These are extremely distressing times for mankind. No one has experienced such a situation before in their lifetime where one has to worry about their existence on a daily basis. How safe is it to resume normal life to an extent is always pondering in our heads. And when you see the news, we tend up only get fed with the inevitable and lots of grief and worry.
Just about a few days back, there was a statistic which was extremely hard to digest- 11 Crore employees (unorganized and organised sector) are without a job in India since the lockdown was imposed. This number of people without a job and it happened in a span of 40-50 days. It’s equally as bad elsewhere especially in bigger countries like USA, UK.
From a personal point of view, my day begins and ends with Cricket. It’s a very small event or aspect in the larger context with people’s lives at stake and many going jobless etc but for someone who lives and breathes the game and for all these years and has been privileged enough to watch some form of the game in some part of the world happening on a daily basis, the toughest pill to swallow is the eventuality of us not seeing the sport being played in any form for the next 5-6 months at least.
So on behalf of all those whose lives revolve around Cricket in some form or the other, I have penned down a heartfelt note to the beautiful game-Cricket and how I will miss it:
Cricket – I will miss you
I will miss waking up in the mornings and watching highlights of matches that took place the previous day. I will miss staying up late on many days to watch live games of Cricket in any format.
I will miss watching the exuberance of David Warner, Chris Gayle, Rohit Sharma and ABD.
I will miss the magnitude of the brilliance of the fab four- Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Kane Williamson and Joe Root.
I will miss the frustrating flamboyance and talent that Windies possess, especially their limited overs side.
I will miss watching the finishers like Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Glen Maxwell in action.
I will miss the joy of seeing leg spinners like Rashid Khan, Yuzvendra Chahal and even Adil Rashid control ODIs and T20Is.
I will miss watching the speed and accuracy of Kagiso Rabada, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins Jofra Archer and Trent Boult.
I will miss the consistent growth of the current Indian bowling unit under Jasprit Bumrah.
I will miss watching the Test match specialists in action who pop up occasionally amidst all the T20Is and ODIs.
I will miss watching games on iconic grounds like Lords, MCG, Newlands in Cape town or Eden Gardens, Kolkata.
I will miss the consistently inconsistent performances of Sri Lanka, South Africa and Pakistan.
I will miss the never-ending debate on whether MSD should retire or continue playing.
I will miss listening to great commentators like Mark Nicholas, Ian Bishop, Nasser Hussain and Ian Smith who bring unending joy through their voice.
I will miss all the talk and noise around topics like the role DRS plays in the modern game.
I will miss the admiration I have for the umpires especially Richard Kettelbrough, Aleem Dar, Marais Erasmus. DRS or no DRS they are top quality umpires.
I will miss the beauty of seeing the ball beat the bat; the see-saw battle between bat and ball which makes the game so special!
I will miss the obvious reality of how batsmen friendly the game has become- bigger bats, flat pitches and smaller boundaries.
I will miss the sheer brilliance of the expectation of a new, upcoming cricket series especially the ones that are talked about a lot- IPL and ICC World T20.
This would have been the busiest period of the year for me. Writing about the IPL from various angles despite having a full-time job. It’s almost an emotion you can’t put words to now when you know in all likelihood, IPL 2020 will not happen for the obvious and logical reasons.
I will miss covering the game’s most watched and anticipated tournament in recent years-IPL. IPL is big for fans, players and even bigger for a privileged lot that I am part of who can bring the game to life by writing about it.
On the other hand, keeping the fact that we have got a forced break from the sport, all cricketers nearing retirement or with severe injuries can actually completely recover and come back fresh. This break could add probably a year extra to their playing career- especially for the likes of MS Dhoni, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, ABD, Chris Gayle to name a few.
And also for many people who felt there was too much cricket being played in recent times and that there were far too many irrelevant series being played in recent times, I would hope that with the possibility of no cricket of any sort in the near future, they are able to reignite their lost fondness for the game and that the game through this forced break owing to this pandemic gets back some of it’s fans that it lost.
Hopefully, things would reach a stage in the world where one can expect Cricket to resume in some form in the next few months. It could either be the IPL 2020 or the ICC World T20 as per the original schedule. Cricket fans, tragics and followers would sincerely hope for that day to come as soon as possible. Even if they are able to start off playing in closed doors it would be any day better than not watching a game of live cricket at all.
You could call me selfish but if the situation improves globally, I would want the sport to be played following all norms so that the players and administrators involved are safe. Playing in closed doors is a good alternative for the sport to come back into action. Many people would feel their fears, worry evaporate slowly if there is a pleasant distraction offered to them- especially in India nothing unites people more than Cricket and Movies.
Personally, a five Test series between India and Australia later in the year played amidst closed doors would be a perfect comeback for the sport after the forced break owing to the deadly COVID-19. Until then, all of us like me would have to hold on dearly to the replays that are getting telecasted of old games on Star Sports and Sony Six and of course we have YouTube where we can revisit the games and players that defined and shaped our love for the game!