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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cricket - a game wrongly described as gentlemanly, lorded over by boards with deep pockets and infested with bookies, fixers and other assorted shady characters.
Cricket 'World' Cup - A one-and-a-half month long frenzy that grips the 6 nations in the world, who have debatable levels of competence in the game, every once in 4 years.

Football is the beautiful game. In all its savagery, with all its pace and skill and guile, it is the real team game. It is played by over 130 nations in the world. Cricket, on the other hand, is barely played by a handful of nations. And some of them are so dismal at it, that a bunch of blindfolded neighborhood youths could probably give them a run for their money.

O Football, I love you. I worship you.

But today, I have a confession to make.

I am an adulterer. In public, I have denounced cricket, subscribing to the above mentioned definitions and many others. However, behind closed doors, I have had secret flings with my mistress. I've enjoyed brief sojourns in her company and savoured moments that are different from anything you have been able to provide. During Sachin's Sharjah blitzkrieg against the Aussies, during Sourav Ganguly's epic removing-the-jersey-and-waving at Lords, during Laxman's epic innings in 2001, and lots more, I've been there. Kumble, spinning out 10 Pakistanis. Sachin Tendulkar reaching 200 runs in a match. All these are moments, I've been proud to witness.

I cried with Kambli in 1996. I cried for what could have been. I was shattered when Cronje died. I feel the emotion of each legend of the game, as he hangs up his boots. Perhaps, if not for Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, cricketers like Ponting, Murali, Lara and Warne would be ranked as cricket immortals of this era. But, the stature of the man is so great that he makes them look merely mortal, as he gazes down from his elevated pedestal.

I'm still crying as I type this out. The images of an emotional Yuvraj saying he wanted to win it for Sachin are images I will carry to my grave. Sachin Tendulkar, befittingly wrapped in the Indian tricolour given a lap of honour around the Wankhede Stadium, by his proud team mates. The great man, as humble as ever, lauding his team mates for sticking together and winning it.

I don't care if the cup doesn't come India's way in the next 28 years or even after that. I think it's a stage of nirvana that I have attained.

In fact, I'm so delighted right now, that I could possibly listen to a full hour of Ravi Shastri's commentary without grimacing even once.

Thank you, Team India.

Updated definitions:
Cricket - One Religion to rule them all, One Religion to find them, One Religion to bring them all and with its brilliance bind them.

Cricket World Cup - The Cup of Life. A ruby in the crown of THE greatest cricketer in contemporary cricket. Sachin. Ramesh. Tendulkar.

P.S. I was kidding about the Ravi Shastri bit.



V Rakesh said...

There cannot be a game more electric and full of passion than football, but that Team India managed to make the world cup theirs this time around, is certainly commendable!

I can relate to this post very well!

Tangerine said...

India is a cricket loving nation and there is a cricket lover in each one of us ;)

cheers for the worldcup!

Priyanka said...

That brought goosebumps! Wonderful post, I tell you...

I literally bled blue myself... Cricket is truly religion.

And the best part about winning the WC (at least for me)?? 2 April 2011 was my 21st birthday :)