I have tried, over the past few weeks, to enter the mind of an Indian cricket fan. This is not easy for me because I am not a cricket fanatic or even a fan even. I watch it sometimes, but most often I find it a fabulous sleeping pill. Even worse, in spite of reading and enjoying the works of Neville Cardus and CLR James, I find that the IPL version of cricket is the most thrilling to watch. This clearly establishes me as a philistine female who cannot appreciate the nuances of a glorious game. Guilty as charged, I hang my head in shame. In my favour, I can only redeem myself by stating that I dislike Bollywood, badly dressed cheerleaders and those strange “agricultural” non-classical shots. With this half-knowledge of cricket but some serious research on meaningful exchanges of human discourse like Twitter and Facebook, I have analysed the cricket fan and come up the 10 points that make their lives so difficult, sometimes apparently unbearable. Their lives are full of dilemmas and contradictions as they move from match to match, player to player and era to era. Their pain is palpable and is very moving.
1. The selectors of the Indian cricket team:
They are the root cause of all our problems. They always pick well-known players and never the unknown genius from our home town, the one who made a quadruple century in the inter-building cricket contest.
Selectors are also known to take advice from such diverse and disinterested people like the captain of the team, the manager, physio and their wives and girlfriends. In fact, they ask everyone except those who really matter: Us.
2. The players:
All players should be under 24. Some players should have lots of experience. All players should have played in IPL. All IPL players are greedy and should not be selected. Players who go to parties should be out. Players who don’t go to parties should be out. Players with wives. Without wives. Who the captain likes. Who the captain doesn’t like. And yes, the boy from my home town with a quadruple century in the inter-building contest.
3. Who does what?
We need a team full of batters. We need a team full of bowlers. We need more specialists. We need less. We are only agreed on one thing: we need fielders. And yes, the boy from my home town…
Most umpires are useless and biased and we keep losing because of them and their wrong decisions but we are absolutely opposed to any electronic assistance.
5. MS Dhoni:
He is the greatest Indian cricket captain ever. He is not.
6. Sachin Tendulkar:
He must retire. He must not. He must go out with a bang. He must not. He is the greatest. He is not…
7. The BCCI:
This organisation is the reason for all our problems like poverty, malnutrition, lack of sanitation and health care. It does nothing right except for making lots of money. We can’t buy the argument that cricket is more successful than other sports. What’s BCCI doing about hockey, kabaddi, table tennis and all those other sports that we never watch anyway?
8. The pitch:
These 22 yards are very dull to look at. And experts keep talking about them. On television you can’t really see it except when some expert is boring on and the camera shows you some bit of cracked earth. Yawn…
9. Domestic cricket:
What we must pretend to be interested in… zzzz
10. Other teams:
These are the main cause for India’s losses in cricket. The need for them has still not been fully explained by BCCI, selectors, experts, umpires and so on. If there were no other teams, India would be the number one Test, One-Day and Twenty-20 cricketing nation in the world. Yaaaay!
Ranjona Banerji is a senior journalist. You can follow her on twitter @ranjona