Generally I dont comment much on Cricket, cuz I sincerely feel that its not much of a sport, and more of entertainment. True, it may take some skill to learn to toss the ball at a fellow some 20 yards away, and then to slam the ball hard enough out of the stadium. But, I dont consider it sport – its not, say, football, or hockey, or athletics. It’s just cricket.
But I was reminded in this month how much it’s more than just entertainment to my fellow Indians. Late last month, the World Cup began, and many Indians began rescheduling their days to catch their favourite teams play. People mysteriously disappeared on inane meetings, feel violently ill and were terribly late in making flights on account of 22 lads running after 1 ball and 1 trophy.
For those who havent followed the World Cup, here’s a quick recap. India, England, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan, South Africa and West Indies advanced to the Quarter Finals from the League matches. India beat Australia (the resultant loss in man day, and the expected loss of another man day today is not counted as a loss in this context), Pakistan whitewashed West Indies, Sri Lanka defeated England and New Zealand triumphed the choker South Africans. Last evening, Sri Lanka beat New Zealand to book themselves a berth in the Finals.
And today, India plays Pakistan in what appears to be not just another semi-final but the most important match for India in this tournament. For a week now I have been receiving several humour laden messages referring to this match. Having Rajnikant on our team apparently makes us invincible… hell, I could make Rajnikant appear on any team!! Since Mohali is close to the border, people comment that our neighbours can ride a rickshaw home… getting to Mohali by air or train appears to be so expensive that they’d probably be better off on those rickety 3-wheelers. Shahid Afridi’s tryst with God seems hilarious… yet you must remember, God’s own team drew with England and lost to South Africa. References to the many other mails/messages I’ve received may not be appropriate for this public forum, but you get the point… some people have been spending valuable time in coming up with snide comments for the occasion.
And I find myself surrounded by cricket talk today. VT station appeared more than half empty. Churchgate station wore a forlorn look. The talk in the bus to work was about how India can best win the match today. The liftman glanced at his watch every 3 seconds like it was already 2 p.m. Friends posted status messages on how they were either off or allowed to work for half day today. People are already scouting for the nearest TV (we have one right in our office, so I’m rather strategically located). Many are overworking in the morning, so that disappearing post-lunch at least appears conscientious. And the fever rubs off.
So go on. Turn off your laptops and desktops. Take a break. Cheer madly at every four and six. Boo like crazy at every wicked ball. Take digs at whoever you can.
And enjoy the madness that is the World Cup.