After Australia beat Pakistan in Adelaide by 6 wickets and booked its semi-final berth against India, the buzz developed that the match day, March 26, will turn out to be an unofficial no-work day.
For instance, Harsh Goenka, chairman of RPG Enterprises, tweeted, "Prediction- On 26th March many offices will be fairly empty. Flue, headache, stomach pain etc."
Hindustan Times ran an online poll on whether readers across the country wanted the day to be a no-work day, letting fans whole-heatedly spend their entire energy in supporting Dhoni's men against Australia without the baggage of office responsibilities and deadlines.
Going by the popular sentiment, it was expected that most will vote demanding a holiday. Well, that no doubt happened but the proportion of respondents who think otherwise left us considerably surprised.
Of the 15,833 respondents, around 51% (7,591 people) voted on the option 'of course, it should be', while around 29% (4,380 respondents) voted saying that 'no reason to skip work for a cricket match'.
Another 18% opted for 'who cares, I'm not working that day', while the remaining 2% were not sure about their take on the matter.
On the one hand, the logic for demanding a holiday on Thursday seems to be quite plain—yes, we want to enjoy the match and support our team. On the other hand, one of the strongest reasons for not opting for a holiday on Thursday is that it is only a semi-final match and not the final itself. If India is in the final or wins it then a holiday could be justified. Some also think that a World Cup match is not that important an occasion for a public holiday.
"If India play the final, then the call for a holiday is justifiable, in the sense that in some way it will boost the morale of the team. But a holiday for the semi-final is a little too much—I mean that way the India-Pakistan match should also have merited a holiday," says Durgesh Haridas, a journalist with the popular cricket website, ESPNcricinfo.com.
Here's the twist
Even as we talk about people demanding a no-work day or the contrary, there lies a middle path.
Professionals are of the opinion that it does not actually matter whether there is a holiday on the semi-final day because almost every office has elaborate arrangements for watching the match. And even if the large LCDs are not in place, people will either be hooked on to their cell phones and computers streaming the match or will be logged on to websites which deliver real-time match analytics.
"The habit of watching a cricket match—wherever you are and whatever you are doing—is so elemental to us that we will definitely figure a way out," says Ankur Singh, an IIT-ian who works for a start-up in Bengaluru.
He describes how his office will be on Thursday—chai, samosa, the match on the large screen and everyone will be at it. Few others, Singh says, will be on cricket websites or Twitter tracking the match.
Thus, though there is a conflict on whether we want an official no-work day for watching the India-Australia semi-final, it is certain that at the end of the day people from all walks of life would somehow watch at least the most thrilling parts of the match.
"In our office, video streaming is blocked. Therefore, we throng to the two cafeterias where 5 or 6 large TVs are mounted. On India's match days, the cafeterias are crowded and unless someone has some very important deadline to meet, he or she manages to watch all the thrilling parts of the game," says Rahul Sharma, a software engineer who works for a multi-national company in Hyderabad.
"For most product-based companies that I know this is the culture that is followed, though it gets a bit tougher for service-based companies. And that is why, overall, it does not make a difference whether it is a holiday or not—we will all be either ways glued to the semi-final!"
(The poll results used in this piece were taken at 10 am on March 25)