I am not really a cricket ‘expert’, nor am I a great lover of the game. What I am is a typical Indian cricket fan; someone who watches the game when India is winning, and switches off the TV when India is losing. I am opinionated, brash and passionate when it comes to Indian cricket. So without further ado, here are some of the things that I believe in as a very biased Indian cricket fan.
1. Sachin Tendulkar is God. I don’t care if he’s getting old and gives me butterflies every time he steps out to bat, he’s God and no one can ever change that. So stop talking about his impending retirement before I kill you. He is the reason a billion people watch cricket, and he has been for nearly two decades. He is the reason for their joy and tears and a few bad batting displays cannot change that, ever. Let me emphasize on that a little more: useless, talentless armchair critics should kindly keep their mouths shut when they talk about Sachin, because when they do that, they are lowering the IQ of the entire room. You may say he’s selfish to not give youngsters his place, but he’s more than earned that, so please. The day he retires I’m going to sob like a little girl and I have no shame saying that and I’m sure I wont be alone. Anyone who finds that funny WILL be punched in the face. In fact, I am getting a little teary-eyed just thinking about it.
2. I don’t know why there is suddenly so much love for Ponting. I still hate his guts with every fibre of my body and hope Australia lose the test match against South Africa miserably and he goes out with his head hanging in shame while I laugh at him making his regular Ponting face. Yes, I admit he’s one the best batsman of his generation, but I would really enjoy slapping his face REAL hard. The fact that he is retiring has no effect on what I feel about him. Watching his face after losing to India in the WC 2011 quarter-final made me feel so good, I think it’s illegal. I have no respect for the guy, never will. Oh, and while I’m at it, I would love to take a swing at Greg Chappell. That would give me great pleasure.
3. I love the West Indies because ‘they so cool maan!’. I have always loved watching them play and do crazy, silly stuff on the pitch. Chris Gayle is the most entertaining batsman I have ever seen and Brian Lara is definitely a guy I respect a great deal and loved watching, he was so good. I still remember the ‘Lara, kya hain maara’ ad that used to play in the mid-90s. Does anyone else remember that? When WI won this year’s T20 WC, all of India was celebrating like we had won it ourselves. If India stops playing cricket (yes, I know that will NEVER happen), I would still be watching cricket and rooting for the West Indies. Also, ‘Fire in Babylon’ is one of the most awesome documentaries ever! Watch it now!
4. I hate the IPL. Cricketers don’t seem to care about playing for pride anymore. You can see they don’t really care about winning so long as they are getting fat paychecks for playing a dozen-odd games, and then they just want to party all the time. If these greedy corporate bloodsuckers really want to spend thousands of crores, they should invest it in other sports that could really do with an influx of cash. Cricket is NOT your Swiss bank account where you can deposit all your black money. Stay out of it and stop killing it for us all! Too much of a good thing is truly a bad thing. Never forget sayings. Oh, and I am not even going to discuss the Champions League, because, well, no one really cares about that.
5. An India-Pakistan game is the greatest thing ever because no one asks why you’re not working, studying, or doing anything else because you have the best excuse of them all. “It’s India vs Pakistan!” And then the other person proceeds to join you leaving whatever unimportant work he or she has. And yes, I do NOT like the Pakistani team at all! I can’t help it, I am Indian. But I really wish we had a Waqar Younis and a Wasim Akram. I could never really hate those guys. And Saeed Anwar too. That guy was sheer class, even though all that class came against India. But yes, he was awesome. The rest, I just want to see get humiliated on the pitch. Don’t judge me, you want it too!
6. With the exception of Harsha Bhogle (who’s super awesome), the rest of the Indian commentary team is not anything to write home about! I’m not going to even mince my words here. They are just bad. I used to like Ravi Shashri till I realised he has been saying only 5 things the entire time. No Ravi, cricket is not the winner ALL THE TIME! Sometimes, the winner wins too! Sunil Gavaskar is so shamelessly biased, it makes me cringe. Sanjay Manjrekar, I don’t really know what he says because, well who cares what Manjrekar says. Oh and of course, Navjot Singh Sidhu. How can you not include him when we are talking about commentators? He was good comic relief for while, like the first two minutes he spoke. Then he was just a pain in the backside. Just for the record, ‘The batsman is as uncomfortable as a bum on a porcupine’ is NOT clever! It’s actually disturbing you make this comparison. Did you sit on a porcupine and then go out to bat to compare what was more uncomfortable? And stuff like ‘Wickets are like wives. You never know what to expect from them,’ reeks of trust issues. I think you need to sort things out on the domestic front and then please just talk about cricket. But there’s hope now. Ganguly and Dravid seem to have brought a sense of sanity to the proceedings. Let’s hope that this a sign of things to come.
7. I hate the BCCI. A bunch of petty, power-hungry and greedy men thinking of cricket as a commodity that they can juice every last drop out of really annoys me. Plus their arrogance is really uncalled for. No wonder the rest of the cricketing fraternity hates us. We are bullies and we are really happy about it because we have the most money. But we haven’t realised that we have become what we always hated. The arrogance of the English and Australians is what has angered me the most and that’s why I could never respect them. And we are doing the same thing. So how does that make us any better? Also, DRS is necessary! Sure it may not be perfect, but it’s better than no review system at all. The arm-twisting and the bullying is very annoying and it makes India as a country look bad. It would be better if you used all your power to curb all the regional political nonsense and corruption that goes on in this country in the name of the game. Maybe then we would be truly respected, not just feared for our money. Always remember, what goes around, comes around!
8. It saddens me that we are unable to produce world-class pace bowlers on a consistent basis. This whole spinning pitches fad is not working. We need to worry more about the future than the past. This whole ‘revenge series’ and ‘Angrezon ki baja di’ slogan is not really necessary. How about we just play some good, solid cricket and prove that we are a top-class side rather than trying to turn the whole contest into a lop-sided affair, something which has fallen flat on our faces. I think Dhoni is a brilliant captain, but now he’s more worried about saving his job than actually thinking about the team. With the retirement of the Fab Four, I think we need to evolve. We’ve been ‘tigers at home, scared cats abroad’ for far too long. We need to change our mentality, because after a very long time, we have one of the most competitive Test sides in the world and we need to truly compete.
9. I hate people who say ‘ye match to fixed hain’ whenever India wins. These people should be tied up to poles and be publicly flogged. The angriest I have ever been was when some random gambling addict told me the India-Sri Lanka World Cup final was fixed. It took great self-restraint to not strangle this person. I don’t know about you, but the day India won the Cup was one the greatest days of my life. The soul of a country came to life. For once in my life, I felt like I was part of something. And when some waste of space tells me that was fixed, it makes me very, very angry. I hope the next person who gets a ‘tip’ about a fixed match loses his entire life savings. That’ll teach him. Oh and also, legalise gambling. It’ll just make life a whole lot easier and the government could get in on the action too!
10. We live in a very messed up country. We have religion, the caste system, regionalism and God-only-knows what else that divides this once-beautiful country. Everyone wants to talk about how much better their religion, caste or region is. But when it comes to cricket, everybody just shuts up. Because in cricket, we’re all the same, rooting for the same cause, the same team. For a very brief moment, we all are Indians. It’s a special feeling, something we can truly hold on to. Very few things can make a nation cry with the pain of defeat or weep with the joy of victory. It feels nice to know we at least have one thing that holds us together. Hopefully, that will never change. Because when it comes to cricket, I truly feel proud of being an Indian, even if it’s a fleeting feeling.