Posted: April 21, 2013 in Sports

I suffer from a rare affliction, which I call Cricketitis. The medical community can diagnose its symptoms very easily, especially in India. It manifests itself as an abject boredom and disinterest with following cricket, in any media. The incubation period can be quite lengthy and it may take years for the condition to reach its final stage. Unfortunately there is no known cure. I will only have to harden my will and hope my family will still love me despite my condition.

I used to follow cricket regularly and sat watching matches whenever they were telecast, at whatever time. I remember sitting and watching a India-Pakistan match on the eve of my 10th standard mathematics exam. It was a close match and I sat there chewing my nails [I don’t chew nails per se but its a nice figure of speech :-)] before a boundary won us the match. I read books on cricket and cricketers, read opinions in daily newspapers, idolised ‘the Wall’ and argued with classmates on why he was the best. I was elated when the boys in blue won and got frustrated and angry when they didn’t. Ah, the good old days!

The first signs of impending trouble coincided with the first season of IPL. Cricket suddenly looked like a movie with scripts, superstars, theatrics and drama queens. I didn’t manage to watch even a single IPL game, even in the first season, fully. I persevered with watching One-dayers and Tests (of course Dravid had not retired yet!) for another couple of years. By the time the World Cup happened in 2011, the condition had reached the final stage. I got incontrovertible proof of this when I decided to go have dinner in a popular restaurant during the World Cup final, simply because it would be easier to get a table and parking!

Two years on I have learnt to live with it. I do not get into conversations about cricket and do not worry too much when two-bit players are ‘auctioned’ for a few millions during the annual IPL tournament. I do have hope, however, that society at large will become aware of this and be show some empathy towards the sufferers. I have come to recognise that there are other things I can do with my time. What if one counts the number of matches India plays in a year, multiplies that by the number of hours in each game, and that by the number of people who match a sizeable portion of each game? How many hours would this be [this will be an enlightening statistic]? And what if India diverts its attention, talent and ability in another direction for even half this many hours? Where would that take us?

I have learnt now that my wife does not care that I don’t watch cricket and I have not become an outcast because I do not know who won the last IPL season. Ah! Cricketitis seems to be bliss.


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