Interview of Cricket Fans (ICF) – 8

Interviewing passionate Cricket fans and giving them a platform to express their opinions on particular topics is something that I have really started to enjoy doing it. My next guest is one of the most passionate Cricket fan who has been following Cricket for a very long time and is also very popular on Twitter with over 20 thousand followers. It’s an honour to have a chat with Nikhil (@CricCrazyNIKS)

Thank You so much for your participation in this interview, it’s an honour to have you here, what does Cricket truly mean to you?

To me cricket has always been a friend, a companion, a mentor. Someone who has played the role of my best friend ever since I have fallen in love with the game. I didn’t have a great time with real world friends and it is then when cricket came in life and it has always been something that I have looked upto to solve all my problems. I try to relate everything to cricket and suddenly, things seem a lot easier.

When was the first instance where you saw an International cricket match live in a stadium? Share your experience.

The first international match I saw at a stadium, was India playing England in 2012 in Mumbai. Kevin Pietersen hit a magnificent 186 then. I don’t think I could have asked for anything more given that I am a huge KP fan. The experience was how one feels when they go on a date, your enjoy every moment and cherish those memories for life. India lost but it didn’t dishearten me as they lost due to something really special.

India have been blessed with many stalwarts who have been given lot of appreciation for their hard work, who, according to you, are those underrated stalwarts who haven’t got much appreciation than they deserved?

There have been quite a few who have not got the chance to represent India or not play enough games. Some who have batted out their lives in domestic cricket and it would have been nice to see them have a go at international cricket. Few names that I can take are Amol Muzumdar, Ranadeb Bose, S Badrinath. As for the underrated nature, it is only the fans who underrate people, not the game.

India has 52 International Cricket venues, do you agree with what Virat Kohli said last year that there should be only 5 strong test centres? If yes, which test venues would you select?

I strongly agree with his view. Test match viewing is and must be made a special occasion as it is say in Australia on a Boxing Day. Having fixed venues, set calendar helps build a routine with which people can relate to. Instead of taking names, I hope the head body takes pains to improve the in-stadium experience, it can be a lot, lot, lot better. We need to treat fans rightly, they are the ones who pay, make the game what it is. Their care should be paramount.

As a fan, do you enjoy when a bowler sledges the batsman or when a batsman sledges the bowler?

I enjoy banter that is for sure but I love it when both are at it and both have equal chance. A bowler howling in the face of the batsman after he has dismissed him makes little sense as the batsman then has nothing else to respond to and just has to walk back to the hut. We have all had our tempers flair up during the game, and while it must not cross the line, as long as things remain on the field, it should be fine.

Which are India’s two best test match (not series) victories in your opinion? Mention one victory at home and the other victory away.

To me, for some reason, India beating Australia when MS Dhoni scored 224 was a very memorable win. A bit biased there but that is how I always imagined and wished Dhoni played when he took the attack to Australia and mind you, he did that with Bhuvi at the other end. India is going to miss his skills, a leave in a World Cup semi-final does not define MS Dhoni’s legacy.

For the away win, it can’t be more special than the win at Perth in 2008 against Australia. To win from the position India was in after Ricky Ponting was an umpire during the Sydney Test. It felt really special to experience that win.

IPL has benefitted so many cricketers not just from India but around the world, yet India haven’t done well in the International arena in the T20 format and even in the T20 World Cup, what according to you is the reason behind this?

It is the exposure to high-intense game and the high stakes. Players grow up playing in empty stadiums at their homes and sometimes the nature of the game, contest, gets to them if they are not used to playing in front of big crowds and in unknown conditions. What IPL has done, is that it has brought many players together from across the border and knowledge sharing has increase. Players are now more aware of what to expect and can hence plan their game and improve much quicker.

Since it’s Independence Day, what is it that you like the most about growing up in India?

I have always felt India is a lot different from what we see on social media and in real life. While I don’t think there are no problems, there are some grave issues but the responsibility now is on the youth to know what is right and wrong and ensure we leave a better place for the following generation to live in.

Growing up in India depends a lot on the kind of privilege we have to be honest. I was born in a hand-to-mouth family which is now, doing much better and hence I can now afford to give my daughter what I couldn’t get. We Indians are a mixed bag while we do ride on emotions and accept people kindly despite the differences, a lot of us don’t quite feel the same way and it is fine, till you are not causing any harm to anyone.

Create your dream team consisting of Indian players only from any era and any format as per your liking.

I would love to make a team from the players I have seen live.

Test – Sehwag, Dravid (c), Kohli, Tendulkar, Laxman, Dhoni (wk), R Jadeja, R Ashwin, Kumble, Zaheer, Bumrah.

ODI – Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Rahul Dravid, MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Ajit Agarkar, Anil Kumble, Zaheer Khan, Jasprit Bumrah.

Couple of quotes that I liked from this interview was the answer to the underrated stalwarts question – “As for the underrated nature, it is only the fans who underrate people, not the game” and the answer to the Test Centre question –  “We need to treat fans rightly, they are the ones who pay, make the game what it is.” This is why fan’s opinion matter. I have been following him on Twitter for more than 3 years and he is also one of the fans who has inspired me to watch this sport in-depth. You guys go and follow him on Twitter for Cricket content. That’s the end of this article. I hope you enjoyed reading this interview. I would like to wish everyone a Happy Independence Day, here is a quote from our first Prime Minister of India – Jawaharlal Nehru – “Freedom is not a mere matter of political decision or new constitutions… It is of the mind and heart and if the mind narrows itself and the heart is full of bitterness and hatred, then freedom is absent.” THANK YOU!

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