The times they are deranging. First, India’s four-nil black-out in the one-dayers against South Africa. Then India wins their first ever Test in South Africa. Where does that leave the cricket fan? The answer, of course, lies in what kind of cricket fan are you? Ah, yes, there are several kinds:
THE ANTARCTIC CRICKET FAN (ACF): She (and it’s usually a wife, girl-friend or the girl across the balcony) is ice-cold to cricket. In her life, she’s seen one game: that photo of the final balcony scene after India won the Prudential Cup final in 1983 (Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar and a champagne bottle.) Avoid ACFs at all costs.
SWISS CRICKET FAN (SCF): Neutral and probably bankers in touch with bookies. Expect a well-balanced brother-in-law type. The moment you talk cricket he will nod politely or change the subject. The live cricket scores shown below the Sensex listings on business TV channels are irritants. Have an SCF over when a blank wall is your only companion.
THE GERMAN CRICKET FAN (GCF): He is an active behind-the-scenes campaigner for making umpires redundant. He’s also behind tech-innovations like hawk-eye and stump-cam. But he’s obsessed about seeing matches only on that giant plasma screen TV — to gawk at the set’s features, not at that match going on. He’s best to meet over the phone.the Bollywood Cricket Fan (BCF): His idea of cricket started with Lagaan and ended with Iqbal. He insists that the old television movie shown on Doordarshan, Bodyline, deserved an Oscar. According to the BCF, Iqbal is a better bowler than Pathan.
THE YANKEE CRICKET FAN (YCF): He doesn’t quite understand what’s so World about the Cricket World Cup considering only a handful of former British colonies play the game. Tell him that it’s the same for the World Series in baseball and he’ll dodge the issue by quoting Robbin Williams: “Cricket is basically baseball on valium.” He never did know the truth: baseball is basically cricket on speed. There’s an YCF in all of us. That’s why we ended up watching the Twenty-20 match in South Africa, didn’t we?
THE BHARAT CRICKET FAN (BCF): Thinks himself to be the greatest cricket fan ever. And he probably is. Any non-cricket conversation with a BCF is pointless.