Letter of the Day
March 12, 2003
Expectations never end for an Indian fan
"We should beat the New Zealanders and teach them a lesson. The pitches during the tour were too much. Otherwise we wouldn't have lost at all."
"It was Rain that forced the Indian captain to share the trophy. Otherwise we were clear winners of the Knock-out tournament. This time, there is no escape for Sri Lankans in the World Cup."
"Australians? They always beat us in leagues and lose in the final."
These are not the words from the mouth of Harsha Bhogle or Sunny Gavaskar, but our very own cricket fans. Never underestimate them or consider them insignificant; given a chance they might outclass any of the melodramatic characters sitting on Set-MAX channel. The habit of giving big and bigger reasons to cover up their own expectations!! Sometimes they are highly unrealistic and irrational.
A gentleman said, "Cricket is followed as a religion, not as a game in India." Well said. Of course, cricket is a religion in India and cricketers are indeed idolized as Gods. An India win is celebrated like Diwali or any other major festival, with the bursting of crackers, the bowlers, batsmen praised for their every single act, people partying around and everything that can be exhibited with enthusiasm. The next day after a victory, everyone is motivated to do their best, let it be an office, college or a school.
But a defeat does bring the worst out of an Indian cricket fan. He can never accept a defeat and takes it to his heart. Sometimes it crosses the threshold and goes to an extent of throwing stones at the opponents on the ground, painting the players' houses with black paint, burning our very own 'Gods' effigies and what not! Of course, we are so passionate about our religion that even gods are not forgiven.
A cricket match is often considered as a movie where the hero always emerges the winner, and not as a game. If the hero fails, the press writes off every player as a big hype. Adjectives like "no real commitment", "no right attitude", "no team spirit" are often used against them. "No footwork", "Very poor line & length", "poor fielding" are some of the technical deficiences that our very own versions of Harsha and Geoffrey comment after watching a cricket match on TV. The heroes turn out to be villains in few hours.
We often forget that the game is played at the highest level involving very talented professionals. Every Indian cricketer has competed with 1 billion people before he reached that acme of representing his country. We don't have to teach him how play a rising delivery or bowl reverse swing. We forget the beauty of a woderful innings in one of the most crucial matches, but do pass on a comment saying: "He should have scored his 35th century." Everytime a player goes to the field, he is expected to score a century or take bunch of wickets.
Not many of us do remember the exact percentage we scored in our graduation, but we do say the stike rate, average and every other statistic of our cricketers. Everyone has an "off" day in their offices. Even an Indian cricket team. Let's give them a break when they fail to do. Cricket is a game and let's follow it as a game. But, not as a religion and expect our demi gods to deliver everytime. There is a big difference between being a fanatic and a fan. Let's not be over enthusiatic when there is a victory or be over reactive when there is a loss !!