By Venkatesh Raghavan*
For the first time in years Indians are living without any happenings in the cricket arena be it domestic or international. By the third week of March it became clear that there will not be any IPL matches this season. As days passed, it became clear that T-20 World cup too will not be happening any time soon. For a change instead of discussing the Corona outbreak and its aftermath in terms of economy and health, I decided to seek reaction from cricket lovers in the city who are sure missing their regular dose of this game be it gully cricket or Ranji Trophy, IPL or World Cup matches.
Vikas Mistry, a businessman who earlier operated as a sub broker for the Bombay Stock Exchange and is also operating several movie theatres in the two satellite towns sounded a melancholy note on the lack of cricketing activity globally. “I remember the times when April arrived the IPL fever used to be on a high pitch. “It used to be fun watching the games till 10.30 p.m. I used to especially exciting when Mumbai Indians were out to play a visiting team at the Wankhede Stadium. On some occasions, when our kids insisted, we used to visit the venue and stay till the match got over. Now all that looks like a midsummer night’s dream. Hope things get normal on the cricketing front. It will at least provide something to look forward to during these grim times.”
There was the brighter side when Kannan Srinivasan, a doctorate in Chemistry who keeps shuttling between India and the United States, compiled a video of all the final deliveries of the World Cup finals between 1975 and 2015. He felt that the lull in cricketing action gives him time to go down memory lane and savour the delights and momentous occasion in the world of cricket. His favourite final was Mahendra Singh Dhoni hitting a huge six to score the winning runs against Sri Lanka in the 2011. The reason for this partly being this win was much more emphatic than the 1983 victory over the mighty West Indies by a margin of 43 runs.
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Then there are others who browse Youtube for catching glorious moments for Indian cricket. The favourite among the clippings that were relished was Sachin Tendulkar versus Sohaib Akhtar in the 2003 World Cup in Australia. Sachin’s attacking knock also included a life when he was on 30. A old friend of mine who was at that point of time watching the match together with friends from India and Pakistan in the US described how supporters of their respective teams used to cheer and groan at the turning tides that punctuated the fate of the match.
While cricketing fans mourned for want of their fair share of entertainment, there were a few who felt it was a blessing in disguise that will take the cricket-crazy country into more serious and worthwhile pursuits. Agrim Shah who loves sports says, “I enjoy watching football. Unfortunately, in this country it is difficult to popularize other sports. We need to emerge out from cricket mania and turn towards becoming a truly sporting country.”
*The writer is a Mumbai-based journalist and novelist. He is the author of bestseller thriller, Operation Drug Mafia (Times Group Books). The views expressed are his own.