Sunday, April 3, 2011


I'm very excited; so excited that I can't even find words to type. Reason : India won the cricket world cup yesterday. And that too, after 28 eventful years. Now I too can be proud that a world cup came home during my lifetime. :) But the longing for it had been very intense. :)

It so happens that this is India and cricket (men's cricket, nobody even remembers that women too play cricket and there is a team also) are inseparable. Cricket is the new age spirit that keeps the diverse Indians together, irrespective of all criticism towards the game or its fans. There is really no other game which can make the people euphoric and extremely sad, there isn't one for which they'll take a half day leave and go home to watch the live telecast. :) Well everybody knows about all these, what I want to tell is my own thoughts about the game.


I didn't use to be a big fan of cricket, I didn't even know what its rules were. I knew Kapil Dev from my childhood and many others whom I don't remember now, for I used to see their posters in my uncles' room ( All the walls in that room were covered with posters of cricket stars! Many years later when there was a painting, those posters were removed. I don't know where they are now. )

The first memory of I watching cricket is about a match of India and SriLanka, sometime during my summer vacation when I having my 5th to 6th vacation. I still don't know which match was it. Later on, I somehow took interest in the game and started following it. It was by the end my 7th std, and after sometime, I had a decent cricket album with  photos of many stars in it (ofcourse Indian stars). My favorites were Dravid and Ganguly (of whom I later became a great fan and still am, I still freak out on seeing him on TV ;) ) and my cricket fanship began with India winning a tournament in Bangladesh (guess who was the star? Ganguly of course, I was very impressed by his sixes and fours. :) ), that was before the front of our home was renovated and our TV set kept unused for many months. But that couldn't restrict my budding love for the game. :) I used to collet news and pictures and make albums (again star of the album being Ganguly). At that time, we didn't have a cable connection (in fact we didn't have one till 2003, i.e it came after I passed plus two). I still remember watching India's tournament with Zimbawae (when Andy Flower and Grant Flower (is that right?) were in their team, a in 1998 Novmber (along with the edition of new SasthraKeralam, which was the second edition I got after newly subscribing for it) after the renovation was complete and TV restored.

Then came the 1999 world cup. I used to watch each and every match Inida [layed and that six by Ganguly in the match against Kenya is still in my mind. Actually I had dreamed that six, right on the day my cricket fanship started, (that Ganguly had hit a six which crossed the stadium buildings). I don't remember the order, but I watched match against England and when electricity went, I was sooo tensed that I prayed for it to come soon (see world cup usually occurs in March or April and summer rains will be there, with thunder which makes watching TV impossible if you care for your picture tube. I was cheering for India along with all other Indians (who cheered for them) and was happy when they won matches against Kenya, England and Pakistan. I remeber being tense for the match in which the batting line up collapsed and Inida lost for 3 wickets, because of Henry Olonga ( whom we alll cursed for doing such a thing to Inida), but I can't find that match in any record in the net! Anyway that world cup made had the most memorable match of SA-AUS semi final, which the then AUS captain Steve Waugh had made memorable, and for which I became his fan (really Steve Waugh is a good man ). In my cricket album I had their picture lifting the world cup.


My cricket fanship continued inthat I used to follow everymatch, but I was in 10th next year. But by the time I had become a fan of hte SA team also (reason I got a poster of Kallis and Gibbs along with sporstar and (oh! I forgot, my cricket fanship had made me a subsciber of Mathrubhumi sports masika, with which I used to get beutiful posters of cricketers, well of Saurav Ganguly too, :) ) because of Lans Klusner ( I didn't like Klusner for his cricket, but I liked him because he knew Zulu; well people are pretty crazy in their teens :) ). (I once hated Hansi Kronje for defeating Inida in a final, but later I was very sad about what he happened to him. It was very sad. ) So the most memorable match I saw in my 10th was a match of India against Australia I suppose and why it is memorable is because of this: I think it was the time when Yuvraj was selected to the team. He hit such a six that it broke the glass of a vehicle. (Yuvi you are wonderful.)  And it was on Mahanavami and the day on which every student is restricted from studying anything.

Well I don't remember much of the things in 2001 and 2002, then came 2003 and the world cup, of course Saurav Ganguly was the captain. And it was the time of my public exam! What will one do? Study or watch cricket? India's first match against Netherland was on the eve of my Biology practical exam. I was chanting experiments all day (even in the bathroom when I was bathing, and was thinking about how to see the match. Finally I got a way around, I  will study in the hall! So that I can walk from one room (TV room) to hall and back and in between can switch the TV on and watch. ;) Anyway India didn't seem to play well against the newcomers, finally I decided to study well for the exam. :) Then came the news, that fans back home were furious and had poured black oil on the captain's cut outa along with showing fury to all the players! Thanks to Inidan fans, Inida didn't have to look back after that. The semi-final was on a rainy day when I had our Physics exam. I remember listening to the commentary (since I loved my picture tube) and being happy when Inida won the match.

Then came the mega event (i.e final with Australia). Newspaper published the picture fans had made using Lagaan poster "La-again" with Aamir Khan replaced by Ganguly and the rest by the other Inidan team members. ( I forgot, there used to be colorful tabloids, and in the final one, there was a story about Bret Lee.)  That mega event was on the eve of our Maths exam, and I went for my tution class, only to find a group of people glued in front of the tv screen ( it happened that it was the marriage of our Teacher's sister's daughter and many friends were staying there). but before I went, India after winning the toss had decided to field first and that's the moment when I cursed Ganguly for the first time in my life (see cricket can cause extreme liking and extreme hatred in a fan's heart to the player, often the fans forget about the player's feelings, though the fan feels sorry afterwards). So everybody in our class was sort of doomed. To cheer us up, our teacher reminded us that its Australia and we ought to acknowledge that fact and concentrate on the next day's exam and be consistent like Australia. She gave us payasam also and we concentrated on our matrices and probabilities.

Everyone was sure that India was going to lose the match, for the Aussies had scored the huge score of 359 (thanks to Indian bowlers) thus setting an unbeatable score in front of the Indians. At home, when I was unable to concentrate, my father scolded me for wasting my time for a losing team who would get payed anyway. Finally I gathered the courage to switch on the TV only to see the last wicket go ( I think the last man I saw was Nehra , but he was not out). Anyway to reduce the grief, I watched the presentation ceremony and Sachin being declared as man of the series. That was the day when my dislike for Ponting (before that I never liked Ponting) began. Along with it began my dislike for the Australina team who won match after amtch becoming invincible. Good that it was not Steve Waigh who was the captain then. I can't afford to dislike a man like Steve Waugh. :)


But Inida continued to play good matches, both tests and ODIs and I was in college, cable came, but only to be cut during my exams! I used to listen to commentaries on radio (thanks to AIR) and still be a fan. But then due to the scandals and match fixing things, I lost interest in the game and stopped following everything. The 2007 world cup never registered in my mind as a world cup at all. It was just another "Aussies' winning occasion". I even didn't follow the 20-20 world cup (though now I feel a bit sad abt not following it) and almost lost all touch with cricket and its euphoria. I began viewing cricket as just another game or the game in which people made big money inside and outside (by being brand ambassedors of products and playing in IPL) the field.


I had not even known that this year's WC was jointly conducted by India, Bangladesh and SriLanka; I don't know how I came to know about it. My uninterest towards cricket continued and during oour science day celebration, when everybody was supporting Inida in its match agaionst England, I sat calmly and queitely as if nothing of it bothered me. Not because I had lost all my interest in cricket, but because I doubted the Inidan team. And finally during our dinner in Zaitoon, two peole were running to watch the score and were happy when it was tied! Oh my God1 Give me a break. It was mere luck. And I totally lost faith in Inidan team (as if I had faith earlier ;) ) when they lost their match against SA. So I decided to cheer for SA in the upcoming games ( of course India's chances seemed to be sparse at that moment for me). But SA crashed out of the tournament and Inida won the match against the West Inides decently, to meet Australia in the quarter-final. Well it was 2003 again in my mind, thuogh the team was different. And I wrote on my wall "India's way out of world cup has been opened." That was the desperate thought of a fan who had watched Inida crumble on the eve of her maths exam 7 years ago. Everybody was frantic. Well to me, it was like, they should defeat Australia, not only because I am an Indian, but also because I wanted somebody other than Australia lift that cup. But Inida won that match and everybody was happy. Thank God. Atleast somebody else would win it. :) (After the match Harsha Bhogle said "Atleast somebody else would lift it this time." (I think he really meant India, but didn't say it. :) )

Then came the historic match of India against Pakistan, history being India always winning such a match. India kept history. It was a day when my lost fanship came back because Inida got into the final. (Well it had come back a little after Inida's win against Australia, but I was never Euphoric, considering India's inconsistency after being praised by media.) Ayyo1 I forgot to mention that mail which my friend sent me befor the India-Aus match. It gave the reason why Inida would win that match. :) Well Indian team had "RAJNIKANTH" in it. Anybody who knows about Rajni jokes will understand this. :)  I was very happy that Inida won the match, (by that time the mail had tansformed form why win against Aussies to why win the world cup) confirming its seat in the final. :) But I still am against the euphoric media, which hailed the 29 run win as "storming into the final". My faith in Yuvraj had become strong by the time and I was sure that he can work magic at a sinking stage. Still I'm against the media, which unnecessarily gave publicity to that match, afterall its a cricket match. And as Inidans you definitely wanted your country to win, there's nothing else. (Media often makes contraversies and most often the private channels. They don't know how to keep decency in broadcasting. Good that they were banned in the finals. :) )

But the final was against SriLanka and they were really really a good team. [Even Pakistan was good, I was scared for Inida remembering about how they had wrapped the Windies for 112 runs to ensure the berth in the semi-finals and during the semi-final, I kept my breath till the last over, though there were celebrations during the last over when everybody knew that India was going to win the match.] So still doubting Inida's consistency I didn't dare to watch the match. SriLanka had chosen to bat first and Inida seemed to bowl weell in the begginning, but later when I saw the final score card, I was shocked. Oh My God! That was going to be 2003 again. :( I lost all hope, resolved to watch Shin-Chan instead of the WC (its not like I was watching it continuously). After Inida's batting began and I after I saw 11/1, I confirmed that  I should not expect anything and finally a bored me decide to take nath and get fresh and go for dinner. Like I became active Indian team too became active after that. I went to the lab, sat t here and browsed, looking at the score in between, when tha score was at 135 I felt relieved and then it was 150, then 223 something and 243,then 253, so I felt like "yes we still have a chance unless Inida messes up" and wrapped up my browsing and went to the room. I should not miss the momwent incase Inida won. :) India needed 17 runs out of 18 balls, I was praying, praying and praying, we should not lose after coming this far. DD was showing that only two teams had won the WC chasing a score, if Inida won ,it would be tghe 3rd. :) Finally it reduced to 11 ,then 7, then 5 and then Dhoni hit a six and came the moment. Inida won the WC after 28 years. Kapil's devils did it it in 1983, Dhoni's dudes did it again in 2011. I woke up my sleeping friend, sent sms to my mom, and friends and there started the night party. Well "RAJNIKANTH SAVED THE DAY! :) for Dhoni's naiyya thi Rajni ke bharose."

Well SriLanka too played well, kept their calm, hats of to you Sangakara. :) You spoke well for your team.

Finally Sachin has a WC to his cap, winning it in his home town :) , and Yuvi got MoS (as expected, he became raj from Yuvraj :) ) and Dhoni brought the WC home.I don't know whether anybody has noticed this: Inida got WCs with captains whose popularly known surnames start with "D". :) [Though Kapil Dev's original name is Kapil Dev Ramlal Nikhanj; he's known popularly as Kapil Dev. :) ] Each player gets 1crore bucks and coach and others get 50lakhs. :)


For me the party was not a real party, it was an e-party. People sent sms as if it was a festival, every Inidan was congratulated, and each and everybody born after 1983 (including me) was happy to see such a thing happen during our life times. :) There followed the outburst of euphoria in facebook in the form of status updates, comments for those updates; one liking the others's updates and so on. One of my friends had written in his facebook "We want SriLanka in the finals." His wish came true. :)  I couldn't sleep till 2.00 (though it is my usual time ;) ) and was glued to FB listening to songs in my ipod. Whether it was because I was happy about Inida winning the WC or something else, I found all songs extremely lovely and peppy, and couldn't help grinning till I slept. :)


After the euphoria, when I tried to steady my mind, I simulated the situation after football wc. But then corrected myself, its a wholly different affair, more global than cricket. I wondered about the people of other countries. This is nothing for them. Then suddenly I thought about the Japanese (for there was another reason too; I had watched 2012 on Friday; one nation is celebrating while the other is trying to rebuild itself and I felt guilty. I'm not blaming anything, but I really wished that those who won did something for that country (its not sympathy for Japan, but as a human I ought to do so) (afterall they are getting 1crore from the tax we payed :) ) as thanksgiving. It would be better than just being stupidly happy. :)  And more thouhgts came to my mind. Why was I so happy? I didn't play the wc, I just watched it, wished with all my heart for their victory and it happened. 

  Then I thought about the security people who worked hard to keep everybody safe (though they too are Indians who love cricket :))? I wished them all safety. Well this is the after effect of rational thinking , I suppose. :)

Still I won't lie that I'm genuinely happy and the reason for this post itself is my excitement (I was so excited this morning that I couldn't sleep even after deciding to sleep, my heart was bursting out to be poured out as words.) Aamir's tee shirt and Rajni's presence worked (it seemed that Rajni had come to know about that mail :) ) as well as every other Inidan's superstitions (including mine :) ). Congrats Inidans, we won! :) 

I wish India the same in all sports and all other fields in the coming days also. :) Proud to be an Indian. :) 


PS : The final was in Mumabi, I was in Kolkata! I can't believe I was in Kolkata when India won the WC! :)