian team that had torn through everything in its path as the host country.
The magnitude of that achievement may not have been felt by Aussie skipper Pat Cummins and his team as the trophy was presented in front of an empty, cavernous 130,000 seat stadium.
Most notably, the trophy was presented on the field with the Indian team nowhere to be seen.
Indian players have been widely forgiven for the on-field snub with understanding from many that emotion simply got the better of them.
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But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t unsporting.
There was simply too much hurt for India to care.
“It’s a sorry scene now from an India perspective,” the BBC’s Matthew Henry said.
“Some have stayed for the presentation. Most have not.”
It wasn’t the only awkward moment.
Cummins was presented the World Cup trophy by India prime minister, Narendra Modi, and Australia deputy prime minister, Richard Marles.
The pair, however, then left the stage leaving Cummins alone to shake the hands of the remainder of the Australian team.
After the pair had jointly given Cummins the trophy and posed for photos, they walked off the stage, leaving Cummins by himself.
Earlier, Head’s historic century fell flat with the home crowd. Not many stayed to see it with Australia well on the path to victory by that point.
Leading cricket journalist Bharat explained the Indian players left the field immediately after shaking hands with their Aussie opponents.
“Have to feel for this Indian team. KL Rahul and Mohammad Siraj looked inconsolable while even Rohit Sharma didn’t hang around at all after the customary handshakes & just ran up the long steps here to the dressing-room,” he posted on Twitter.
Indian Cricinfo writer Deivarayan Muthu, summed up the heartbreak perfectly.
“Siraj has tears in his eyes. Rahul crumbles to the floor. Rohit and Kohli are expressionless. Bumrah walks off the field tossing what looks like water bottles to the floor in disgust. There is so much hurt out there,” he wrote.
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Indian captain Sharma after the game congratulated Australia, but was clearly still stewing about his own team’s performance.
“We tried everything we could but I thought the wicket got slightly better to bat on under the lights,” he said.
“We knew under the lights it would be slightly better. I don’t want to give that as an excuse, we didn’t bat well enough to put enough runs on the board.”
Rohit said his team were “not good enough”.
The hosts were bowled out for 240 and once Head settled in Australia never looked like losing.
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The result shattered India’s dreams of ending a global title drought stretching back to the 2013 Champions Trophy.
“I mean the result hasn’t gone our way and we know that we were not good enough on the day. But proud of the team,” Rohit said after the loss.
“It wasn’t supposed to be. Honestly, 20-30 more runs would’ve been good. I thought when KL (Rahul) and Virat (Kohli) were batting, we were looking at 270-280 at that point and we kept losing wickets.”
Rohit hit a quickfire 47 before Australia hit back with wickets and bowled out the hosts in 50 overs despite fifties from Virat Kohli (54) and KL Rahul (66).
Australia slipped to 47-3, but the left-handed Travis Head stood firm and put on 192 runs with Marnus Labuschagne, who made an undefeated 58.
“With 240 on the board, we wanted early wickets but credit to Travis Head and Marnus,” said Rohit.
“They put us completely out of the game and I thought the wicket got better to bat under lights. I mean we knew under lights, it would be better but don’t want to give that as an excuse.”
— with AFP