Mar 29, 2011

Aaah… More Cricket love!


This is what I had to write on Oct 07, 2006, during the Champion’s trophy, on my first blog. The blog is not accessible for public anymore, but I thought this post is sure worth a second mention. I also checked that I had got 31 comments for this one then (quite a feat for a blogger of my stature, yes I am bragging! :)) Pardon the English and the tone of it (it sounds very juvenile to me now :)), but do read on to see my love for the game. Or should I say, ex-love! :)
When India lost the match against West Indies (I am not even sure it is WI or not also!) due to the Duckworth Louis(pardon the spelling if it is wrong!) method, I could see everyone talking about that whereever I went for 2 full days. Then when Sachin hit his 40th century, I could see rejoicing right from the cafeteria to the ghar-ka-building...
Good people.. enjoy at India's victory.
But please... dont talk to me about it. Mereko koi farak nahi padta hain... I am a total ignoramus when it comes to present-day-cricket. Yeah, I dont even know who the captian of Indian cricket team is. Is it Sachin? Saurav?? Okok... Is it Dravid?? whatever.. I dont even know who are all the members of the team. I dont know the manager, coach(is it Bob Woolmer by any chance?) nor the physio guy for the team(I remember we had a cutie sometime back!). I am a total ignoramus.... I dont even know where India is playing at the moment and I am not ready to believe that it is Malaysia coz I know Malays dont have a team! Or do they have one now?
Now.. do I see few of my readers walking away from this blog shaking their head disappointedly?? Hold on.. before you write me off as a total-idiot-who-doesnt-know-the-beauty-of-the-game.. I have something to say!
Main kya karun yaar... its been ages since I watched cricket. Till last week, I didnt even know that Sachin was not playing because of some ache.
And only today when S fought for the remote is when I understood that something called Champion's Trophy is gonna start today..
And I am not at all exaggerating if I say that after the recent soccer matches, I am liking soccer more than cricket. Yeah.. Soccer will yeild a good result within just 2 hours, but to know the winner of a cricket match, you gotta wait for one full day...
Nopes.. I am not doing the great task of comparing the beauty of soccer versus that of cricket. Coz at the end of the day, I am an ignoramus in soccer also. All I know about it is that you get to see cute guys wearing shorts showing off their gorgeous legs and playing with that footbal... All I know is that you have guys like Toni, Totti, Ronaldinho, Beckham, Ballack, Lehmann and of course Zidane in soccer.. thats all.
But then I dont even know who the latest players in cricket are. The last I remember is we had nice players like Gautam Gambhir, Ritender Singh Sodhi and the likes debuting into cricket.
I do remember Kapil running half through the ground to catch Richards' ball thus sending him to the pavilion. I also remember Saurav throwing his shirt off from the Oval. I remember Haq talking in Hindi when Boycott was asking him questions in English. I remember Shahid Afridi making the fastest 100 and Jayasuriya getting it for his 50. I can also recollect Shoaib Akhtar throwing the ball fiercely at Sachin. And I couldnt forget Saeed Anwar's 195(or was it 198?Ok, I just verified, its 194!) against India...
And I didnt forget what Shane Warne said about Sachin and his dreams. I fondly remember my adoration towards Courtney Walsh and Curtley Ambrose. I remember Walsh's 6/12(Updated - It is 5/1 by Walsh and 6/12 by Kumble!), Aquib Javed's 7/37 against India and of course Kumble 7/41 and 10-wicket haul. I remember Kenya's 250 fight against SL's 399.
I didnt forget Azhar praying in the middle of pitch and his unique style of holding the bat. And I also remember Jadeja's one-time glory against Pakistan. I will never forget how Srinath and Kumble together led India to victory in the Bangalore match against Australia with their mothers praying for them from the stands. And how can I not remember the more-than-1000-run match Sri Lanka played against India. I remember my starry eyes as I looked at Steve Crowe when he led his team to 9 victories only to lose to Pakistan in Semi Finals in the World Cup. And how can I forget the bechaini I had when I saw Chris Cairns on TV?
I remember the ferver the South Africans showed when they played their first match against India after their 22-yr ban. Who will forget Lance Klusener for the way he threw the ball so that it wouldnt be a six thus losing a chance of taking a wicket. That Paul Adams guy who would throw a ball like he was a monkey.
David Boon's bade-bade-mooche, Glischrist all-roundship, Mark Waugh's captaincy(Updated-Another mistake here. Its obviously Steve Waugh and not the other twin who captained!) and decency when he had to give away the reins of the one-day team to another captain but still lead the test team, Steve Waugh's(As usual, I got confused between the twins, its Mark!) cute looks, Ian Healy's wicketkeeper ship - I remember all of this.
I will never forget the monkey dance Javed Miandad did in front of Kiran More, the accolades More got when he stumped out South-African-captain, Wasim Akram's dimag-kharab-hain-kya scolding to Afridi for missing a catch, the Indo-Pak peace series in Toronoto and Hansie Cronje's excellent captaincy. I remember the injustice of Duckworth Louis method with the South Africans had to make 22runs in 1 ball.
I remember Kapil being gifted a car by his fan in South-Africa, the way we Indians played on the West Indies pitches, how we faced the bounce in them(this was the season when only VVS Laxman made 22 runs in the Barbados test). I remember Geff Boycott giving pitch analysis with his key and his praising the Prince of Kolkatta.
I remember the way I would be nervous from the morning if India had to play Pak, I remember all the mannats I would take so that we win the match, I remember Mom waking up at 3AM to see the Toronto matches.
But then how could I forget the fact that apna-beloved-Azharuddin is held guilty in the match-fixing deal, Jadeja teaming up with him and excellent-captain-Hansie selling his team for a few dollars..
How can I forget the pain I felt when I realized that we Indians will be praying like fools for the team's victory whereas the winning team has already been decided off-pitch?
How can I forget the test-match India lost against Pakistan in Chennai, when all we needed to make were 15 runs to win with 8 wickets in hand, and all the players kept on walking towards the pavilion after Sachin got out?
I cannot forget the smiling faces of the cricketers in the advertisments which would be telecasted in the middle of a losing match.
Yep... I was this extra-ardent fan of cricket who kept track of even what happenened in each of the circketer's lives. I also remembered their fave songs. I remember bunking reading for my 10th class Social public exam only to see Kambli crying, Kumble his-head-hanging and Eden Gardens blazing... I remember how badly I prayed that Azhar be proven not-guilty. I cried along with Kapil when he shed tears on BBC. I remember discussing all these things every morning with the boys of the class, when the girls would treat me as an odd-girl-out.
Well... the point I am trying to drive home (the straight sixer I am trying to make is :)) that I had been this great fan of cricket, but the pain of losing again and again has got so much into my nanha-munna-innocent-head that I decided its waste to watch cricket and then feel bad that we lost. My defense mechanism told me that its a major waste of time and I could invest that time in reading GodFather for the 15th time. Atleast Godfather wins at the end of it.
So... I stopped watching cricket. Completely. And got so out of touch of it that I dont even know the current affairs of it. I recently asked Mom what Jagmohan Dalmiya is doing at the moment only to see that she was laughing at my lack of GK. Now I know that there is a match on TV when I see that Mom is giving the TV more attention than she would give me on normal days when I visit her. Or when she answers the phone in a dejected voice and go on to tell me the match details only to see that I would be laughing and proceed to give her a discourse about my funda.
(Well, she stopped talking to me about it after she got her very own cricket-loving-son-in-law. Both of them were running all over the house even on the day we got engaged coz there was some goddamn match on TV. One minute, this guy would be in front of me, the other minute with the TV. One second this lady would handover me the saree and next minute both of them discussing. He slid the ring in the finger and ran off to see who got the next wicket. She would look at me lovingly for one second and then give me a doubt if she was looking at me or at Sachin!! Wont I get irritated?? Aaarghhh.. but that story is for another day!)
Ok.. this is it! I am not going to explain why I am not into cricket anymore again! People who start discussing - "Kal ka match dekhi? Sachin ne kya century mara naa", watch your neck!!!

Is it already 2011!

Suddenly I realized that the end of this World Cup is actually an end of an era for my generation.
Yes, most of us have seen Sachin's first ever cricket match.
Almost all of us have seen Kambli cry like a girl as Kumble walked on grimly in 1996, and the apologies by the crowd at Eden Garden right afterwards.
Or the test series in West Indies where Kumble had the bandage and yet played thus winning all our hearts.
Or that series in Barbados where Laxman was the only one to make a double digit score.
Or see the bad boy Ricky Ponting grow on to be the shrewd man and captain his side.

All of us remember that Kumble, Warne and Murali were truly the best of spin the game can see.
All of us have seen Shoaib's fastest ball or have seen with grudging wonder when Afridi made the fastest 50.
We all loved Jayasuriya and Kaluwitharana's game, and prayed at a point that we never have to play SL!

Who among us has forgotten the WC match in Bangalore which saw Sohail act like a jerk and were shocked when Prasad gave a fitting reply?
Or how Manoj Prabhakar sealed his own fate by gifting away runs? Or how we had to bear Jadeja for just that one match just coz he made 45 runs?
Haven’t we all smiled seeing Dada throw away his shirt from the Oval?
Remember the lanky boys Vettori and McGrath debuting?
Or the fateful match for SA where they had to make 22 runs off one ball?
How many of us could forget how hard it got for Kapil towards the end of his career to achieve that record of 434 records?
Did you guys forget how Wasim Akram told Afridi ‘dimag kharab hain?’ after he dropped Sachin’s catch?

We didnt have IPLs or 20-20s. Instead we had boring test matches and interesting 50 over ODIs. There was no overdose of cricket. All we had was a beautiful game, and tons of memories associated with the good, bad and great boys of the game!
True, we are growing old! :)

[I was in 10th class when the 1996 world cup matches were going on, and we were asked to write an essay on Indian Cricket for English exam. For a mere 5 marks, I remember I filled up as much as 5 pages, all about the beauty of this game with glorious uncertainties! From the time this WC has started, I have not been able to forget this incident and how much cricket meant to me back then!
And as I saw Murali make his final victory lap in Colombo today, I could not help but thinking about the good old days of cricket, the days I enjoyed so much!]