If confessions are called for (and they are on platforms such as this) I'm not a sports fan. I'm not even a sports enthusiast. I generally don't understand why people would want to devote so many hours to see a bunch of people knocking a ball around in various ways using assorted tools. That said, I was drawn into the world cup furor despite myself on Saturday, first by office-people and then by friends who would not let me sit quietly by the side and play AOE while I waited for them to get done with the foolishness. So then I did what I typically do when I have no choice but to engage in any particular activity: I dove right in full-swing.
First, I googled the players, and sadly I realize that gone are the days when we watched cricket to basque in the loveliness that was Imran Khan. Truth is, the bwoys are generally sad specimens, and this is before they open their mouth. To be fair, one can't really blame them. I'm sure their individual sense of style is much-appreciated in Gujranwala. But we don't really want the whole of Pakistan defined by what is produced in Sargodha. Methinks all the bwoys could do with a pretty comprehensive makeover complete with lessons in spoken English. Another realization while googling the Pakistani cricket team is that aside from boom-boom, Mr. Akhtar and the other-guy-whose-been-there-forever, I really have no idea who they all are. To be fair to me, there has been massive overhauling in the team what with the drugs, match-fixing and other baseless allegations launched against our best and brightest. But still before rooting for the bwoys, it would be good to know who they all are. Don't you think?
And now I do. I know, for example, that Shahid Aftridi has hit a 12 off one ball at a match in Australia. I also know that Younis Gill is not really hideous, thats just the cumulative effect of all that facial hair. I know one of the Akmal brothers (the wicket-keeper one) recently got married to a woman who (in the wedding pictures) is burdened down with enough gold to feed an average family for a year. Maybe two. I know that I quite detest Umer Gull who I am convinced is the hidden saboteur who's actually playing for the other team. And I also know that there is lots about the men-in-green that I still don't know, but now that I'm totally into this thing, it'll be fun to find out.
And I 'am' as of Saturday totally into this thing. For one, after years of not following the game I discover cricket is like swimming. You may not have the opportunity to indulge in the activity more than once every few years, but its very difficult to forget what it's all about! :) Also, once you've decided to root for a team (go bwoys) it's very difficult not to curse at the umpire, yell at the bwoys for dropping so many catches that it looks like they're playing for the other side, and scream-with-utter-and-complete joy when enemy wickets fall.
So, the moral of the story is: the cricket enthusiasm is back, bwoys. Please-to-not-be-letting-us-down (again). Many-thanks. And much-love. Until the next game.