It’s a different thing altogether. Just after the VIP underwear ad, cut short (the ad, not the briefs) I saw Dinesh Kartik play a solid forward defence shot to a straight, bouncy delivery from Darren Sammy’s first ball of the 27th over. Rivetted till the last ball — another forward foot block — I figured this is what purists get so excited about in their beautiful understated way: a cricket match where the result doesn’t matter.
That, alas, wasn’t the case when it came to the Australia-Pakistan match. Misbah ul Haq brought back a floodful of memories when he was out hit wicket in the first innings of the match. Except in his case, unlike mine in the glorious past much before Sachin could say in an insurance ad’, ‘Mein ek pitha hoon’ (which roughly translates to ‘Who’s your daddy?’), no pile of neatly arranged bricks came down when Haq’s leg scrunched on to the base of the stumps bringing the bails and his innings down. It was an adrenalin-pumping thing to watch five wickets tumble within 47 runs — clearly reminding me that I was also not in another glorious past: when the yellow-jerseyed greencaps where as invulnerable in world cricket as a dead man is to a tickle.
I, along with the nation, must have have been extremely confused by the time the Aussies needed a run to win in the last ball. I clearly remembered that I had read in the morning that for India to somehow have a chance of squeezing through to the semis, Pakistan would have to win. Or lose. Or hang on, did they have tie the match? In any case, it was like watching the smile on your son-in-law’s boss’s face to gauge whether your daughter’s happy.
But it was an impure match — with strange palpitations and manufactured allegiances (I was supporting the poor, poor Aussies who were unable to beat England 94-0 in their ODI series in England that must have started in 1882). Heck, India wasn’t playing in this match and my face wasn’t even painted with the Indian tricolour with the hub of the Ashoka on my longish nose.
But once that cliff of a match was hangered, I moved to the glorious non-philistine India-West Indies ballet.
As I swooned on leg glances that trickled magically to fine leg for a single and finely pitched deliveries just outside the off-stump that were artfully left.
Lovely. But I had a specific interest in something: the Bayern Munich vs Juventus match. Oh, and just for the beautiful record, India beat West Indies.