Random Forays: The 11 types of cricket fans
Some fans will show up in the living room or switch on their hotspots to view Live matches only when the going gets really exciting, which happens sporadically in cricket.
It is remarkable that at least three of the world’s most popular sports allow exactly eleven players per team. In cricket, eleven is a sacrosanct number. Every twelfth man knows precisely how it feels to sit out!
Thus, when I sat down to enlist some categories of cricket fans in cricket-crazy India, eleven was the natural choice. Here goes:
The Die Hard: Most sports have fanatical followings, but the die-hard Indian cricket fan is hard to beat. He does not miss a single ball of any match anywhere, and is constantly glued to the cricket screen or is in the stands, even if Papua New Guinea is playing Lakshadweep!
The Cynic: This is the type who focusses on the worst in all facets of life, but when it comes to cricket, he is at his most caustic. “All these matches are fixed! They have all been paid huge sums by bookies. There is no use watching them play!” he will emphasize at frequent intervals, thereby effortlessly sullying the mood of true cricket lovers.
The Disgruntled One: This type of fan will never be happy with Team India. Even if they lose a single match after winning dozens of them, he will make a huge hue and cry. He will always fret over India’s performances, and would never be happy with the captain, star players, selectors or the board. He will blame everyone!
The Clueless Ones: These are the ones, who are usually forced to watch cricket because the whole household is engrossed in the proceedings of a crucial match, especially during the end overs. They will come up with comments like, “Why is the man wearing the helmet crouching repeatedly like that? Not good for his back, at all.”
The Aunties: These are the clued-up ones who have suffered cricket for years. Yet, they will at times venture a priceless query such as this, “Why is the fellow with the floppy hat patting his knee? I think he needs a knee replacement soon. Getting on in the years, he is!”
The Uncles: These are the ones who loved hockey as young boys and reluctantly took to cricket for want of nothing better to watch after retirement. They think they know it all, but they do mix up their Benauds and Chappells at times, whenever they recount legends of yore to disinterested youngsters of today!
The Foodies: For such fans, cricket is an excuse to gorge on their favourite delicacies! Mammas, who will prepare pakoras for the hungry viewers in the family, youngsters who will keep ordering burgers all day long from Zomato, et al. Cricket matches are much longer in duration than most other sports you see, so there is a lot of scope for food for thought.
The Part Timers: Some fans will show up in the living room or switch on their hotspots to view Live matches only when the going gets really exciting, which happens sporadically in cricket. Not for them the phases of attrition and settling in. All that these part-timers want is high-voltage action. Stumps flying and skyers being dropped or soaring into the stands.
The Toddlers: These cuties will make observations that will bring smiles to the visages of even the dead-serious cricket watchers. When a key player like Tendulkar or Kohli is out, most hearts will sink in India, but the littlest fan will bring back the cheer with a remark of this sort: “My friends always allow me to bat again, when I am out, otherwise they know that I will start crying loudly!”
The Pseudo Experts: There are also those who think they know it all, but even after years of watching and discussing cricket, they are pretty much at sea when it comes to ticklish or piquant situations like when a batsman is given out for ‘handling the ball’, or even some easier ones!
The Thoroughbreds: These are the true blues, the cat’s whiskers! They have either played the game at a high enough level or have written about it extensively and incisively for decades. They know their cricket like nobody’s business!