The Indian Cricket fan is a complex, yet simple beast at the same time.
A crude juxtaposition I know.
Do you like how I used the word ‘juxtaposition’? I only heard it for the first time yesterday. I still have no idea what it means. I probably just insulted over a billion people.
Anyhow, I once had the pleasure (or otherwise) of living in India. It was over 10 years ago now, but I did it for nearly 2 years. Based out of Mumbai and Delhi, I saw virtually every state of the country.
I have played cricket in Sikkim, bowled wides in Bihar, fetched balls from the ocean in Goa and chased snakes off the pitch in Nagaland.
Through all this, I got to learn about the Indian cricket fan from the perspective of a ‘gora’. The English translation is a derogatory term for a white man. It’s probably racist and I likely should be offended. But don’t worry. If you go to watch a match in India, I can share with you some other Hindi sayings that will calm the buggers down.
Having spent this much time in India, I am clearly well qualified to pass judgement on their cricketing culture. I’m almost as qualified to comment as a guy who visits KFC is on the topic of healthy eating.
Anyhow, let’s break the Indian cricket fan down piece by piece.
Indian cricket fans are deluded about Sachin’s true legacy
It doesn’t matter what the scenario. If you are in a conversation with an Indian cricket fan, the subject will always steer towards Sachin Tendulkar.
Let’s be honest at this point. He made a few runs and lasted a few years. He also got Sir Donald Bradman’s vote. But hey, James Anderson got Wasim Akram’s vote, so let’s not overate these opinions.
What Indian cricket fans fail to realise is that Sachin didn’t help their team in any meaningful way. In all those Test and ODI’s he played, the percentage of Man Of The Match awards was pitiful. He didn’t turn games. He couldn’t win a series off his own bat.
He was a good ordinary middle order player who just happened to hang around for a while.
What’s even more strange is that the bloke in the team with the lowest charisma rating won over a nation of people who love bling and it’s trappings. A generalist statement I know, but if I’m only 50% right, I’m describing 600 million people.
So, my point is that Indian cricket fans place a higher value on this bloke than they should.
You need to be aware of that while conversing.
If you aren’t an Indian cricket fan, you are logically jealous of the IPL
Don’t criticise the IPL in the presence of an Indian cricket fan.
The conversation will not end well.
Did you know that the Indian parliament recently passed a law that made it compulsory to respond any Indian cricket crisis with the retort ‘don’t be jealous of the IPL‘?
Indian captain MS Dhoni is a true patriot and happily recites this on a regular basis.
So even though the IPL is riddled with corruption, gambling warlords, crappy dancers, unknown players, won’t allow Pakistanis to play and weakens the Indian Test team, I suggest that robust discussion about the IPL be avoided.
I have only ever met 2 Indian cricket fans who have seen India play live in India
Indians in India don’t go to the cricket. They wait until their father pays for them to study overseas. Then they are happy to hand over ridiculous amounts of shekels to watch their touring team stink it up.
It makes no sense.
I’ve been to Eden Gardens to watch India play. I’ve been to Wankhede. I’ve even been to Ahmedabad.
I won’t be going back to that last one. The stadium, well the State of Gujarat that it lies in, has a zero alcohol policy. It also has the only Pizza Hut in the world that I know off that is vegetarian only. It wasn’t a pleasant experience.
Apart from Eden Gardens which used to hold 120k people, the other grounds are not overly massive. Mumbai has almost 12 million people in it, yet can’t fill the stadium to watch the national team play.
Why is this?
I can’t even throw out a crazy theory to explore with you, as the whole thing is nonsensical.
Indian cricket fans secretly wish they played Pakistan more
The Indian cricket fan secretly loves the concept of playing Pakistan more.
One of my favourite cricketing memories of all time was when India hosted Pakistan in Calcutta (as it was then known) in 2004. Pakistan winning was one thing. Angry locals shooting guns into the air outside my hotel was another.
The worst of it was the Delhi belly I caught, but that’s for another story.
The India v Pakistan rivalry has the foundations to be bigger than The Ashes.
It could be called the Lord Mountbatten Cup perhaps?
Indian cricket fans desperately want their Test team to be relevant on the world stage. Playing more regular Test series against their neighbours is a strong desire.
Of course, when Pakistan belt them off the park, they will likely blame an Anglo conspiracy.
Indian cricket fans swear a lot.
The great thing about spending a bit of time in India as I have, is that you pick up the odd word and phrase here and there.
In my case, I know the Hindi variants for having sexual relations with your sister, mother or goat.
I was exposed to the words for a person’s genitalia and have been known to slip the odd ‘chutiya’ out when in the presence of cricket administrators from Tamil Nadu.
I’m not sure that I’ve ever had a conversation with an Indian cricket fan where swearing hasn’t been used.
As an Australian, I find this rather shocking.
We perceive Indians as calm and gentle and in the mold of Mahatma Gandhi .
Being confronted with vile bad mouthed Harbhajans is not what we expect when talking about cricket.
Not even the South Africans swear as much as the Indian Cricket fans.
Why are they like this?
I have no idea.
Just ensure that if you are about to embark in a cricket conversation with one that your wife or mother isn’t present.