By Aastha Anupriya
The most Indian thing about Indian Cricket is its fans, all too eager for perennially “achche din”. Our obsession with accolades only conveys that it’s so not okay to have a bad day.
31 January 2016: It’s the early hours of a rather lazy Sunday evening, and on the television is a high-scoring, fast-moving Twenty 20 match. Needless to say, everyone – from the schoolchildren on holiday to the bhaiya jis working in our mess – has formed a crowd of sorts around the TV, all upbeat from the series win. Australia has mounted 197 runs on the scoreboard, Virat Kohli has just lost his wicket at 50 and cuss words have started doing the rounds.
“Inhe select kiya kisne?” (“Who on earth did select them?”)
We are none to say, are we?
Well, who are we? Indian cricket fans.
Where are we stuck? In a 2011 hangover.
What do we do second-best (of course, after cheering for the team)? Write the players off.
What word describes us best? Impatient.
Yuvraj Singh: Hero? Hero.
Suresh Raina’s magnificent show featured by regular boundaries is just not good enough for the junta! Yuvraj Singh is at the other end with just five off nine deliveries.
Seventeen runs required off six balls. While that certainly is a daunting target even for the most talented of batting line-ups, it is more than enough for Indian TVs to be turned off and plugs pulled out. Everyone goes back to work.
Ten minutes later, India has not just won the match off the last delivery, they have created history and cruised to the first rank in T20s.
“Never raise doubt over Yuvraj’s batting,” said the same people. It’s amazing how a couple of shots can change public opinion in addition to the course of a match.
It isn’t just Yuvraj Singh who has been at the receiving end of unnecessary flak. MS Dhoni, the hero of numerous victories and undoubtedly the best captain in business (apologies for the bias), has been in the same position for far too long now.
The Irrational Things We Expect…
We, the fans are weird people. We need the hardest hitting batsman at every moment to be made the captain in all formats regardless of the fact that cricket is a team sport.
We don’t understand what a beautifully nuanced shot or a brave catch is. Why would we? We are way too busy looking at the scoreboard.
…And The Good Ones We Miss
Where is Gautam Gambhir? Few would know; we hardly watch domestic cricket, and that is wrong at so many levels for when we do see new talent, it is ripe. And alas! Ripe is the only form of talent we know.
I personally ache to see Zaheer Khan and Virender Sehwag back in action, but I don’t know if it’s right to replace a Rohit Sharma with a Sehwag. I will know if that ever happens and till then, I will make sure to not whine about his selection or take a jab at his life every time he doesn’t score a ton. Nor will I burn effigies every time we lose. Why? Because, at the heart of the very concept of competition, it is okay to lose.
I hate to use the overused “intolerant”, but that, as cricket fans we are, and very much providing a testimony to what Yuvraj Singh said:
“Jab tak balla chalta hai, thaat hai.”
(“All is well as long as the bat does well.”)
And the ball? We wouldn’t know.
Is there a cricketer you think the team misses (no, not Sachin)? Yes? Do tell us who it is!