MIDWAY: A game of cricket

It was 1996, the year in which Sri Lanka had won the cricket World Cup. Be it school or public places, cricket used to be the talk of the town. My cousin brothers used to literally give up all their affairs in order to watch an international cricket match. “Well son, it’s a crazy game that foolish people play and even more foolish people watch. A person comes steaming in, does a crazy hop, and throws a ball in a crazy manner and the person at the other end tries to hit it as hard as possible. That’s cricket.” After hearing my father’s view on cricket, I decided that it was not a game I should watch or try to learn. Whenever my friends talked about cricket, I used to tell them about my father’s opinion and in the process I would receive bright smiles from them.

Once I went to stay at my uncle’s place for a few weeks. To my surprise, I saw my cousin brothers glued to the idiot box watching a cricket match. Well, what could I do but watch the game that I knew nothing about. As the game progressed, I asked my fellow viewers questions to which they responded very enthusiastically. My interest in cricket had grown by leaps and bounds as the game came to an end. It has been nine years since I started watching cricket. The recent success of Nepali cricket team has enhanced my interest in the game.

Sahid Afridi’s sixes, Brett Lee’s pace and Glen Mcgrath’s deadly accuracy are some of the aspects that have lit up the international cricket arena. Watching cricket has become a good form of entertainment. The game of cricket is not limited to who wins or loses. It also has statistics and figures, and records have enhanced the spectatorship of the game. Even a Bollywood film based on a cricket match (Amir Khan’s Lagaan) had been nominated for the Oscars.

Cricket is becoming popular in many countries and is emerging as a lucrative sport with the inclusion of the exciting 20-20 matches. Today, when my father tells me that cricket is a fool’s game, I humbly tell him: “It used to be a game of fools and the spectators were super fools but now the scenario has changed. Nowadays, those who don’t watch cricket are fools and those who don’t follow international cricket are even greater fools!”