The secret of Indian cricket

Written by: Vineesh Krishnan
Published: Saturday, October 9, 2004, 12:06 [IST]
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What made cricket such a success in India? Indian cricket team goes through bad patches every season. The latest example being the present Indian team. Even after it lost four One-day tournaments in a row, it attracted 308 million dollars in telecast rights. What is the secret?

Indian fans are a persistent lot. Basus in Kolkata and Nairs in Cochin will continue to watch the match even if India concede a 450 run lead in the first innings, fervently hoping for an Irfan Pathan hat-trick in the first over.

Yes, the glue that sticks Indians to cricket is hope. They will wait forever for that fairy tale cricket match when all greats of the Indian cricket will fire together and demolish the opposition.

The priests of the cricket God give them dreams. Once India wins two or three matches against Pakistan or Australia, the ink and sound bytes flow. They will proclaim India the second best, or best team in the world as per the quality of opposition they managed to scrap past.

What will happen if India start winning matches like Australia do? What if they are consistent and perform like machines, just as Aussies do now?

I fear then cricket will loss its charm for the Indian fan. No doubt, they like to see India win. But, if India start winning every match, what will be there to hope for?

If Indian cricketers become ice hearted like the Aussies and don't sport the sweat drenched look under pressure and drooped faces in defeats, how can the average fan think of the players as his own?

How can they then bad mouth the reigning captain and gain the satisfaction of giving expert opinion? When India has a captain, who can be called Mr Ice, I am sure fans will stop talking about him. That means he will be off their radar and what is the value of an Indian captain if he does not exist in public memory.

How can they then curse the hour-long traffic jam on a day/night match day on return from office while hoping that India will chase the 300 plus target they allowed the opposition to make? If India emerge the number one team, there would be nothing to hope for because they would have either got the opposition out cheaply or rattled up a huge score. Then the fan would have the peace of mind to visit the pub of his choice and reach home in time to catch the Indian captain's victory speech.

If an Indian win is no more a surprise, hope, the magic glue that unites the billion plus Indian cricket fans, will cease to exist.

Indians, as a nation survives on hope. They brush aside the perils of today hoping for a better tomorrow. If Indian cricket sets itself apart by consistent success, it will loss its parallels with the Indian life, which is its charm.

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