Nothing is bigger than the Game Itself

I tend to think that cricket is the greatest thing that God ever created on earth – certainly greater than sex, although sex isn’t too bad either – Harold Pinter

A new fancy watch –Rs. 2000/-, Dinner at a 5 Star- Rs. 5000/-, a new blackberry pearl – Rs. 15000/-, cheering for India at the cricket stadium with friends and cherishing every moment of it- PRICELESS.

I have developed a new analogy between cricket and an automated teller machine (ATM). Whenever you need are in need of entertainment, cricket is what you can turn to anytime resembling the ATM, which meets the need for cash. The sole difference lies in the fact that the ATM gets exhausted at some point of time and needs to be refilled. On the contrary this amazing game is never short of action or entertainment, to say the least.

The entertainment factor is dominating the world of cricket these days ranging from the introduction of the T20 format in cricket, the cheerleaders, the concept of free-hit, the innovative DRS system, the media coverage and promotion to the sponsoring of a few unique shots played by the cricketers. It’s typically like fast food, which is tasty when you consume it, but the effects show up later. It’s utterly disappointing to see deserted stadiums during a test match plus the fact that cricketers are literally sold for money, these days might not be the correct way of going about things. Yet, I feel that this is what modern day cricket is all about. Irrespective of the fact the cricket, now-a-days, is telecast for almost all of the 365 days, its popularity is hasn’t shown any signs of a downward trend. What is it that has turned people into worshipers over mere fans? Why do they term this game as a religion like “Cricketism” or “Cricketnasha” or even “Sachinism”?
The answer is CRICKET itself. It is a self-defining self-demonstrating term, or rather why merely a term, it’s an entity. CRICKET is self-sufficient self-explicatory.

Edmund Blunden has aptly said that “Cricket to us was more than play; it was a worship in the summer sun.

And yes, cricket does make overnight heroes as well as snatches every bit of glory from an individual. But the best part is that cricket encourages fighters, cricketers who fight for glory, fight for their nation till the last ball, face amazing turn-arounds in the game.

“The best way to get away from a crisis and yet hold on the reins without performance is to find a godfather who would save you at crisis and fool the entire world…This is how it has worked for me”, says one of the best in the business, the legendary Sourav Ganguly. Once you lose hope, cricket won’t spare a thought.

A lot is being speculated about the world cup of late, but what I personally feel is that the world cup winning team isn’t necessarily the best team in the tournament, irrespective of being termed as the “World Champions” and an effective rise in the ICC World Rankings. The presence of sudden death finals makes it a lottery, especially in periods when there isn’t a team that is clearly superior to others (like the West Indies, who won in 1975, 1979 and should have won in 1983) and Australia who won in 1999, 2003 and 2007). In 1987, 1992, 1996 and I suggest in 2011, winning the World Cup will not indicate mastery in Limited Over’s cricket. You might have a very bad day at office, leading to the biggest upset in the cricketing history, but the fact remains the same that you have played wonderful cricket throughout the entire cricketing calendar. The current World Cup format is a recipe for protecting the most lucrative teams until they are pitted in a one-off lottery against each other. Like Hindi films which bet on music, merchandising and endorsements to recover their expenses instead of actual storytelling, Cricket has set aside trying to find out which is the best team in the World in favour of a stage-managed show. This is the paradox of the World Cup.

22 yards is the battlefield and the performers on the D- Day will bring home the Cup. We hope that Dhoni’s team does it this time around. We can only HOPE!!

I have written a few lines exclusively for Team India as a motivating force in this World Cup:

When Expectations flood/ Desires creep in/ Speculations reign supreme/ I would say…. Just get on and Do IT!! Cheers to Team India.

Sammya Brata Mullick

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