Finally the show has begun! After months of speculating over who will triumph over whom, those repeated telecast of World Cup
matches which were running on a loop, jingoistic advertisements that advertises their products by pairing them with cricket heroes, and an opening ceremony where Sonu Nigam crooned like a Celine Dion with bowel problems and asked the players to "go for glory" – lyrics for which were actually inspired by all those locker room talks that a coach gives to his down and out players during halftime, the real deal has finally started.
The whole nation has come to a standstill, malls have have giant T.Vs installed, there now will be an increase in absence of employees from work, students would get so caught up with the world cup fever that they may forget about their exams around the corner and would secretly indulge in score updates with the T.V on mute, wives and girlfriends and mothers would crib over the lack of attention that they are getting. If the politicians have any more plans of scamming the public and stealing their money they may as well do it over these couple of months because the whole nation is busy giving field placement tips to Dhoni. Ghaplas and ghotalas won't take up the front page - Yusuf Pathan's ability to pulverize the bowling will, twitter would be burdened with running commentary from all over the country as tweeters would be giving their own brand of sarcastic insight over the events unfolding at the stadium. New friends will be made with not a "Hello how are you?" but with a "bhaisaab score kya hua?" (Sir, what's the score?), this is a fine time to be living in for a cricket lover as each nook and corner of the country is brought together by the country's most favorite activity after sex : Cricket.
Things have changed over the past four years, not only with the world order of cricket, where now the Aussies are just a pale shadow of what they were a decade back, or with the Indian cricket team - where more than half of the team is playing its first world cup but also with the Indian cricket fan. The Indian cricket fan has become more tech-savvy as he keeps track of his players over twitter where he wishes his hero a great game and also advises him over his stroke-making or a delivery selection, thanks to EA Cricket we now know a lot about field placements and shot selection. If only we had a control pad over our cricketers, we would decide which delivery to bowl and what shot to play just with the push of a button.
But for a cricket hater and there are a few of them, this is a tough time. This is a time where the whole nation eats, drinks, burps and craps cricket. From Sadhus to Movie Stars, all are busy praying and wishing their team the best of luck. The haters have to put up with their relatives and friends who go on a cricketing hyperbole where they compare cricketers with the Sun, Moon, God, Bull, Tiger, Panther and every other celestial object and wild beast known to man. Apart from the visuals in the form of advertisements that they have to put up with, that includes an over-the-top portrayal of cricketers painted in a Na'avi like color palette which makes you wonder if they are promoting the game or the product or auditioning for Avatar - 2, they also have to put up with the "elite" cricket panel of burnt-out cricket players who are now known more for their repetitive stating-the-bleeding-obvious comments than their exploits on the cricket field. If you thought that the heavily decked up soap opera stars from Ekta Kapoor serials that have a never-ending storyline get into your skin, then the likes of Siddhu, Shastri, Gavaskar, Arun Lal, Robin Jackman, Sivaramakrishnan would probably get into your skin, tear it up, add citrus and salt to it and rub it all over you gently with a sadistic glee over their faces, whilst they spew some cringing commentary gems like "That sped to the fence like a tracer bullet", "This is a good move by Dhoni", "Listen to the roar of the crowd!", "One gets the feeling.... (add whatever seems appropriate)", and to the one that describes the team's virility "They will come hard at the opposition" (the only time of the year where the term "come hard" is not used as a sexual parlance) and not to forget the lyrical Mr.Sidhu's "An apple-pie without cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze" which would make you say "Arre Mr. Sidhu will you now STFU please!?".
This also is a bad time to be employed, when you spend most of your time in the office or end up doing overtime against your wishes, the most of the live action you could catch up with is the presentation ceremony, making you secretly wish if only you could quit you job for these couple of months. And with a work place like mine whereupon trying to access any website URL that has "cricket" in it show up "Access Denied", I end up going to the loo every few minutes to browse the score from my mobile, which made a few of my colleagues ask if I got bladder control problems.
But hate it or love it one cannot deny the unseen force that an event like this brings along with it, it not just brings the whole country together but also brings along with it a hope for the cricket lover. Fifty over cricket is that format of cricket that is threatened by the flamboyant and eye-popping extravaganza that T-20 is, T-20 cricket may give birth to instant heroes like those instant noodles which one may eat out of hunger, but fill our appetite it will not. The 50-Over game is now 36-years old, it is more like a middle-aged man who is going through a midlife crisis, this version of the game is going through a phase where its potency to keep the viewer enthralled for a longer period is under question. Poweplays and free-hits are those drugs induced which one hopes can revive this game. To a format of the game that is believed to be dying a slow death, it is only fitting that the efforts to breathe life into it is made in a place from where it had always received undying support. This is the cup that a true cricket fanatic counts to provide it with some resuscitation, this is the cup that should bring a hope of life to a format that is now under life support. And with the madcap frenzy with which we have embraced this event, it can be safely said that there still is good hope.