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Posts Tagged ‘jayasurya

The Day the Earth stood still

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1996 was year that marked my generations tryst with cricket. Kirsten’s 188; Jayasurya’s revelations; Indo/Pak Q/F; the Eden heartbreak. It was a roller coaster ride of emotions. It had all, save the Heroic ending. The script seemed flawed; a job left unfinished.

Post ’98 Sharjah exploits, the team fell apart under the match fixing allegations. We were no longer a force in the world cricket. Two of the most controversial figures of Indian cricketing history the Raja and the Senapati fell and gave way to yet another controversial figure of all times. Though his were the controversies we took pride in.

Eden curse was cured by a Lanky personality who gave us reasons to be proud of. The high moon, the tide, the ebbs, the flows all became but adjectives when the cricketing history was re-written. A giant was born. The journey culminated in Jo ’burg when the mighty batting lineup was but a step away from laying its claim.

Albeit, that was not to be. Undone by a legend from down under, it paved way to of one of the most hate-filled cricketing rivalry. The Sydney fiasco was just waiting to happen. It turned out to be the Pearl Harbor of Indian cricket. We have never looked back since. The zeal, the aggression, the will has never been higher. Post 3 IPL’s, high dose of Indo-SL matches and a resurrection of The God of Cricket, it’s time to cross the final hurdle.

The SF match between Indo-Pak, was the most anticipated and followed match in the history of cricket. Everything was to its maximum. Imagine anti-aircraft guns around the stadium! I travelled from Mumbai to Pune to celebrate the festival with friends. With Holi/Diwali/Ganesh Pooja being celebrated with varying vigor across the country, the festival of cricket is the only one which whole nation celebrates equally.

The scenes I saw in Pune were unparalleled. The roads were jammed post the win. I could see thousands of bikes/cars/tempo/buses parading round the city. Flags/colors/sweets aplenty. The whole city was one. It was the day for no hatred.

On field/off field the camaraderie between the two nations was a sight to behold. The old sins were washed off. The 26/11 seemed a distant memory. One match turned the hostile relations between two nations onto its head, into Aman Ki Fuhaar.

My feet were trembling and emotions flowing unrestrained. It was day when 1/5th of humanity gasped in unison, It was a day when the Earth stood still.

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Cricket and my Grandpa

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A: “Sachin plays for himself. I better, he stops playing”
B: “Hey! What are you saying? He is a great match winner”
A: “But don’t you think he is old enough to be pensioned?”
B: “He is still scoring tons. Isn’t he?”
A: “He is past his prime”
B: “Yeah with average of 50 during last year! I think your mind is sub-prime”
A:  “Go to hell”
B: “You go to hell”


A: “Coffee?”
B: “Ok.”

This is what a cricket discussion in India sounds like. A general discussion suddenly gets focused on Sachin and from no where rival gangs sprout up. Pro and anti Sachin sentiments start flaring. Swear words and curses are thrown all around. Then there is truce. This cycle repeats itself day after day.

My earliest encounters with cricket date back to my Grandfather. He was a great cricket enthusiast and even greater Sachin basher. I reckon he lost a bet or two coz of Sachin and he remained pissed off with him forever. “Out ho gaya. Yeh bhi nahin socha ki mausa ji ke paise lage hain”, I remember him mumbling when Sachin got out stumped while chasing against NZ. Above statement is a classical example of raw humor of the oldies. It relates the player who got out to my grandmothers family. So the loss is blamed squarely on the player and my poor old grandmother. I tell you, these oldies can be quite cruel sometimes. The trick lies in not being over smart with them.

He was not a fan of what we call the purest form, the Gavaskar style of cricket. He adored Windies team of 70-80’s. “Lala, kaalon ka aakhiri khiladi bhi aata tha toh chakka maarata hua aata tha” (Even their last player started off with a six). The only Indian player of old about whom I heard anything positive from him was Kris Srikkanth. “Jab who ballebaaji karta tha toh bazaar soone ho jaate the” (Streets got deserted when he came on to bat). For all those who say that oldies preferred Tests to ODIs here’s the last salvo. “Are yeh paanch din ka khel humse nahin dekha jaata. Ghanton baithe raho, ek bhi chowka chakka nahin lagta” (Not a single boundary is hit for hours).

From the current era Jayasurya and Afridi (Afriki for him) were his favorites. Indian team was the most unreliable team as far as he was concerned. “Are inka koi bharosa nahin. Lanka ke khilaaf 200 kuch banana the, saala aaya raam gaya raam shuru ho gaya, aur sab ke sab 78 run pe simat gaye. Mausaji ka nuksaan ho gaya”.

I think T20 would have been the best format for him. Sadly it was during his last years that T20 got popular. It would have been wonderful to watch IPL with him. However he took off even before season one.

Regardless of what people are saying nowadays, I can never lose interest in and ODI game. I have grown up with it. It’s like a ritual to me. And of course it has memories of my grandpa. I remember one of his favorite quotes. Whenever Azhar played well, he used to say, “Captaan hai koi naayi ka launda thode hi hai” (He is not a commoner, he is the captain after all). So it goes for the ODIs.

Written by arpitgarg

November 13, 2009 at 7:07 am

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