Cricket in India is not a sport, it’s a religion. Popular cricketers are Gods of the nation, and India-Pakistan matches are undeclared national holidays. Winning the World Cup is akin to salvation. Prayers are offered and fasts are kept to ensure India’s victory. Cricket is the pulse of the nation. Not even a war can bring the kind of patriotic fervour that cricket can. And therein lies the beauty of the game.
Personally, I’ve never been a huge cricket fan. It goes on for too long, and there’s not enough excitement when batsmen are going tuk-tuk taking single runs. But even I’m not immune to the patriotism that this game generates. It is impossible not to do a ‘yahoo’ or chant ‘India! India!’ when our beloved Dhoni hits a winning stroke.
And that precisely is my problem with the Indian Premier League. Why should I or anyone waste their time watching a format that’s nothing but a business model? Hell, I don’t even know which team to support! Ideally I should be supporting the Delhi team. But when Kohli plays for Bangalore and Gambhir for Kolkata, and Delhi team has not one reputed Delhiite playing for it, where is the enthusiasm? The Sri-Lankan player who the men folk were colourfully cursing yesterday now plays in the same team that Sachin Tendulkar captained! Such a farce!
‘Blasphemy!’, I scream. The sacred game has been violated. Cricket is being played not for the game or the nation but for the money. The numerous scandals surrounding the format are witness to this. And on top of that, the channel broadcasting it has the audacity to use the phrase ‘Chalo bulawa aya hai!’, reserved for the revered Vaishno ma.
Kaise bulawa hai yeh? I would rather watch some B-grade Hindi movie than waste my time on this mercenary nonsense. I wish more people would wake up to this reality and do something worthwhile instead of watching the IPLT20 just for the heck of it!