Friday, April 1, 2011

Cricket (Musing)

I've never been a guy who likes sports entertainment. I never knew what all the fuss was about. Sure, gladiatorial combat, yeah definitely. But cricket? HAHA, *yawn. You're kidding me rig....*snore...

So, truth be told, when Ajinkya called me over to watch the India vs Pakistan semi-finals for the cricket world-cup, it was more for being with friends than actually watching the match(Okay it was ONLY for being with friends)
But as it turns out, in a spectator sport, if the spectators of the sport in question are pumped up enough, a guy who doesn't even want to know about the cup rankings, can have the time of his life, especially if your team wins.(If it wasn't clear, guy in question is me)

Before I start, an update for the non-Indian readers of the blog.
India as a country is MAD about cricket. Not MAD mad, it is prepared to jump into a river of fire to see a match M-A-D about cricket(well at least most of them). And a match against our longtime rival Pakistan, is pretty much something that can inspire people to the brink of madness or possibly cause riots, even both.(And this is in all seriousness. I am NOT kidding)
 The support that cricket gets is WAY ahead of any other sport that India plays, including our national game(Hockey). There have been instances where in more than 80 million viewers have seen a single match, check Wikipedia.

I watched cricket when I was younger, Mom and Dad were huge fans, and it was pretty much a rule to be updated on every India related match. As I grew older I got tired of watching 6 to 8 hours of what primarily encompassed 3 men running on a rectangular strip, while the other 10 were standing around waiting for the previously mentioned action to happen. I am still updated on most tournaments, primarily because I'm passed on these valuable pieces of information by friends.

But yesterday was very different. The 4 friends I was with were all pretty much cricket addicts.

I arrived at Ajinkya's apartment at 1800hrs,(the match started at 1430hrs). As Pakistan's turn to bat came up, there were a total of 13 people in a room that could just about hold a queen size bed(these were 3 independent groups of people, most of us didn't even know half of the other faces).

The match itself was pretty slow. I shouted and booed at the screen along with everyone else. I still felt it was over-hyped, but it seemed like it could be a pretty close match so I was curious enough to watch on. By about 10 we decided on dinner, and by then I started feeling some of the curiosity giving way to the excitement that Ajinkya mentioned.

We decided to eat at the nearest McDonalds.(Any places without a TV were already closed.) It was here that I actually felt excited about the match, pretty much everyone in the building was staring at the screen, some didn't even feel the need to order food.
By the last over it was pretty much guaranteed that India was about to win. And by the end everyone was screaming for the heck of it They didn't care if Pakistan was scoring runs, getting out or just whining around.

For a reference of what was going on here are pics of the last 3 balls.(This was before the ball was bowled)
3rd last

2nd last
And finally
Wasn't able to take a picture of the post match celebrations cause the chaos pretty much guaranteed any pics taken to be a blur of color.

After this we decided to drive around for about an hour screaming at anyone we found outside. There were fireworks exploding on the streets, traffic jams and shirtless people dancing around and blocking traffic(some of the drivers who were blocked off actually got out of the car and joined in the celebrations.)
The first place we stopped

That's one of the fireworks if it's hard to see

This stretched out pretty far
There were atleast 2 drums anywhere we stopped

Policemen were sent out to control the traffic and the crowd, witnessed a few lathi charges(riot control). Biman and Kaushyk(one of the friends) were low on petrol so we decided to stop by a petrol station, the stupidity of which is obvious in the picture below. They decided to stay over at a friends place close by.
And the number of people INCREASED after we came

Ajinkya and I headed back to his place, got stuck in traffic for another hour, but time passed on as we screamed at pretty much anyone we looked at.(and joined in with anyone who did the same)

We saw this for about an hour
Then of course, this made up for it
We finally got back, talked for awhile and slept off. This was the first time I saw madness to this degree, and enjoyed it to the fullest.

I guess Ajinkya's right, the purpose of watching a match is just to feel the infectious excitement.
I guess it's true for any sport. Maybe it's just something within the human psyche. We've always been social creatures, maybe the thought that about 50 million other people are doing exactly what you're doing at that very moment, is much more comforting than any sense of logic or intelligence.

Am I devout fan of cricket now? Definitely not. Possibly never will be till they introduce a few tigers and provide the players with spears instead of wooden bats(...Or chuck, guess wooden bats are effective enough)
But will I join anyone who invites me to watch a match with them? Without a doubt.

Guess the only thing left is to watch the world cup finals between India and Sri Lanka(Lets hope we can actually win something that the whole country wanted for about.)

And try to not have nightmares about this...


  1. Ha, I love when sporting events have this much affect on a nation :) I, unfortunately, have NEVER seen a cricket match (only in films and stuff). Here in the US, people get obsessed over many types of sports. Right now, college basketball is big... Football and baseball are the biggest sports here, but of course, it depends where you are in the country :)

  2. watching in a group is always fun! like u said... even people who hate the game can't help cheering along with the others!

    I've always been a cricket fan though... and that crowd looks crazyyy!


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