Cricket and the Eighth Year of the 21st Century
As a fan of the sport, I know one thing for a fact: Cricket doesn't have any particular season; it's played round the clock, 365 days. One or the other series keeps everyone hooked to the television set.
But since we are time bound and know realistically that even though Cricket doesn't follow any calendar except its own, there is a Gregorian calendar that starts on the first of a month called January and ends on the 31st of a month called December [which is not far away] I decided to write an article about some events that panned out this year in the "Gentleman's Game."
As I write this article, I know that there are matches being played between Australia and SA, West Indies and New Zealand, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The domestic circuit is also active, I believe in almost every Cricket-playing nation.
There are seven events that I believe marked a difference to cricket, each in its own way.
1. Success Story
The maiden Indian Premier League, which debuted in April, was a resounding hit: among the players, among the boards and mostly among the fans. Several big names contributed, new talents emerged and made most of the owners very happy. Thank you, Mr. Lalit Modi. You have great business acumen.
Nothing in this world is permanent. Saying so, four brilliant Cricketers bid adieu to their team and their fans. Gilchrist [Gilly], Kumble [Jumbo], Ganguly [Dada] and Vaughan [I don't know his nickname] retired, leaving behind fine memories of their brilliance.
Any publicity is good publicity. I guess that's what some of the Cricketers were thinking. Harbhajan, Symonds, Sreesanth were embroiled in controversy for most part of the year, thereby creating a huge headache for the team captain and the selectors. I have some advice to the trio.
1. Symo: Learn Hindi. you will be able to spot the difference between "monkey" and "maa ki" more clearly.
2. Bhajji: Learn English. next time you want to sledge, let the world understand what you want to say.
3. Sreesanth: Learn to be a sport, and don't be a cry-baby.
The Aussies, of course. Four time World Cup winners, and look at the way they play now. What's wrong, guys? I guess they have taken the retirement of their match winners too hard. Buck up, Kangaroos, buck up!
5. Brave hearted Knights
Of course, the English Cricketers. They showed guts in the face of fire and represented true sportsmanship. A lot of things were said about them; it's the moolah which lured them and all...but still life is life and money is just second to that. They lost just a series but won much more: the hearts of every cricket fan.
6. Knight with a Willow
I am talking none other than Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, who once again became the "knight in shining armour" for the Indian Cricket team in the first test against England.
41 centuries. That's something to go by. There was nothing KP and his men could do against Sachin's onslaught and the way he was wielding his bat.
7. Flop Show
The Champions League T20. Though I am being rude and somewhat insensitive to this, I guess it was purely a case of "Much ado about nothing" and "Counting your chickens before they hatch."
Of course, nobody could have foreseen what happened in Mumbai, but I believe Mr. Modi could have been a little less pompous about this, and he could have transferred the matches being held in Mumbai to some other venue.
After all, there is no dearth of Cricket stadiums in India.
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