I stopped watching cricket five years ago. I even stopped reading and discussing about it. I actually stopped taking interest in any sport for that matter for that period of time. Sport is a waste of time, I thought. I will better spend the same time going out and playing. It will at least keep me fit and enhance my mental well-being, I reasoned.
Then one day I came across an article in Indian Express, which stated the psychological benefits of being a fan of a sports team. The author had put forward the argument so well that I could not trash it. It actually made perfect sense. It was five-six months ago. Then I gradually started watching cricket again.
Yesterday my father, brother and uncle were watching ICC T20 World Cup match between Sri Lanka and New Zealand. When I entered the house, the match was into superover. I threw my bag on the table and grabbed a chair to sit in front of the TV. We were all seized with the curiosity to know how the match would turn out in the end. My mother, who does not understand the game, also didn’t crib about her daily soaps and started paying attention.
When I was in school, we all ardent cricket lovers used to gather at an uncle’s house, as his was one of the very few TVs in the village. Uncle also was a great cricket fan. If you really want to enjoy cricket, you should watch it with a large group of people and we sure used to be a large group with at least 10-15 people. We all used to make a great noise when an Indian batsman used to hit six or a bowler used to take a wicket. Someone from us used to take anti-India side, just to tease the die-hard country fans. The greatest fun used to be when watching a nail-biting match as the decibel levels used to soar with each passing ball. It used to give us such an adrenaline rush!
Sport surely bonds human beings; and in India that sport is cricket. More importantly, sport does not hinder conversation, unlike other TV entertainment. Actually it fosters the conversation. India is a cricket-crazy nation. Cricket is a great leveler as it transcends the barriers of language, culture and wealth. I realize it now and I realize that abandoning cricket for last few years was a mistake.