Twenty20

 

Cricket on the Beach

You would have hardly ever seen a post related to Cricket, on this blog. (There is one, but then I have recently been accused of being most likely to link to my own posts, so I shall refrain. Update: I have been corrected about this accusation. I meant to link to this post about Sachin’s Century) I gave up on Cricket a long time ago. I saw Vinod Kambli crying (tears and all) during a World Cup, where the audience did some mischief and India was out of the World Cup. I don’t even remember the year. Frankly, I don’t remember the details. The entire concept of cricket, since then, was like diced summer fruits in a blender at top speed.

I gave up.

On cricket, i.e., not on the ‘concept’ of an Indian team.

The joy of having an India Team win a match, hasn’t lost any shred of emotion since when I shouted at the top of my voice when Kapil Dev took a wicket (yes, I am that old).

Monday, 24 September 2007 was unusually rare. I was sitting with a few hundred people in a mall in nearly-central Mumbai watching the final of the Twenty20 World Cup. There were multiple screens and I sat through the twenty overs that India bowled.

It was an amazing match. Stuff that cricket is made of, stuff that an India-Pakistan match should offer. Tension Galore!

Yet, the first World Cup of the Twenty20 (it is the first one, isn’t it)? failed to rekindle the lost love — though all the ingredients were right. Except one.

Did you see the ball to which the last Pakistani batsman got out — did you see the stroke? (Sorry, I am out of cricket vocabulary here — it wasn’t a ’stroke’.) What did you make of it? I have seen some cricket in my life, so don’t get me wrong. I have tried to win matches, so don’t get me wrong. Somehow, the last ball that he played, didn’t seem like cricket.

I completely understand the need for Cricket to become an international and a popular game, lot of money and opportunity there — a capitalist at heart won’t misunderstand that.

Did you see that last ball?

All sporting strokes from Tennis to Discus Throw came into it at the same time. I frankly don’t care that the last Pakistani batsman got out and India won the match — did you see the last ball?

Did you see how it was played?

On my way back from the mall, I saw processions — a day before the Ganpati processions — all celebrating the victory in the World Cup. I was elated, my team had won the World Cup. I could see the infectious sound of victory permeating my pores, yet somewhere the resistance held strong.

If it is only about winning, there are a million ways to do that, I have known and seen this in life. You can do that without violating the rules of the game. Most sport that we play and watch has an element of grace. But wining and keeping the sponsors happy is a different game with different rules. Assuming that the last ball hadn’t been caught, assume that Pakistan would have won the match. Would that last ball have stuck in memory or would the kiss of the World Cup been the retention?

Call me a purist, old-school or what you may. Maybe your argument will be about the batsman being on the lower order. I don’t really give a damn. I support changing the format of a game for a good reason.

I do not believe, however, that that gives you a license to change the way you play the game.

PS: The last over of the match here.

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14 thoughts on “Twenty20

  1. The last ball. Had it gone over the boundary, it would’ve been an entirely different tale. And I felt Shoaib Malik’s comments during the presentation ceremony not to be in good taste.

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  2. wrote out a long comment in the morning and something went wrong with the server.

    really appreciate that guys misbah – he stood through it all. harsha was saying in the end, had there been a bowl out – he’d have wanted to have a go with the ball too.

    @ stroke and all that – big deal ! i mean, our puritanic views are surely bound to change as time goes by. even the new format, which is hardly spoken about – is pretty hot in SA, why even in England.

    soumya has already mentioned shoaib’s comment. for fear of being branded a fundamentalist, i’d rather not comment 😉

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  3. arrey baba – when he came up to talk to ravi shastri as part of the ceremony – the first sentence he uttered was something like, “i’d like to thank the muslims all over the world”…or some such thing.

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  4. i absolutely agree with u… it was anyones match. but that doesnt refrain me from celebrating… rare moment that!
    we must stop questioning a few things and relish!when we begin to analyse too much… we cant enjoy things…right?

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  5. ==Dharma:
    Tx 🙂 Less said better

    ==Nisha
    To each his (her) own. 🙂 I’ll stick to the grace of the game (if I ever do watch cricket)

    Frankly, I doubt if this is about analysis – for me it just doesn’t seem right. But I agree, if it’s possible to enjoy the new format, why not!

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  6. And that is all I said about this post. Almost a shame. I didn’t watch the game. I don’t know what exactly you are referring to. But I can relate to the feeling. Cricket and for that purpose, Indian sports for whatever it is worth, has lost it’s charm on me.

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