Cricket Fever: The Heat is On!

March 27, 2011

As I write this article, it is hard to find one sensible Indian.
No sir, I am not insulting my fellow countrymen, I am just talking in Cricket Language.
I was in church yesterday. Normally we go to church to pray, so can you imagine two youngsters, instead of entering the church, having a mild bet on the result of that day's match, that too in the church compound!
While the way the present world cup has been conducted so far has been professional, it has given some spirited and fun-filled moments to all the cricket loving people. In a country like ours, where cricket is next to religion and Sachin is next to God (for some, the real God), we are in for extraordinary days of fun or tragedy as the tournament progresses.
In a country with a billion-plus population, it is but natural that we have a billion-plus cricket pundits. You try to disagree with any one of the opinions, it could cost your leg or may be your life. It is not easy to be a cricket expert, cricket player or a cricket watcher – not at this moment. All of these categories will have great risks attached, like a fight in a pub when, say, two friends from different states fight when a fellow state player is run out because of the other player from a different state; or for that matter, while sipping beer, one of them simply says, next ball the batsman is getting out and bingo, that’s what happens. What do you expect then? Third world war – between the two best friends. So just imagine the life of the cricketer who was God one moment and villian the next - he may not have a roof to stay!
And what about superstition? I know a jolly couple who never bothered to say rosary before, have started saying one now every day since last three weeks! What priest failed to do, this world cup could did to them.

Let me ask a question to all the readers. Do you really watch TV when India is playing? I can safely say fifty percent of the readers may not – especially if the match in question is a do-or-die match, for instance, the forthcoming match on March 30 between India and Pakistan. I am sort of a lucky guy. I was telling my wife that we need to do something next Wednesday, to avoid any kind of contact with the external world, and beamingly she replied, let's go to retreat in Abu Dhabi church. Well, to be fair to my creator, I have never attended one for the past 15 years, so this is the year I get to return my thanks, for all the good things that He has given me (including my wife). Did you say hitting two targets with one stone?
This reminds me of an interesting incident that happened about ten years ago while watching cricket at my Kuwait home. My daughter, in early teens then, was not so interested in watching cricket and at times used to nag me for not letting her watch her favourite programmes. In that particular match, India was defending a total of 202 runs and the opposition at that stage had scored 194 for the loss of three wickets with 15 more overs to spare.
My daughter said, "Dad…is it not stupid of you to watch a match, when you know the result already?
I replied: "How can you say that?"
"Come on," she said, "Don't just try to prove that you are right always…"
I said, "What if there is a hat-trick?
"What is a hat-trick?" she asked.
That is when I explained to her the meaning of hat-trick, which was a new phrase for her. As I was explaining, a wicket fell and it was the 5th ball of the over. Quite naturally, my explanation and some happening on the field created some interest in my daughter towards the game. Another wicket fell on the last ball of the same over. She asked, "Now what?" I said, "You have to wait for the next over of the same bowler, as is the rule." The wicket-taking over was followed by another over in which there was a run out, and suddenly the score was reading 196 for 6!
Then came the great over of the bowler in question – and to our amazement, he did get the wicket on the first ball of his next over – ahat-tick indeed. That day, I can safely say, I converted one soul - my daughter - into a passionate cricket fan. Now you have to see the beauty of her teaching everything about cricket to her friends and at times to her mother too! I may add that the match was won by India by two runs.
How many times have we seen a batsman getting out at 13! There are so many numbers that batsmen can get out at – from zero to 300 I guess. But just watch the scoreboard next time, especially when India is playing. The maximum outs in an average match is at the score of 13.

Even though I consider myself as a mini cricket pundit, I have failed to unfold this mystery so far. Any explanation from any one? I have also realized that if the batsman remains at 13 for a period of time, his chances of getting out sooner is more realistic than not. But there is asolution to this problem. If the batsman, after scoring 13, hits a boundary or a sixer in the next ball, chances of him getting a hundred become brighter. My observations are from the past, you may watch in the future.
Likewise, even cricketers have their own superstition, like one batsman insists that his family should not watch while he is playing or another batsman always wears the same undergarment for all the matches that he is playing, or most of the batsman start believing in the divine power during international matches.
End of the day, cricket is a team game, and should be played as a team. Secondly, cricket is a sport and sportsmanship should be maintained. Thirdly, with the right spirit, it can bring two fighting nations together – I am referring to cricket diplomacy as we know by now, likely to happen next Wednesday at Mohali. What no man on both sides of the border could do, let one game of cricket do – bring peace and tranquility to people of both nations.

As an Indian, my support and prayer is always with our team. And as a citizen of the world let me say – let the best team win. Over to you folks. I am starting my retreat from Monday and will not be available for the next four days. Jai Hind.


Vivian Castelino - Archives:

By Vivian Castelino, Abu Dhabi
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Comment on this article

  • Roshan Brganza, Udyavara

    Sun, Apr 03 2011

    India team deserves the cup they have it. Its entertaining 40 days and also IPL to come , Total Feast ahead. But only one blot is , Team india recieving cup from Corrupt politician of all time and scam ster Mr powar. It was disgusting!!!

  • Clitus Tauro, Mangalore

    Wed, Mar 30 2011

    Indian Political Leaders should have invite Pakistan Political leaders when Mumbai was attacked by the terrorists...We would have salute if they solved that problem....not to invite them for form of CRICKET!!

  • Alban D Souza, Udyavara Mumbai Doha Qatar

    Mon, Mar 28 2011

    Good article. Cricket is for fun and enjoyment,This is one day cricket. Test cricket is a different than one day cricket. One watches cricket not only for results but also for records like Sachin Tendulkar and old icons Kapil Dev, Imran Khan, Sir Viv Richards , Clive Loyd Don Bradman, THomson Lilly ,Ian Botham, Geffrey Boycot Sir Richard Hadlee Mutthaiah Muraleedharan and so on For some they are the heros .so there is a lot of interest even though one loses or know the results early because cricket is so funny and non - predictable till the last mement. So as India reaches semifinal there a really a lot of enthusiasm for the citizens. But keet apart and keep away from place of worship.

  • Dinesh, Mangalore/USA

    Mon, Mar 28 2011

    Vivian, great article.

    Some questions. Do you think we should call it toppi-trick or 'mundasu'trick? Why is church a bad place to bet? That is where, if you pray properly, your prayer, ahem, bet, will come true. Later, you can confess.

    So, are you taking an iPad to retreat? Just to be sure you get the latest score.

    Come to think of it, bachcha and kutti-donne were equally absorbing, but without commentary, ... cricket it is, I think.

  • Joe Britto, Nakre/Bangalore

    Mon, Mar 28 2011

    I am reminded of several interesting anectodes and commentaries…..
    a) George Bernard Shaw once mentioned that
    “Cricket is a game where eleven fools play and eleven hundred fools watch”.and thousands of media persons comment and analyse this stupid Game.

    b) Commentry on BBC – Radio in the 1970’s
    Ray Illingworth has just relieved himself at the pavilion end.
    The bowler's Holding, the batsman's Willey.
    Welcome to Worcester where you've just missed seeing Barry Richards hitting one of Basil D'Oliveira's balls clean out of the ground.

    c) Love Affairs these days are similar to Cricket where one –day internationals like the on going World cup matches are more popular than a five day test.A hit and a miss is what is the shot of the day.

    d) The definition of Cricket
    You have two sides, one out in the field and one in.
    Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out.

    When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side that's been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out.

    When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in.
    There are two men called umpires who stay all out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out and who wins the game and who looses.

  • Davina Castelino, Mlore/Abu Dhabi

    Mon, Mar 28 2011

    I know what hatrick is now...:)

  • Lulla /Dolphy , Mangalore/Abu Dhabi

    Mon, Mar 28 2011

    Enjoyed reading this article, hence went back into the archive’s and read a few others. Each one was great reading. I guess I am now part of “Vivian Catelino's fan Club “. Sorry Mr. C, you can do the “Retreat “ and I promise to watch the India –Pakistan fixture to the end! Depending on your prayers (no doubt - with half mind on the match) along with the skills (?) of “Mahi’s 11” !

  • RAM, Mangalore / Bahrain

    Sun, Mar 27 2011

    When India got Freedom from British rule, British Govt. gave us two disasters

    1) They divided India and Pakistan and kept Kashmir as a issue between two countries. India is spending Millions of amount spending for the security reason...!!!???

    2) Second they gave us Cricket. (Its is not a real SPORT) because of that we are lacking behind in other games. Lot of money, time, brains, wasting behind this Gambling ...!!!???

  • Jimmy Noronha, Bellore,Kulshekar,Lucknow

    Sun, Mar 27 2011

    The article is good and well written. The writer has done better going into retreat. In fact the media has gone overboard with cricket mania and trying to cash in too. People and Corporations are willing to shell out money, so why not make the most of it? You open the news, whether it is Times News, NDTV, you either get Cricket to listen to or the Ads. It is only Monday and the people that matter are rushing to Mohali in droves from all over, by road, by Air, and the Ambani’s gone a step further shelling out 5 crores for seats and not to speak of the expenses on private jet. I think people have turned too materialistic and irrational when millions live beyond poverty line and so much money is spent by people for tickets, ads, travel, just for a day’s fun. Wise is the man who sits back and watches the match on TV in the comfort of his sweet home and wiser still if he goes on his daily routine.

  • Joel Tellis, Miami

    Sun, Mar 27 2011

    Uncle lets watch the Wednesdays game together.. And when Pakistan is batting, Please explain to me what is Hatrick :)

  • Antony Herbert Crasta, Mangalore/Sydney,Australia

    Sun, Mar 27 2011

    An interesting article on the subject of cricket which is close to the heart of millions of Indians, and timely as well, when India takes on Pakistan in the 2011 World cup semi-finals on Wednesday, which will be watched with intense by many. I especially liked the way Vivian`s description of how he got his daughter interested in cricket, citing the example of a hat-trick, which incidentally reminded me one of the best hat-tricks in ODI cricket taken by Charl Langeveldt of South Africa, when they were playing West Indies, a five-match series at Barbados in 2005. South Africa had gone into this 3rd match with a 2-0 lead and had a chance to wrap up the series. Batting first, they had put up a good score of 284 and the target of 285 was not easy one for the West Indians at Bridgetown by any means. However, in reply, West Indies made 281 for 7 in 49 overs (thanks mainly to a superb score of 132 by Chris Gayle), and with one over to go, they needed only 4 runs for a win and 3 for a draw. Charl Langeveldt to bowl the final over. Off the first ball, Dwayne Bravo takes one run which meant 3 runs for a win and 2 for a draw and 5 balls remaining with 3 wickets still in hand. In comes Charl Langeveldt charging in, and gets rid of the final 3 batsemen, viz. Bradshaw, Powell and Collymore in the successive 3 balls, thus claiming a famous hat-trick, and sending the West Indians to an unbelievable defeat. South Africans won the match with 2 balls to spare, and the series as well, 3-0.

  • Black chapu, exel dammam

    Sun, Mar 27 2011

    Its a tearfull article.

  • geoffrey, hathill

    Sun, Mar 27 2011

    It's very essential for the media to maintain the hype over the game of cricket in India. More the hype, more the viewership/readership, more endorsements for players, more business for the sponsors and more 'bakras' into the nets of 'match fixers'. All from the wallets of common man.

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