By Karthik Shankar:
The 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup, scheduled to be held in Australia, is just around the corner. This time, the organisers have made sure to interrupt Valentine’s Day plans, not just of the cricketers, but of every cricket-loving couple by scheduling the long awaited faceoff between cricketing rivals India and Pakistan on 15th February.
Strangely, the best document of India’s cricketing history may not be on ESPN’s Cricinfo but Amul’s ad campaigns. From 1966, when the Amul girl mascot was introduced, some of the most potent commentary on politics and sports has come from the brain of Sylvester daCunha whose agency ASP (Advertising, Sales and Promotions) clinched the Amul account. The moppet was designed by Eustace Fernandes who passed away in 2010.
Cricket is Amul’s go-to topic. From commentaries about India’s form to match-fixing controversies and even celebrations of our victories and victors, the sport is a big part of Amul’s catchy and topical ad campaigns.
So enjoy a tiny sliver of Indian cricketing history as depicted by Amul!
1. In one of our proudest moments in post-colonial history, Sunil Gavaskar scored 221 runs against England in a test match in 1979.
2. 1989 was the peak for Sanjay Manjrekar, who inherited his skills from his cricketer father. He scored his first century against West Indies in April and in December decimated Pakistan in a test series by scoring 218.
3. In 1992, possibly inspired by Terminator 2, cricket introduced omniscient technology in the form of the third empire.
4. In 1996, one of those common intersections between cricket and Bollywood occurred when Mohammad Azharuddin married former Miss India Sangeeta Bijlani.
5. In 1999, Jaywant Lele the secretary of BCCI and India’s own Nostradamus was famously overheard by a journalist saying that India would lose 3-0 against Australia. The prediction came to pass through.
6. Even the Master Blaster was not spared by Amul in 2002. We were simultaneously proud of him for being presented a Ferrari by Michael Schumacher and annoyed that the government waived off all the custom duty on it.
7. In 2003, all our country’s sporting hopes were riding on the Cricket World Cup. After being knocked out in the semi-finals in 1999, there was a feverish anticipation and a hope that this squad would perform
8. Poor Parthiv Patel. Just nineteen at the time, his performance in his matches in 2004 left a bitter taste in every cricket lover’s mouth. Butter-fingers would be an apt nickname.
9. In 2007, Greg Chappell resigned as coach of the Indian cricket team after notoriously butt(erring)-ing heads with many players including Sourav Ganguly.
10. In 2008, India had its own version of How I Met Your Mother’s slap bet when Harbajan Singh planted a hard one on Sreesanth’s cheek during an IPL match.
11. India-Pakistan cricket ties were revived in 2012. All the hoopla aside, all it led to was a short ODI series played between December 2012 and January 2013 in India.
12. Amul took a dig at Indian cricket’s selection policies when the extremely consistent Wasim Jaffer was not selected for the test cricket squad in 2013.
13. In 2013, ahead of Sachin Tendulkar’s final cricket match, Tendlya, as Tendulkar was known at the age of fourteen, was commemorated in an ad.
14. India’s current golden child Mahendra Singh Dhoni retired from test cricket in 2014 and Amul raised a toast to the great skipper.
15. Amul illustrated the nightmare scenario that the rich and corrupt like N. Srinivasan usually face, choosing between their sources of power.