i am not too much into sports. as a kid, i used to play a lot of games. we used to play all the time. in fact, it is the only thing i really remember about childhood. but i’ve never really had the inclination to watch and follow any sporting event. i don’t mind it once in a while, but i’m not hooked to it.
the same goes for cricket too. i don’t like the game all that much. i think it is rather slow and i’d go with bernard shaw’s view to some extent. there is an exception though – when india is playing, it is a different thing altogether. i can get glued to the idiot box, and lose myself in the game. for all their flaws and idiosyncrasies, i still love our cricket team. i suppose its natural, for its OUR team. i do agree that some of the other sports do get sidelined and don’t get the attention or the funds as does cricket. but lets face it, cricket is a craze in this country. or atleast in most parts of the country.
this country witnessed one helluva loss to bangladesh a few days back and the reactions, as always, were quite predictable. it was highly recommended by every tom, dick and bihari (no offense!) that sehwag be replaced. dhoni’s home was apparently vandalised. i was pretty sure though, that the same fans would be eating their own words after the subsequent match, and thats pretty much what happened. we were supposed to deliver, and we did it in style. ironically, the much beleaguered dada is slowly turning out to be one of our best bets – atleast in terms of consistency.
the bermuda match was special to me in more ways than one. obviously, the indian cricket fan that i am, watching the ball being sent repeatedly across the boundary lines was a treat. but what gave that extra special touch to the whole event was the team from bermuda. for a so called minnow side, they played some heroic cricket, and thats what made me happy. some of the fielding efforts – with players giving just about everything to stop a boundary or grab a catch – was truly a treat to watch.
interestingly, i’ve been looking up about the team, and Ram Mahesh, in his article in the hindu yesterday, had this to say –
On Monday, the side takes on Bermuda’s motley mob of an art teacher, a chartered accountant, a county cricketer, an engineer, a mason, a prison van driver, a printing technician, a telephone technician, and a few students knowing full well it needs to win big.
the country could actually fit all its people quite comfortably into a stadium like say, the eden garden. in fact, thats a big stadium, and so it’ll still be half empty! or if u want a slightly different picture, this little island only has single lane roads with a speed restriction of 20 mph. does that give you an idea of the country and the team? and they’re contesting the world cup cricket. i am not sure if thats funny for some or unfair in the eyes of others. to me, its bold.
there is this player – i don’t get his name, but he’s one of their big batsmen, who is supposed to be a huge fan of sachin tendulkar. and guess what, this man apparently likes this country so much he has apparently named his daughter ‘india’ – something i am sure even indians wouldn’t think of. but my personal hero, and i am sure others share this sentiment, was dwayne leverock. it was a treat to watch this jumbo-sized player run around enthuisiastically and literally throw his weight around! one of the cutest moments of the match was when leverock took the catch of uthappa – and the way he ran back and forth and back and forth, his big tummy jiggling. i must be careful not to hurt anybody’s sentiments, especially his mother’s. for apparently, the papers are too full of references to his size and shape more than his cricket and the lady is quite upset.
“He’s my hero. He was anyway. Now he’s everyone’s hero,” she is supposed to have said. i don’t know about everybody, but he certainly is my hero. tell me anybody else who would wear a genuine smile of admiration combined with resignation – when he was being ripped apart by none other than the little master himself.
a humble bunch of players waging a brave war against some of the ‘giants’ in the sport, and doing it cheerfully – that for me is the crowning glory of the sport. in fact, i’d go to the extent of saying that it really was a true display of the sporting spirit in every sense of the word.