Sports 101: A Funny Game Called Cricket

Lagaan Cricket Amir Khan

(Everything I need to know about cricket, I learned it from the movie “Lagaan” – a combination of great masala story, a fight by the underdogs, crude cricket manual, the usual Aamir Khan perfection & lovely AR Rahman music. Image source: The European Film Awards)

I am a Malaysian Indian and yet cricket and I is like oil & water. It never mixed primarily because I don’t play the game (it is not a major game in Malaysia). It is the same as the Afro-Americans not knowing to play basketball or the Japanese, not knowing about Sumo. The only time I tuned in to see cricket on TV is when I caught the sight of beautiful Indian girls cheering for their team.

Some of my friends from India are just baffled with my act of watching some animal killing each other in the Animal Channel whenever there is a critical India cricket match going on in Channel 80. They will be like, bro, India is playing and then seeing my expressionless face, they keep quiet.

Only once they had to grab the remote control from me so that they could watch it. Yes, I watched it too, just to see why they were fanatical about it. Less than 2 minutes, I would feel bored and leave the room. All the time I was thinking that cricket just a gentleman’s game of baseball (another game that I need to understand).

Things however changed when I was on an assignment in Ghana.

There was one particular Sunday when I was in my hotel room and was too lazy to venture out (I was tired & lazy at the same time). There was nothing much to do in the room (you guess it right – I was alone), so I switched on the TV and there it was – the cricket match between India and Pakistan and it was just starting. Of course, I could have just switched to another channel but something in me stopped me.

At first, I thought of watching it for 10 minutes but I ended up watching it for the entire 6 hours – did not know cricket match can go that long (well not exactly 6 hours because I vaguely remembered dozing off somewhere in between several times).

At least now I understand something about cricket – like how to get points, how a batsman is sent out and one or two basic rules. I am still not sure about how to calculate to get the “runs” – watching Lagaan was making me more confused on this. Thankfully the internet is full of cricket resources – only if I have the time to stop and read about it, I will be home free. I will, one of these days.

When I went back to Malaysia, I told about it to some of my old buddies (whilst drinking beer). This is what we talked about:-

Me: Guys, you won’t believe this but I watched cricket for 6 hours when I was in Ghana
Guys: (looking puzzled) are you all right?
Me: Ya, I am alright. Why?
Guys: (Pouring more beer into my mug) Why so long? Was cricket beautiful?
Me: Yes (now I get to look puzzled)
Guys: (Pouring more beer into my mug and looking at each other)

After a couple of drinks of beer later, I realised what they were talking about. I told them that I was talking about cricket the game, not cricket the insect! Only then the guys started to look a bit more relaxed.

I told you that cricket and some of us are like oil & water but it is a great game, especially if you have been watching it for 6 hours straight.

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