I wrote this article sometime around October 2021 and shared it with my friends after India lost to New Zealand in the T20 World Cup semifinals. All of our friends were so excited about the game, but it turned out to be a damp squib and India lost. This article was an immediate act of vengeance that was undertaken at the stroke of the midnight hour. Have fun reading it.
Times of Corona, so we all came together virtually on our regular spot of chilling. Our WhatsApp group. The place of many hidden treasures, infinite memes, and overflowing wisdom in every subject under the sun, piling day in and day out on the group. Match day and everyone is ready to cheer for the team. Huge excitement and suspense already being built up leading to the match time by all of us. Everyone’s an expert on the game in their own capacities. After that gruesome and infuriating defeat last week by our favorite arch rivals Pakistan, this was a knockout game for us and the DOA situation to be in the T20 World Cup against the Kiwis, who have specialized in knocking us out in the last 5 ICC tournaments. For the kind of hopeless cricket romantics we all were, the numbers didn’t matter, nor did the statistics. For us, it was a game of emotions, every shot over the rope, every wicket and every spectacular field save brought us euphoria.
All set, Sunday evening, 7.15 pm, and cut to the scene. The much-anticipated toss time came and we lost it, yet again, for the umpteenth number of times. For us, like I said earlier, cricket fanatics, giving zero ducks to stats, who never deserted the team, backed them yet again, hoping for a miraculous fiery start and a pile of runs on the scoreboard. Flat track? Bouncy wicket? Rank turner? or swinging conditions? Come what may, we were confident about our batting line up!
The first surprise of the match- Kishan opened alongside KL Rahul pushing down the Hitman Rohit Sharma. We never really understood the strategy behind this, but yet again, the fanatics in us thought this would work. A cautious start, not many runs, a couple of overs to set the eye and mood. Time to start the bashing now. All set, cut to the scene: Kishan pulls hard and hits the ball right towards the lone man standing on the far onside boundary. What was that?! Gone with the desert wind! We console ourselves looking at Hitman coming next and the very next ball he survives. We thought the desert gods were with us today. The short-lived excitement of a couple of boundaries after that were the only moments of fun we had. KL went to a bs shot. One by one, my dear friends, started the procession. Each one of them came, tried to settle, and went back. Hoping against all the hope, we thought the finishers and tail lenders would do some miracle for us. But nothing happened, and a miserable shitshow from the world’s best ended with a total of 110. I am not even trying to write how the chase went and how we bowled and what weird captaincy decisions to rotate the bowlers were made. All of us watching the proceedings in utter disbelief, kept on showering all the cusses, but nothing seemed to work. It all ended with the “pressure of the fans.”
“If you can’t stay with us in our darkest times, don’t be with us in our glory” and this and that and “be the true civilised fans of the gentlemen’s game.” this and that started. Our boys had freaking lost it by now. You might wonder and ask why all this shit talking, shit writing and shit posting? Why does this even matter? It matters because we invest a hell lot of emotions in the game. For us, being together watching the games isn’t just a sporting event but a festival and memorable moments for celebrations. So it is our right to criticise the players we look up to.
Do you think the massive commercialisation of cricket and the kind of glamour and money the IPL brings with it have gotten to these players? Do you think those huge advertisement deals make them worry about nothing but their looks and attitude off the ground? Are they even serious about the game, as their predecessors were? Those old fellas never saw this kind of glamour, fame, and wealth, but they fought valiantly. The game was everything for them. Should these new guys learn a tad bit of such skills from them? Answers and deliberations for all this later sometimes. Let this be a short and sweet rant.
Well, with defeat and despair, comes a lot of introspection. The pros would do theirs for sure, but this was just a midnight ranting of a hopeless sports fanatic like me for the same people in our WhatsApp group. Come on, guys. Giving y’all something to cheer upon, done with my work, now comes yours. Let the praise begin!