Where Did All the Cricket Fans Go?

April 04, 2007

The 2007 World Cup is a fun tournament for sure. It's cricket's premier championship festival. Every team prepares for it for years. Every player dreams of playing in it. And everyone tries their damnedest to put on their best performance. For a fan, it's a chance to see the best in the world all on one stage playing each other. And if you are watching it on satellite, you have to pay only once to watch every side in the world of some consequence.

Yet everywhere I go and try to discuss the latest happenings in the World Cup, I'm met with a roll of the eyes, a sarcastic chuckle or a shrug of the shoulders from my friends. You hear them tell you why they don't care about the Cup anymore.

"I've lost all interest in it, yaar. (looks into chai morosely)"
"I just don't feel like following it anymore. (rage stamped all over face)"
"So who played who today again? (looks away)"

There were scenes after India's losses which fans would like to forget: people in the streets burning effigies of cricketers (don't these people have work to do?), a mob with madness in its eyes standing over the demolished construction site of Dhoni's new home, analyses of shame and personal loss blanketing the media. Pictures still circulate of Dravid, Tendulkar and Sehwag watching India go down to Sri Lanka from the balcony. They all look positively shell shocked - like they were watching a global disaster unfolding.

Whatever happened to enjoying the game? Why doesn't anyone get excited when Clarke or Sangakarra stride in to bat? How about appreciating the tremendous bowling of Powell and Muralidharan? How about observing the gradual order of alignment in the Australian team after a major upheaval? Is anyone interested in the spades of New Zealand who always come up aces when it matters?

Where did all the fans of cricket go?

As Indians we've always enjoyed sports without getting tied up in nationalism. We didn't have a choice really. If we didn't find joy in the Borgs, McEnroes, Navratilovas and later Sampras', Federers, and Williams' we'd never be able to watch any tennis. The same goes with Track and Field. Or Formula-1 racing. In fact, we do this so well that we're constantly accusing others of being closed off to the world - unaware of anyone but their own heroes.

Sure, as a die-hard fan, disappointment overwhelms you when your team loses. You hang your head and down another shot of Tanqueray. You might even show up glum-faced the next day at work. But it's a game. It's about entertainment, not about sticking it to another team. And there is so much fun to still be had in the World Cup.

In the aftermath of the early exit of India in the World Cup, this is an example of Indian fans behaving insularly. Someone once said to me "Indian cricket doesn't deserve fans like us". I couldn't agree more.

But I'd argue that cricket doesn't deserve fans like those who operate as if Team India and cricket are one and the same.

Aspi grew up in India and lives in Chicago. He is average at everything, except Math, at which he is terrible. He blogs on a variety of topics, including cricket.
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Where Did All the Cricket Fans Go?


Author: Aspi


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April 4, 2007
04:15 AM

Well, still there are fans like me who are following the game though most of the Indians have stopped taking interest.

Yes, it was a shock for all of us when the Indian team didn't even make to Super 8 but that's the beauty of this game.
For me any game is above the teams or individuals.

April 4, 2007
09:18 AM


I have no worries about people who dont stay late in the night (upto 3 AM) because India is not playing. TOI estimates India saving close to $ 250 million because ofour defeat.

The TRP ratings would have been low even if India had qualified as very few watch other teams play unless if it is a SA vs Australia or some other big teams or the semi/final.

There are all kinds of fans, some bad and most good, so let us give fans a break. Almost all media guys have gone after the fans and Greg Chappell instead of players, captain and BCCI. Very convenient.
Fans are easy because every fan thinks he is sane and the others are mad and any criticism is treated as being for the 'others'. GC is also an easy target because of being the foreign hand

Regarding the Dhoni issue- Nobody knows why people attacked his under construction house. Just because it happened on that day he underperformed does not mean it is because of his underperformance. People have all kinds of axes to grind.

Indian fans are largely good people.



SL will beat England

Manu will beat Roma

Chelsea will beat Valencia...

April 4, 2007
09:35 PM

Chandra, yes, I wouldn't expect people to stay up late to watch the games even if India was doing well. But I am quite disappointed with people who think the WC is a waste of time because India isn't in it anymore. And equally so by those who don't appreciate the game enough to look past Team India's exit.

April 5, 2007
01:48 AM


An example of what you meant was yesterday's match. Worth every minute of it. Outstanding!!!!
The English played very well..hard luck though...


April 11, 2007
04:40 PM

Seems like when talent and expectations don't match, fans end up in a funk. When two well talented teams play, no matter who you rooted for, the game seems to be well worth watching. Think of all the great games in which Jordon played and Chicago lost. Unfortunately, with absymal selections, out of form players, and inflated hype, what can one expect?

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