It’s been over a month now since that memorable Saturday evening. The 2nd of April will now take its place as the most important date in Indian cricket displacing the 28-year reign of June 25th. For me, personally, it was the greatest moment of my life. It gave me joy that I had never felt before. Before I go further, I would like to dedicate this victory to two people:
1) Sachin Tendulkar – The person who has inspired me the most in my life. The entire team rightfully dedicated the WC to him but as one of his true fans, I would once again like to do the same. We won it for you, Sachin! There wasn’t nothing much left for you to achieve but this is one cup we wanted to see you lift. A loss wouldn’t have reduced you in my eyes in anyway but the win just makes the world so much more perfect.
2) The cricket fan – The cup may belong to all the people in
a. that fan who stood for hours in the sun to buy a ticket for any test-match/ODI
b. that fan who never gave-up on his team when they were eight down and needed 52 off 34 balls.
c. that fan who did not say “This team is a bunch of losers” just because it was the fashionable thing to say
d. that fan who defended Sachin resolutely when some half-baked guy said random stuff about him not winning enough matches for
e. that fan who woke up at unearthly hours to catch live action of a test match.
f. that Indian who never gave up on
I have always loved cricket because it excites me in a way no other sport does. But on April 2nd, I actually felt what we have all known all along – that cricket is more than just a sport. On the streets, there was a celebration like never before. Everyone met on the street was greeted like a long lost friend. For once, the marathis and the Punjabis and the tamilians were gone - there were only Indians.
Now, as the dust settles and we return to our corrupt politicians, desperate news channels and an ordinary IPL, I have a small request for all of you. Most of us lead routine lives which could do with a little more inspiration. I hope all of us could rejig our thoughts once in a while to the night of 2nd April and derive hope and energy from that to do something better –it could be standing behind Anna Hazare or it could be starting that fitness regime you have been putting off – something that will make you better than what you are. Think about it!
4 Places I Have Lived
Chennai – The place where I was born and brought up. School, College, Beach, Satyam Cinemas, Cricket and Friends – Too many wonderful memories for any other place to even come close. Will most probably be the place I settle down as well.
Mumbai – A city abuzz with life 24*7. A city that gave me a perspective of people and the world outside. A city I will never willingly settle down in but nevertheless, one of my favorites.
Indore – A wonderful two years in the hilltop. I have written entire posts on it so no further rambling on the same.
Coimbatore – My home for over a year now, this sleepy town is an absolute rocker. A brilliant weather means I hardly get out of bed before 9 on most days :) Surrounded by Hills on one side and the lush greens of Pollachi on the other, the travels have been such a delight. If it wasn’t for the completely barren social life, this place would have ranked higher.
4 Favorite TV Shows
Neeya Naana? – While everyone is busy making people either cry, sing or dance, this one stands out from the pack. Modeled on group debate format, the anchor takes you brilliantly through two sides of important social and personal issues every week. Currently the best show on TV if you know Tamil.
F.R.I.E.N.D.S – Had heard so much about it before I actually saw it but this was one show that lived up to its billing.
24 – First season was terrific. Has gotten slower and predictable in the next two. Hopefully will pick up in four which Iam yet to start.
Seinfeld/ How I met your Mother – Well, it was a tough call; so I chose both. Seinfeld continues to amaze me with its simplicity while Barney, Ted and Robin make HIMYM irresistible.
4 Vacation Spots
Shimla and Manali – Awesome!
Kerala – Only been there once but it’s simply beautiful. Should explore more sometime!
Pondicherry – Ideal for a one-day round trip.
Paris – The one place I dream of going someday!
4 Favorite Foods
Ghee Roast, Pongal, home cooked (Sambar Rice +Alu Podi Curry) and Rasagulla
4 Daily Websites
Gmail, Cricinfo, Google Reader and Facebook
4 Places I’d Rather Be
4 Things to Do Before I Die
Watch India win 50 over WC (if possible at the stadium)
Learn to ride a bike :)
To be a job creator for at least 100 people
Be a cricket commentator (atleast briefly)
4 Books I Wish I Was Reading For The First Time
Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less
Kane and Abel
Vyasar Virundu (Vysar’s Version of Mahabharata)
The “Blandings” series
4 Movies I Can Watch Again & Again
Mouna Raagam, Anbe Sivam, Minnale and Indian
4 people I believe (or hope) will respond to this tag
Just didnt want the blog to become inactive again. So reproducing an earlier post I wrote as a guest blogger for Mrunal's new blog.
Cricket versus T20
Along with over-arm bowling, Kerry Packer and the third umpire, T20 will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the few things that changed the game forever. Like all those changes, the impact of T20 was not immediate – Two years and an Indian win in the inaugural World cup was what it took to capture India’s, and thus, the cricketing world’s, imagination. Smartly, Lalit Modi & Co stepped in. A few cash-rich corporates, some of the world’s best players, a borrowed concept and a booming economy (on second thoughts, just a growing economy) took care of the rest. No one even remembers poor Subash Chandra now.
Well, with IPL2 ready to rock South African audiences and Indian televisions, I thought about why IPL1 didn’t fascinate me as much as it should have. Surely, if not for all the glitz and glamour, atleast the big names and the cricket on display should have had me. First and foremost, I guess it was the city-based teams’ concept. I really didn’t feel that passionate about supporting my city, or any city for that matter. And when Mathew Hayden, Joginder Sharma and Andy Morkel turn out for Chennai SuperKings, whatever little you felt is also gone. On the other hand, when Team India is playing, it’s a totally different ball game. The ecstasy that an Indian win brings is truly unmatched and so is the disappointment at a narrow loss.
The second thing that doesn’t work for me is the whole T20 concept itself. Sure, it gets over in three hours and fits television audiences perfectly but for a serious cricket fan, the cricket on view is not as pleasing as Test or one-day cricket. I remember seeing the inaugural T20 WC and truth be told, I fell for it. What nail-biting excitement it provided and of course, India kept winning. Two years on, the format has not evolved as much as it should have with the result that we keep seeing batsmen trying to hit every ball for a six. Swing and seam are gone; Flight and loop have been forgotten and it’s all about getting the Yorker length.
There is no doubt that T20 has given an exciting twist to the gentleman’s game. As Richie Benaud famously remarked “Test cricket is what parents take their kids to and T20 is what kids bring their parents to” (or some such thing). It has got a whole new generation of people hooked onto cricket. It has got more money into the game and for a cash-strapped ICC, it’s a huge opportunity. But let this opportunity not lead us to the demise of the game. Let it not turn cricket into some fast-paced action thriller where power and purpose take control over skill and strategy. The Dhonis and Gambhirs of today were brought up on Sachin’s Sharjah-like innings. Let Yuvaraj’s six sixes in an over not be the role model for tomorrow’s cricketing princes. Let T20 be what it is - the fun-filled, relaxed form of the game.
It’s a tribute to the game that Test cricket is still considered the pinnacle by its players and fans. And it’s a tribute to its administrators that they have maintained the balance between all the three formats. Undoubtedly, the big challenge will be to sustain the same in the coming years. Let’s maintain IPL as what it is – a cleverly packaged entertainment show with cricket as its anchor. Let it stay as the format where Buchnan tries out his multi-captaincy theories and Modi his time-out commercials. But let’s not take it beyond that.