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While teams battle it out on the field in local and international tournaments, cricket fans are increasingly getting involved with the game online

entertainment Updated: Oct 16, 2013 18:09 IST
Sneha Mahale

When Sachin Tendulkar announced his retirement from Test cricket recently, there was an outpouring of grief and solidarity online. Tweets ending with hashtags #SaluteTheLegend, #ThankYouSachin and #BornToPlayCricket trended for days across multiple cities. The same was the case when Rahul Dravid played his last match in the Champions League Trophy T20 (CLT20) final.

Currently, with the India-Australia series on, #IndvsAus is a common enough sight on city trends with fans using the hashtag to give out team scores, discuss and even criticise players while the match is played out. The fanaticism for the game refuses to die down and cricket fans are getting involved in every aspect of the game.

“Twitter is a global, real-time information network where millions follow the people and organisations that interest them. Cricket as a sport is ingrained in the social consciousness of every Indian. We are glad that Twitter has helped enhance the cricket-viewing experience for fans across India, by bringing them closer to their favourite sport, teams and players,” says Rishi Jaitly, India market director, Twitter.

Online interaction with fans has become so popular in cricket that during the domestic T20 tournament, which started in April, Twitter, for the first time, started The Team Hashtag Battle. This allowed fans to hashtag their favourite team to ensure that they triumph on the popularity front. A Live Tweet Counter kept rolling as people tweeted anything related to the match, And the numbers are staggering. According to iplt20.com, over 1,15,89,446 tweets had the hashtag #IPL (as of October 10).

The same is the case with the recently concluded CLT20. According to clt20.com, as of October 10, 13,69,559 used the #CLT20 hashtag. The figures also state that Mumbai Indians’ fans tweeted the most (#MI: 1,32,040). The followers of Chennai Super Kings came in second (#CSK: 87,236) while the supporters of the Rajasthan Royals ensured that their team came in third (#RR: 69,059).

That’s not all. The Mumbai Indians have also run a successful campaign to #RetireTheJerseyNo10 in honour of Tendulkar after his retirement from ODIs in December 2012. And this isn’t a local phenomenon. During the Ashes held in England earlier this year, @ECB_Cricket, @CricketAus and their players decided to get their fans to egg them on. Since ‘Rise’ was a theme for the English team, their official hashtag for the Ashes is #Rise while @CricketAus used #ReturnTheUrn.

Use it right
The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorise messages.
If you tweet with a hashtag on a public account, anyone who does a search with it will find your tweet.
Don't spam with hashtags. Don't over-tag a single tweet. (Best practices recommend using no more than two per tweet.)
Use hashtags only on tweets relevant to the topic.
Source: Twitter

Other events that sparked debates
#Phailin: When the ‘very severe cyclone’ made landfall in India, social media was abuzz with information on it.

#Rupee: Netizens had several heart-stopping moments when the Indian rupee was in a free fall.

#Twerk: Miley Cyrus's provocative dance at an awards function was debated online.

Most tweeted cricketers
1. Rahul Dravid (@rahuldravid)
2. MS Dhoni (@msdhoni)
3. Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt)
4. AB de Villiers (@ABdeVilliers17)
5. Sunil Narine (@sunil_narine)
Source: Topsy Pro FOR clt20

Contest it
Just before the recently concluded T20 tournament, defending champions MI announced their official Twitter hashtag dedicated to Sachin Tendulkar. The franchise had asked its followers to suggest and vote for the best one. An Ahmedabad-based fan with the Twitter handle @ravikhedar suggested #ThisTimeFor10dulkar and gained maximum votes on the MI Twitter handle. A statement later revealed that all tweets from the handle and its fans would have #ThisTimeFor10dulkar as its hashtag.