Sfx, actually Bush plans to bring bug spray for himself when he watches the crickets play.
Sfx, I once tried to play cricket on my back lawn but couldn’t get white uniforms to fit the little critters.
I was off today and missed the fireworks, which seemed like deja vu after similar move on Wednesday. This has to take a toll on the market so don’t expect any heroes to be stepping to the plate Friday although a slew of data from the U.S. should be dollar supportive. It will be more like a cricket match (passive) than baseball (aggressive). I just added this last part to irk my buddy Sfx.
Just a sample of some of the stuff one hears about at work from people (americans – yes those kind of people) when one talks about cricket. Its not rare – particularly when they walk past the desk and see the 5 year old daughter’s photograph sitting next to that of Sachin T.
Well, as they like to say, its their bad.
The way I see it though, cricket is what captures it all. Coincidentally or otherwise, most of my friends agree.
Cricket – and to a large extent, escapist Bollywood are a big reason India is what it is. But for them – the passion they evoke, the perspective they bring, the feelings they present , the heroes they make and even the time they consume – the poverty and chaos of India would have made war torn Iraq seem like a walk in the park.
Cricket over the years has basically moulded India. Its been the frontrunner of it all. My generation , and by that I mean the men who were boys when I was a boy, grew up appreciating cricket on Radio. Life felt better when there was a 5 am start to listen to the start of an India- Australia test match. That determined search through all the whirrrrrr for a Short Wave station that could get one to listen to a England v West Indies Test Match being played at Lords was worth rushing home from school for. Picking up the latest Sportsweek at the circulating library was pretty close to top of mind every weekend.
And Test Matches were played only in the big cities.
It wasn’t a surprise then that most of the players that made it were from the big cities as well. The role models were all there. As far as the rest of India’s careers were concerned – whatever they might be – , if you wanted to make it , chances are you headed for the cities.
Then came television. And with it came exposure. I could now sit at grandma’s in Mhow and see what the best of the best were like. Bombay still had the opportunities but suddenly one could see the costs and risks associated with its rewards. Kapil Dev from Chandigarh played his first Test match. It was also the first one he saw. Then he combined with a city stalwart called Sunil Gavaskar and won us a One Day game (no radio commentary or tv coverage for those) in Berbice. Then he won us the World Cup.
And India realised that you didn’t have to be city bred to be a champion.
As television grew, so did its reach. Matches were now played in places which were earlier just cities you learnt of either when you took a train. Or for that geography exam. Slowly but surely, the results started showing. More and more cricketers from the smaller towns started making it. The Bombay – Delhi Ranji trophy monopoly started getting questioned.
The role model wasn’t a city superhero. It was one of us…
Slowly but surely, more and more people from the smaller towns and cities started asserting their abilities (for they always had them). The reforms which heralded the new India weren’t all economic wizardry. They were as the finance minister now likes to say , a structural shift. India had started shining. All of it.
With success come expectations. And heartbreak. Victories are celebrated with fervour. And defeats are seen as the end of the world.
There is another problem. Free Speech. Or more correctly, its abuse. As Kartik has mentioned in his post the problem with ODI cricket, especially in India is that it is impossible to rebuild a team because the public does not tolerate reverses.
That too is not limited to cricket. A few years ago, Chandrababu Naidu got “anti incumbency” as his policy of growing a city to generate revenue for the villages was stopped in midflight. Hyderabad’s growth while farmers suffered meant that the India Shining ad campaign was actually viewed by the rural who vote as a satire. Democracy isnt the best recipe for social justice.
Its with that background that I am really keen to see how we react to the massive blow at the World Cup.