Falling out of love

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March 29th, 2011 Aabhas Sharma

In the last one month or so I have been called a snob, a loser, a pseudo, and even unpatriotic. Why? Only because I have not been watching the cricket World Cup, and when I mean not watching, I mean my cumulative watching time has been less than 60 minutes.

Like millions of Indians, I was a die-hard cricket fan too. I used to pester my father to take me to cricket matches and then travel in second class compartment of a train, stand in queues for hours to get in the stadium just to watch India play. I have even travelled a good 250 kilometres just to watch Jonty Rhodes field. I went for a South Africa vs Australia match just because I wanted to see Rhodes live in action. I used to love the buzz one gets in a cricket stadium. Thousands of fans going delirious when Sachin used to hit his trademark straight drive used to be a conversation point for weeks. That one shot used to be worth all the pain one took to get inside the stadium.And trust me, it was a lot of pain.

Now, on the eve of what is being called the biggest match-ups of all time, I find myself avoiding newspapers, TV channels, radio stations  as they are talking about just one thing – India vs Pakistan. It’s been four years since I lost interest in cricket and became totally indifferent towards the Indian cricket team and the sport. Friends who have seen my passion diminish understood my apathy but in the last one month, even they have been shocked to see my attitude towards the sport.

For the last few years, I have seen the face of cricket completely change. Now you will say that it’s the same game with a few tweaks here and there. But from where I see, it’s a different sport. Let me start with the pitches. Every pitch in the 90s had a character. Be it Durban, Perth or Motera, they stood for something. Now reading about the ease with batsmen notch up hundreds and double hundreds and bowlers take fivers, I just wonder what the people running the sport think. It’s true that batsmen draw crowds but I have had long chats with friends who lament at the quality of pitches and how it is slowly killing the sport. There is nothing more intriguing in world sport more than watching a fast bowler giving it his all on a pitch that has something in it against a world class batsman. I think that is a very, very rare occurrence these days.

Then came the Indian Premier League. The “baap” of all entertainment is what I think the promoters call it. And that’s when calamity struck in my life as far as watching cricket was concerned. I don’t watch sports for instant gratification but the IPL was, or rather is all about that. The razzmatazz, sixes becoming “maximums”, maiden overs column being replaced with dot balls and fans changing teams faster than they change clothes is not my idea of cricket. It never has been and it never will be.

Maybe I was spoilt cricket fan, having seen some of the greatest names ply their trade week in and week out, you are bound to find the current crop quite mediocre. Not that mediocre cricketers didn’t exist in the late 80s and the 90s. For every Lara, there was a Jimmy Adams. For every Waugh, there was a Prasad. But do we have a Lara or Akram or Ambrose now? People say you are being unfair comparing the modern-day cricketers with some of the all-time greats. But why shouldn’t I do that as that is obviously my reference point.

Having been such an important part of life for so long, I have made efforts to try watching cricket again. But it just didn’t happen. People often ask me, how can you want India to lose? And I always say I don’t want them to lose as them winning or losing a game won’t make a difference to my life. It’s very difficult to fall in love with a sports team or a player as people who are die-hard fans will tell you. But as I have found out, it’s very easy to fall out of love with a sport. The hard part, however, is trying to explain people that it happens. Even if you were in love for over two decades.

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One Response to “Falling out of love”

  1. jubilee cardozo Says:

    Hi Aabhas……I enjoyed reading your blog because I too have been going through a similar phase…..I used to be a die-hard cricket fan some ten years back but now just the mention of cricket and cricketers irritates me….i used to be a big big fan of sanjay manjrekar and waqar younis but have ‘fallen out of love’ for them……i have my own reasons for this but like i mentioned before, we both face a similar situation and that’s why i liked your blog a lot……i have written something similar in my blog as well………… :)


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