Monday, December 26, 2011

BEING A CRICKET FAN IN INDIA: It is not easy to find a cricket fan in India. In a country obsessed with cricket this statement feels rather contradictory but the bitter truth is - India is obsessed with Indian cricket not cricket in general. In Comparison a football fan in India would watch any form of football. You may argue that it is because Indian football team is ranked 162nd in the world and what little they play doesn’t make for compelling viewing experience either.
Agreed the argument does pale in comparison with the hysteria associated with cricket in India but are they true fans of the game? Are they willing to travel miles together and watch a Ranji Trophy match? Given the overall population of fanatic Indian Cricket fans, the ones who take the effort to do this are miniscule when compared to the “Fans” who flock to see an IPL match.
The biggest concern for a true cricket fan is not whether the so called God can get his 100th 100 but our performance in the Test Arena or should I say the future survival strategies that we need to adopt to avoid embarrassments. With the Big Three about to retire from the longer format of the game coupled with the slow death of enthusiastic fan following for it, the true fans of cricket in India will face a drought of quality cricket for a few years to come.
The “Indian Cricket fans” however, do not have to worry about such silly predicaments, as India will still win at home even in Test matches thanks to the tracks that will help even a part-time spinner pick up enough wickets to make him delusional enough to call himself an all rounder. The Big Carnival called IPL is only going get bigger; I suspect they will add a few landmines to make things more interesting.
So the question is why do people in India act the way they do if they don’t truly respect the game for what it is? The Answer is much simpler than one suspects. Indians like math, this is one of the reasons why we watch cricket. We are obsessed with batting averages, strike rates, and of course the much talked about 100th hundred, because that makes 10000 runs in centuries. The guy who is about to achieve this magnanimous feat is an Indian and this does play into it a little bit. If an Aussie or a Brit was to achieve this it would make little impact in the Indian Cricket obsessed media.
One thing that puts a smile on the faces of true cricket fans is the revival of good cricket in the past few years. The overall standard of the game has risen after the lull that was created in the international circuit after the retirements of great cricketers, especially the ones from the Australian team. This revival is very promising. The questions that loom large over the younger generation of Indian Players will be answered very soon and we will know whether they can stand the test of time like the current senior players.

However, it doesn’t take an expert to gauge the temperament of the real cricket fans in India, who even after the thumping victory by the Indian Cricket team in the biggest stage of them all had a melancholy smile as they knew the road ahead was laden with thorns. And this indeed was proven right, ever so succinctly by the same team in the England series. With the Australia tour coming up one can hope that this entire article will be rubbished by a thumping victory by the young Indian team in turn transforming the real cricket fans into becoming Indian Cricket fans.

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