Sunday, September 26

Neutrality II

It is a feeling the average Indian cricket fan will know little, if at all. (Or that's what I think, though maybe I am being unfair on the lot).
The feeling, that is, of watching a game of cricket that does not involve the Indian cricket team, and has no bearing whatsoever on it's team's fate. As I see it, most cricket fans in India (and I am talking about the population as a whole) will watch the India games. Go over the moon if we win, and turn away in disgust if the team is losing. This is where you see the passion factor, which ensures that cricket is so emotional for people here, (me not excluded). In that surfeit of emotion however, lies the fact that very often the game for its own sake is not appreciated. Or even noticed.

For me, it started of with utter neutrality. When I had seen England beat Australia I wanted England to go all the way. The eternal bridesmaids would have made romantic winners. When Pakistan lost in the semis, I thought too that it would be great for the West Indies to lift the cup. In the end, the Windies win was much the more romantic one. The baggage they've carried into this tournament, much like in most tournaments they have played in in the last few years, was so significant that winning despite it made it all the more romantic.
Why, even during the final I swung between supporting the home side and the Calypso artistes; cushioned by large spells of not really caring who won, as such. I followed part of the Windies reply on the radio in the car, and could almost see the English summer crowned by a big trophy. By the time I returned to the telly and saw the two Bs struggling to stay in the match, it looked all but over. But when they had fought back to reach within 50 runs of the target, I knew these guys had to be the ones I would be happiest to see victors. And so it was. The sheer delight, the dancing, the relief, the emotion on all their faces was some sight. I felt good especially for Lara, who has been under some serious (and overdone) fire of late. I hope this win really is, as they have said, a a new beginning.
(If only it were that straightforward).
But lets savour a classic West Indian win, for now.

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