Ye India ka cricket hai beedu jeete toh thaat hai par haare…toh waat hai!!
It is often said that India is a cricket crazy country. This is meant as a reference to the passion towards cricket present in the layman of this country. However if one tries to separate himself for a moment from the crowd and take an unbiased view of the pandemonium, one realises that the word ‘crazy’ in this context deserves to be taken literally! Indians take cricket as much more than just a sport and the resulting madness often leaves a bad taste in the mouth of every right thinking person.
It is obvious that for someone to win, someone else has to lose at the same time. The law of averages also makes it obvious that any team or individual will not win all their competitions. After all, we have all heard the clichÃ© ‘to err is human’. The thinking of the Indian cricket fan transcends such obvious reasoning. For him watching his team win is a birthright and anyone who is responsible for the denial of this birthright will meet his ire and how!
The recent ugly episode in this context has been the brawl in a Westindian bar where Indian cricketers were assaulted by angry cricket fans due to their failure to qualify for the semis of the T20 world cup. One does not need to go long back into history to know that this wasn’t a one-off incident with memories of fans attacking the house of skipper MS Dhoni after the 2007 world cup flashing through the mind. Burning of effigies of cricketers on the road after a big defeat is another common practice.
Fickle-mindedness is another attribute that characterises the Indian cricket fan. Players are turned from idols to villains in no time at all. Sensational victories are forgotten due to recent defeats and then defeats are again forgotten due to victories. Sachin Tendulkar might be the GOD of cricket for them today but only a couple of years ago he was booed off the field by his very own Mumbai crowd in the Wankhede stadium! Needless to say he might be booed again and forced to retire soon if he doesn’t keep up his godly performances. During discussions, several attributes found in a player after a commendable performance disappear instantly after a rough patch and are replaced by talks of flawed technique and questions over commitment and attitude. Talks of Sehwag’s awesome hand-eye coordination when he scores a swashbuckling ton give way to his lack of foot movement the moment he gets caught behind early in the next match. One can’t help but remember the famous add in which Sehwag says-“Ye India ka cricket hai beedu jeete toh thaat hai par haare…toh waat hai!!” So true indeed!
Even though their knowledge of cricket is totally limited to what they see and hear on TV, the fans consider themselves no less experts than professional cricketers and coaches! The enthusiasm while making suggestions is such that it seems the fans themselves would take India singlehandedly to victory if allowed to play for the team. From how Sehwag should play his cover-drive to how Zaheer should grip the ball to who Dhoni should select in the team-these fans know it all! Well, at least they believe they know it all and could teach a thing or two to the national team players and coaches.
Only a true fan realises that his passion for the sport and for his country should be directed towards supporting the team through its rough patches. The role of fans becomes more important when the team is not doing well than when it is on song. For it is then that these players need the support and backing of their countrymen to get back their lost confidence. Instead of this, isn’t it shameful that we assault them and attack their houses? What we need to realise is that people who play for the national team have worked hard to get there. That hard work has been born out of a desire to represent ones country and they take immense pride in it. Hence the commitment of a player while he is representing his country should never be questioned, for nothing hurts these players more than this. We, the fans also need to realise the fact that these cricketers and coaches are professionals and experts in their field. Their knowledge of the technical and strategical aspects of cricket is incomparable to ours and thus we need to be patient and have faith in their decisions instead of going haywire with our own solutions in a distasteful manner like seen in the media these days.
Like all of us cricketers are human beings and thus bound to make mistakes. Turning them into villains and burning their effigies on roads is shameful and shows a basic lack of civic sense among the citizens of this country. Indians are also guilty of portraying a godlike image of a few cricketers. This is harmful in the longer run because at some point of time the cricketer will fail to live upto this image by the virtue of being human. This initially created hype is the reason behind the adverse reaction that one sees after a poor performance.
By the basic nature of being a fan it is important to have expectations from your team, but it is more important to learn to be calm in the case these expectations are not met. I request all Indian fans to learn to take defeat in their stride with their dignity intact and be a ‘real’ pillar of strength behind their team!
The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz. About to start the second year of BTech course in electrical engineering from IIT-BHU, he believes that versatility is his USP. A footballer and a quiz enthusiast, for him writing is “a way to get your point across and not to show off your vocabulary!”