It is the cricket world cup season- and for the Indian sub-continent, life comes to a stand still. Since it is in Australia this time, for all of us in distant land, it means all-nighters and red eyes in the office the next day. For India, the fandom is a new level- there are prayers, superstitions, and heart wrenching anticipation during the game. So at the end, it is a joyful eruption, or gut wrenching disappointment. What that means is we elevate the players to gods- worshiped for their talent, paid a ton, heartthrobs for millions, and advertiser darlings. They are gifted houses and cars, mobbed, and every moment of their life grabs eyeballs. But of course, there is the other side of the obsession- the disappointment, media slander and personal attacks, the effigy burning, stoning of homes- it can be extreme. Another peculiar- the match fixing allegations made us distrust extremely good or extremely bad results- classic “boy who cried wolf” situation. With the amount of money at stake, there is also a theory about the bargaining power of the cricket authority in India- with over 1 billion viewers, there are always rumors of preferential treatment for India. Whether or not there is match fixing or special treatment, the performance always raises questions. Our obsession with the players’ personal life and the superstitions collide to something ridiculous like the media and fans obsession to label actress Anushka Sharma as the reason for Virat Kohli’s poor performance.
Why are we discussing all this? This world cup showed all the extremes- before the world cup, we expected our team to have a dismal performance- there was a lot of discussion on selector bias and politics on team selection. But as we won all the early rounds, we moved from critique to appreciation. Everyone was proud of the team and we believed the cup is ours! Suddenly all negative thoughts were hushed, and we backed the team! But the inevitable happened- we played Australia, who are at the peak of their game, and predictably we couldn’t beat them. This was something we should have expected, and instead of being mature and accepting we were just outplayed, we are back to blaming Anushka’s presence for distracting Virat and match fixing. As Anushka pointed out, when her movie bombs, do we blame Virat? She is rooting for her man, and believe me, her not being there might be more distracting to Virat. Just let them be. Arnab Goswami, who I believe is the pit of Indian media, blamed the team for shaming the country, claimed Dhoni did not cry so he wasn’t motivated, and wanted Virat Kohli should apologize to the country- thankfully the #ShameInSydney hastag started by Times Now got replaced by #ShameOnTimesNow.
Come on guys! You can’t say bleed blue, and ditch the team the first chance you get! We have an incredibly inspiring and intelligent captain in Dhoni, and some amazing players like Kohli, Dhawan, Ashwin, and Sharma. You can’t win every game and you have to accept when you are outplayed. We are fair-weather supporters, and of course the next series when we win the first match, we will instantly be on-board on the bleed blue express. All I can assure you is I will bleed Blue for life!