An English game consciously murdered by Indians?

“An Indian game accidentally discovered by the English,” was how the sociologist Ashis Nandy described cricket 20 years ago as the game took root after the 1983 World Cup win. Writing in the business daily Mint, the columnist Aakar Patel overturns the aphorism to suggest that a pristine sport has been destroyed by Indians.

A tamasha in tricolour.

On the eve of a World Cup final that might yet go India’s way, Patel finds fault with the fans, their behaviour, their placards, their awareness of the game, their prejudices, and the godawful cricketers who now strut around as “commentators”, piling cliche upon tracer-bullet cliche.

“One of the disappointing things about the World Cup was that it was played on the subcontinent. It is thought that India loves cricket. This is incorrect. India loves India. Cricket gives us the opportunity to express this affection.

“The local cricket match in India is unattended. Even World Cup matches featuring two other sides will be played without spectators, no matter what the calibre of the players….

“Indian spectators express themselves physically, through dancing, screaming and jumping about. This is done communally, in groups often including middle-aged men. It is done emotionally, with strong facial expression….

“In India, signs are held up which are either obvious or embarrassingly banal. A decade ago, they were also poorly spelled. These days they’re not because advertisers hand out printed ones….

“One unique thing is how Indian spectators are silent when the other team scores. On television it’s as if the screen has gone mute. It’s not about enjoying a sport and appreciating the ability of professionals to play it. It’s about nationalism, which in India is narrow and zero-sum….

“The Indian team is overrated because our fierce nationalism inflates its capacity. This has been amplified recently because of our economic power. Usually, Indians are happy if their team wins the skirmish and loses the battle. This is because national honour is often safeguarded by the hero….

“Between its spectators and commentators, Indians have ruined cricket for everybody. With the growth of our economy, this has got worse.”

Photograph: courtesy Agence France Presse

Read the full article: The banality of the Indian cricket fan

Also read: Who killed (good) cricket writing in India?

Nationalism has replaced cricket journalism

Feng shui and the lost art of cricket commentary

25 Responses to “An English game consciously murdered by Indians?”

  1. voyeur Says:

    I have sufficiently demolished his hypocrisies in the comments on the original article. I can’t be bothered to repeat the whole thing here. One point I missed there – The author is way off the mark when he says matches between other countries were poorly attended. Poorly attended compared to what? Attendance for the India match? but obviously. The England-Ireland match in Bangalore had an audience as large as it would had it been played in England or Ireland.

  2. Mysore Peshva Says:

    Lovely! Mr. Patel is spot on.

  3. Vinay Says:

    The only line that makes sense in his drivel is the one about Indian spectators not cheering for the other team. Everything else is a pile of horse manure.

    Obviously the chap has never gone to watch a football game in Europe.

    Indian spectators express themselves through dancing and screaming – big deal.

    And NO, no one likes test cricket crap anymore. Deal with it.

  4. Pagan Says:

    This article is WTF.
    The passion with which India supports India is what is keeping the game alive. What? this guy has a problem with Indian expressing themselves with dancing? Who is this Aakar Patel?

  5. the colonel Says:

    My Dear AAkar Patel.

    The Barmy Army????????????????????????????????????????????

  6. the colonel Says:

    Dear AAkar Patel,

    Boss This Is India.

    And how about MR SIR PONTING, OBE, LORD OF THE REALM. That Is Creeket. Huh?????

    And Ausie Fans?????

    Boss if you want to know about life dont gaze at your Navel.
    Gaze at your Ozzhole.

    Whatever tomorrow is another great Day THE FINAL.

  7. the colonel Says:

    My Dear AAKAR PATEL, you have never seen the stadium woefully silent huh??????????

  8. the colonel Says:

    And Finally DR. AAKAR PATEL, we are a country of very RARE SMALL JOYS.

    what they call Chota Khushi

  9. Not A Witty Nick Says:

    “The local cricket match in India is unattended.”

    “And NO, no one likes test cricket crap anymore. Deal with it.”

    Last year’s Ranji Finals at Gangotri Glades, Mysore, was fully crowded and people climbed even the Eucalyptus trees to catch a glimpse of the match.

    Did that idiot columnist watched India-Ireland match? Barring Sachin, every player got same amount of applause!

    This is why I prefer not to read about Cricket other than from trustable sources like Prem Panicker and avoid cranks like Aakar Patel, Mukul Keshavan and Ram Guha.

  10. Nanu Nane Says:

    I don’t know if we love cricket. But we really do hate the girl child. http://www.livemint.com/2011/04/01001122/A-new-India-but-old-worries-p.html

  11. sisya Says:

    Pardon the cliche Aakar, but you hit the nail on the head. This article, along with Siddharth Vaidyanathan’s cricinfo piece (link below) should be required reading for all Indian cricket fans and administrators. there is no creature more graceless than the indian cricket fan.

    >>”Obviously the chap has never gone to watch a football game in Europe.”

    You, my friend, prove the author’s point. I can totally imagine you using your fine defense to perhaps explain headbanging in a M.S.Subbulakshmi concert. Get this, and please, cricket was never soccer. Was never meant to be soccer. At least, not until a-holes like you orgasmed it all the way down to a nanga-naach.

    S. Vaid’s piece: http://www.espncricinfo.com/decadereview2009/content/story/439734.html

  12. the colonel Says:

    dear sisya,

    i am very very Confused, Sisya

    Whats a nanga nach got to do with an orgasm, whats an orgasm to do with the AH-SO(like the Japs say it, and whats AH-so got to do with nanga nach.

    AND is an orgasm sexual; then what are spiritual/sexual/physical/mental orgasms.

    Sisya do enlighten me

  13. AC Says:

    @sisya – “I can totally imagine you using your fine defense to perhaps explain headbanging in a M.S.Subbulakshmi concert.”

    Brilliant, sire ;) +1 to it :D

  14. Sreekanth Says:

    Completely agree with the article.

    Shame on these idiotic fans.

    they have turned india pak matches to hindu muslim matches (shame less).
    emails depicting sangakara as Raavan and dhoni as Ram are being circulated.
    hell even the corporates are involved, service messages from mobile operators suchas “Ram vs Raavan IND vs SL catch the action click @Rs99”

    This is absolute COW SHIT.

  15. Vinay Says:

    Sisya:

    It does look like you’re the asshole here. Most people want cricket to be like football, people want the excitement, the jazz, the noise, the pace in the game, etc. Who the fuck are you to decide that “cricket was never meant to be like this”?

    Sreekanth:

    The Ram-Ravan crap is distasteful, I agree. I detested that myself. That’s indeed COW SHIT.

    But I didn’t get your point about making India-Pak matches Hindu-Muslim contests. What d’you mean, I don’t see any evidence pointing to that.

  16. Vaid Says:

    Makes some good points… But loses it with needless things like bikinis and beers…
    But the average person on the street does tend to be in-your-face… No matter where… Leeds, Kingston, Adelaide or Mumbai…. And when a game gets the backing of the average guy you do see this behavior…
    Not much to complain about, just bear it and live with it…
    U can’t stop driving on the streets just because there are idiots on the street getting on your nerves…

  17. Doddi Buddi Says:

    Patel is right! But Indians are “like this only.”
    Particularly when it comes to sacred cows like Kulla. I admonished my nephew calling him a moron and accused him of lacking in scientific temper because he was more insistent on praying for Kulla getting a hundred in the final. My moronic nephew abused me and asked me to FO and get the hell out of India. I called him an F-M-P (a foul-mouthed prick). Then I SMSed most of my friends when I saw both openers dismissed and proclaimed that we will win the match now because the rest of the team is more competent and willing to work hard to earn the glory. I speak with authority because Kulla has always been getting his useless centuries in dead rubbers, profoundly inconsequential matches and such like occasions and I knew that he will run for the safety of the pavilion with the tail between his legs very soon when the final started:)

    Chota-peg Colonel, I agree we are a nation of small achievers but in time we will be something if only we start playing others sports like volleyball, football, others more competently. It is time to stop worshiping the thoroughly undeserving sportsmen like Kulla. Cheers!

  18. Yella Ok Says:

    Though some of the observations are factually incorrect (like no spectators for non-India matches) and some that we have to live with without actually having any problem (like people enjoying even if they are middle-aged), I have to largely agree with many other observations.

    “One of the disappointing things about the World Cup was that it was played on the subcontinent” – Right. What gives the indian team the divine right to play QF and SF in India irrespective of where they are placed in the league tables – big bully BCCI.

    “One unique thing is how Indian spectators are silent when the other team scores” – dont know if it is unique but definitely shameful, whether unique or otherwise.

    “The Indian team is overrated because our fierce nationalism inflates its capacity” – despite winning the cup, I have to agree.

    “Between its spectators and commentators, Indians have ruined cricket for everybody” – I definitely agree with the commentators bit. You dont have to have an HD feed. just use the mute button.

    And sisya – the siddharth link is largely spot on. Never mind the people who call you names – he seem to have usurped the right of abusing everyone on this forum that he disagrees with.

    The trend is unavoidable as anyting that goes “mass” dilutes in strength to appeal to more people.

  19. Faldo Says:

    I think genuine cricket fans are being unnecesarily maligned here. If one follows news reports of the world cup it was clearly mentioned that big corporations, celebrities, board officials, people from the government and politicians and their hangers on cornered most of the tickets, leaving very few for the public at large. Naturally many among this breed tend to exhibit jingoistic and graceless, attention hogging behavior and tend to have a self important view of themselves.

  20. the colonel Says:

    Dear DB:

    You and I Have the same opinion of Kulla. It comes on very strongly and I see real puzzled looks on people when they hear the reasoning and fail to answer them. also i am much much lesser than a lesser god and MAY be wrong.

    We have many small sports that at a lesser age relieve us from the ignominy of our daily lives. They die ; and they flourish.

    In punjabi chotta khushi is not liqueur related.

    And as a people we achieve a lot in our daily lives both singularly and plurally.

    But then they are crushed by the stone-crusher (sarkar, public opinion, religious mandates, caste/language/regional mandates)

    So in all my judgments and role in life i have been liberal, agreed to any and all good

    And as they say i am a loser.

    And as a Nation we have been Winners from Time Immemorial

  21. KA Says:

    What a load of crap!!
    Do we have to even import placards from England or Australia?
    Shall we ask them what needs to go on the placards and how?
    Do you expect all cricket fans to behave with poise while watching Cricket? The chap who says above, Cricket is not Soccer!? Well, it isn’t. In the same breadth, Football/Soccer is not meant to be rowdy either… but it is…
    Ever heard of “English football fans”? What about a comparison between the English and Japanese football fans?

    Get real! you expect the populace to just change soon as they enter a stadium. But this is how people behave in Indian cities. Immature and childish behaviour is what you see on camera but for every such fan, there are many more that are modest in their celebrations.

    This is India, the game changes here. This patel fella talks as if, the image of an Indian will change overnight the world over no sooner the Indian cricket fan shows himself to behave gracefully. It won’t, if that happens, how hard will it be to stop the men urinating in public?

    Be yourself. Never pretend.

  22. Mysore Peshva Says:

    Dear DB:

    Hahah! You are hilarious, my friend. :)

  23. Vinay Says:

    Yella NOT OK:

    Please re-read the posts to see who started the abuse first.

    My only point is this: most of us want to see cricket played like football, with all the frills and bells and whistles. We want the excitement, jazz, fun, etc. No one is stopping the connoisseurs of test cricket from going to watch test matches with binoculars and politely applauding each time the batsman comes on to the front foot and solidly defends the ball.

    Cricket would die a natural death if it were not for the ODI/T20 format with all the jazz.

  24. Pulikeshi the Last Says:

    DB–

    Yappa, nimage Sachin myaga adyakkri ee pati kopa? Ava chalo aadthaana, run maadthaana andra innenu bekaithi?

  25. Pagan Says:

    PTL,

    DB is atheist.

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