April 12, 2007

Losing our religion.

The last over of the England-Sri Lanka game felt like the first over of the World Cup. The World had finally come together, and some more. A heightened frenzy that only last-over crazies can conjure – if you’re not at the edge of your lazyboy, you’ve already keeled over. Perhaps, you’re being sucked in by the friendly cricketing poltergeist. Far removed from a day of resignations, derogations. You are in a cricketing orbit – you are in the game, the game is inside you. Innuendos aside, this is it.

And as I watch, it dawns upon me, somewhat prematurely, at 3.10 in the A.M., that Ravinder Singh Bopara (Rav Party?) who’s taking strike, and Sajid Iqbal Mahmood (Saj Pepper?) the non-striker, and Congenige Randhi Dilhara Fernando (Fernando!) who intends to strike the stumps out of the ground, are complete music in their diversity.
And that’s not all, there’s Nasser Hussain (former English skipper with an Indian father) coupled with Ranjit Fernando, former Sri Lankan player and member of the Nondescripts Cricket Club, on air. I’m on air.

If you started the 50th over, invoking the islanders to overcome the imperialists, Ravi Bopara’s four through square juggles your loyalties like a media savvy Indian cricketer. And whilst your mind does the proverbial ponder, the Pommies in the pond Splash, Boom, Bang! Can swear I counted every conceivable age group in that Pommy Pond. In a World Cup where the locals can’t afford the obscenely priced tickets, it takes the Barmy Army to make you feel frenzy.

And you’re forced to splash too, pumping the headphones till you go stone-deaf like Pete Townshend. Who’s that? Who cares! Boy, this is heaven-sent, godsend, and we’re not even half-way through the 50th.

The tension is tumultuous – in the media box, Nasser Hussain and Ranjit Fernando have completely lost their bearings, and rightly so. They have both settled for a tie, and have almost shaken on it. It’s too darn tricky. It’s now down to the last ball - 2 for a tie, 3 for an English victory. Bopara has the strike. Fernando to bowl, but he doesn’t. Nerves. Second take: He clean bowls Bopara. Sri Lanka win. Man of the Match: Bopara.

A matchless game – that created by default a level playing field for nearly every ethnic group. It didn’t matter whether Saj Mahmood was once labeled a “traitor” by the British Pakistani fans at Headingley. It didn’t matter if Bopara is a Singh. And Monty Panesar’s no flying Sikh. It didn’t matter whether Kevin Pietersen was once more South African than English. It didn’t matter that Nasser Hussain’s Daddy was Indian. What did matter was that they all wanted England to win. And like Kevin Pietersen’s visiting card once read, “Professional Cricketer”, there’s no greater commitment to sport than professionalism.
Written 5th April, 2007

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Gauru,

How goes it? I was speaking with Keith who told me about this blog you write - enjoyed reading some of the posts! Lets hook up soon. I'm afraid I don't have your e-mail address. I am at sajithsivanandan@yahoo.com

So who is your bet for the world cup? I've got sub-continental affiliations and so am hoping that the lankans bring back the cup. All said it ought to be fun.

Take care