Cricket in a few countries and over a few centuries has become very much like religion. Therefore, occasionally in some countries its manifestation too became extreme like ‘religion’. However, that happens only when you don’t understand sports or for that matter religion. Conspicuous symptoms of this disorder are very much present in the Indian sub-continent (more specifically in India and Pakistan). Protests, agitations, chaos, and clashes between various supporters of different teams and violence [after one of the two teams loses] have become common business day by day.
Previously in Haryana, for instance, Kashmiri boys were beaten to pulp by some people when they cheered for Pakistan Cricket Team. In Pakistan, violent-insane supporters of the team, have burnt effigies and resorted to violence many a times when Pakistan team lost a game. This also forced some cricketers to retire a little earlier. Inzmam-ul-Haq, after his retirement affirmed that one of the reasons behind his retirement was the public-reaction (uncivilized & emotional) after they lost a tournament. In Indian administered Poonch too, when Pakistan Cricket Team lost a T-20 world cup, the resultant chaos was handled with gun-fires by police.
\There are indeed innumerable examples of such insanity and madness about cricket in the Indian sub-continent. When I think about these and many other such incidents I recall G. B. Shaw. He perhaps rightly believed, “Cricket is a game played by 11 fools and watched by 11,000 fools”. The only thing that has changed since Shaw’s comment is the ‘numbers’ i.e. the number of players, formats, and spectators following cricket. Rest perhaps remains the truest about cricket.
In spite of my disliking for the game, I always tell my friends that a sport-match is always, either “between” two teams or it is a match of one team “with” the other. So it’s never A “against” B. It is rather “between” A and B or of A “with” B. That’s sports are all about.
The proverb ‘All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy’ seems less true about cricket. The proverb implies that a person becomes boring, dreary and mind numbing if they don’t play (sports). I don’t know of any other game (outdoor) where after five days, one comes to know that no team has won the match. Perhaps this was the reason that cricket was introduced with ‘cheerleaders’ in the 20-20 format. Cheerleaders are the girls who dance to amuse both spectators and the players. Is this the objectification of women or not, I leave it to my esteemed readers.
I wonder why there is so much madness about cricket when it is far costlier and less healthy game which involves less human factor to win or lose. A cricket kit, we all know, is much costlier than that of most of the other out-door games (for instance football). Apart from this, on field, we notice, there is far less exercise of human body while playing cricket. Moreover cricket is a game where a lot depends not on the sportspersons but the outside factors like hardness and surface of pitch, the amount of dew in the air, kind, colour and roughness of balls etc. Fortunately this doesn’t happen with most of the other out-door games. So I wonder what exactly makes cricket the more popular here in the Indian sub-continent. Lack of education seems one of the most important factors to me. With a few exceptions, most of the cricket playing nations belong to the developing realm of nations is quite good an evidence to support this dictum.
However, with time cricket too has been modified. New formats were introduced with new rules and regulation. Perhaps they knew it that how boring, dull, costly and less healthy cricket is. Perhaps they knew that modern fast life allows neither to watch or play result-less cricket for five regular days or for that matter even for one day. Thus, the new format called 20-20 was introduced. But if we keenly observe this format of cricket, it has hardly anything to do with “sports” in the true sense. It is all about noisy-music, dancing girls, auctions, biddings, selling and purchasing. From the above mentioned facts, all that can be said about cricket is that it is a game that takes extra money out of your pocket and extra time out of your life with least returns.
Views expressed by the author are personal. (Photo: Zee News)
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