I should start this post with a disclaimer. The last world cup I followed religiously was more than 10 years ago. The 99 World Cup. And this post is more about memories. 99 World cup was a refreshing break after the 10th board exams for most of us. Those were the days I used to know the names of Kenyan players too. For a person who took pride in the fact of being born in the year the country won the world cup, cricket was a natural obsession. But then the match fixing scandal broke. The idealistic teenager in me was frustrated with the scandals in the game especially heartbroken to know that the fiery team led by Azhar was not all that fiery really. And hence ended the cricket craze for me.
Subsequent World cups were a blur. And especially after players like Jhonty Rhodes quit, I didn’t have the incentive to watch even my favourite underdogs South Africa. With Sachin, it was love, hate, awe, disgust all the usual feelings that the average viewer has for him. And after that the only places I saw cricketers was in ad films. I knew the top brand ambassadors, but didn’t bother again for the one match/series wonders or the team fixtures. Gone were the school friends who would gush about how cool Shahid Afridi was. Even Shoaib Akhtar’s histrionics only held my attention very briefly. Gone was the craze for having a batsman’s average and a bowler’s previous best on my fingertips, today I have almost become the typical girl who doesn’t like cricket much. Not even aapdo Amdavadno chokro Parthiv Patel got me interested.
The only T20 memory I have is of Dhoni’s team passing by my Mumbai home and watching all the frenzy standing at the gate. The team under Dhoni seemed to be getting the same fiery edge that it had long ago. Suddenly my interest was revived, but never did it reach the extent of sitting down to watch even a fast paced T20 match.
But for the first time this year, I thought I would catch up on the IPL action. Felt like watching atleast all the Mumbai Indians matches, 3 years in the city makes you a devotee. The mongoose and its shenanigans seemed interesting. Plus the large screen set up at Press club, friends and the newly acquired habit of gulping cocktails proved to be some incentives. And just one tweet ended it all. This time there was no disappointment, just a quiet acceptance, a ‘this is the way it is’ attitude. But this scandal turned out to be much bigger, murkier. Match fixing seems almost tame now. Anyone who was anybody and their sons and daughters were part of this scandal. Older and hopefully wiser, there wasn’t much idealism left in me and hence not disappointed at all. Just waiting to see whether it would be Mahesh Bhatt, Madhur Bhandarkar or Ram Gopal Varma who would make the biopic on Lalit Modi. More importantly, who will play Sunanda?