Why do we watch sports? Does one watch any sport by birth? This is something we started watching unintentionally but fell in love with it inevitably. I don’t remember when I started watching cricket. The oldest I can remember is 1996 Cricket world cup. When Jayasuriya and Kulwitarana were whacking balls all around the park. But, I hated their show. The game gave me thrill only when an INDIAN was hitting a boundary or taking a wicket. Which means, I was enjoying the game for a mere half an hour and wasting my time all the remaining 6 and a half hours?
After watching cricket for some period, I was very impressed with this little man called tendulkar. Just because he occupied more share in my overall 30 min thrill in a match. Slowly, my thrill was shifting its focus from India to Sachin. When this shift took full shape, I was just watching cricket for sachin. I switched off the TV as soon as he was out. I was cursing the bowler with pumped up adrenaline and a big frown on my temple. There were petty debates and quarrels with my friends about sachin and I reached a stage where all I wanted is sachin to score and it did not matter whether india wins or loses.
Commentators in India did not help me much in understanding the sport (I really hate Ravi Shastri as a commentator in this regard). They were always shouting during the Flashy part and discussing about samosas or records during other periods. Even if someone like harsha was interested in discussing the technical aspects, the other idiot would not allow him to unveil his ideas.
But, there was something different when matches happened in England. Commentators were discussing about terms like footwork, balance, seam position, angles, bowling strategies and effective field placements. This kind of commentary with live examples helped me a lot in understanding the sport better than just clapping for boundaries and wickets. I remember Michael Atherton saying “What a stupid shot, He must be ashamed to play a shot like that to get his hundred” when strauss reached his 100 with a boundary. The possibility of a commentator from the sub-continent uttering those words when his countrymen reach 100 is very near to nothing.
My efficiency in enjoying cricket increased by leaps and bounds after understanding the above mentioned aspects. When McGrath bowled one that came in after bowling 4 deliveries in the outside off corridor, to clean up sachins stumps, I was just enjoying the way McGrath deceived sachin. I did not feel like cursing McGrath then. I was just starting to like his ability and brains. Now, I did not enjoy the game when ever there was a boundary, instead I would like it when there was a proper boundary where in the batsman out-thinks the bowler. I was more interested in CONTESTs between the players than the win/loss equations. I started appreciating cricket Mentally and stopped worrying about india or sachin or McGrath. I loved Pontings pull, Lara stylishly leave the ball, Sachin’s balance, Gilchrist’s Lightning fast reflexes, Warne’s Mighty spin and this list goes on with jayawardenes, pietersons in batting, styens and malingas in bowling and devillerss and rainas in fielding. Now, there was something to enjoy whenever I watched cricket no matter who plays whom. This is why I mentioned the term efficiency in the beginning of this paragraph.The more I understood about this sport, the more I was able to enjoy it.
Imagine if india faces srilanka in 2011 WC final in Mumbai and India needs 3 runs off the last bowl when malinga is bowling to sachin. Malinga bowling a deadly Yorker to rip off the middle stump at that time would make people go gaga in SL , and sachin flicking malinga to square leg, and the fine leg fielder, after escorting the ball to boundary just gives up like ever before, would erupt a roar of joy by billion Indians. Though many of you would disagree that we Indians should consider both the results in a similar manner, and enjoy the brilliance of a player on either occasions, isn’t it true sporting sprit as a spectator to think “the best man has won” ?
From what I have experienced, an Indian in me would be heart broken if sachin was bowled to malingas Yorker. But as a cricket lover I would be ruminating the thrill - that last ball provided whatever the result may – forever.
Why do you want to love the Indian team alone when something big (Cricket) is awaiting your love.
Why do you want to love Indians alone when something big (Humans) is awaiting your love.