Interview of Cricket Fans – 69
Thank you for your participation in this interview, tell us your early memories.
First of all, thanks for this opportunity bro. So the earliest memories I have related to cricket as told by my parents was me watching TV keenly without any idea of what’s really going on. For me personally, the first time I got into cricket was in the summer of 2002. India toured England and won the NatWest Tri-Series at Lord’s. Thereafter they backed it up with brilliant performance in ICC CT in Sri Lanka.
Have you been to a stadium to watch a match live? What was the experience like?
Yes, It was a long time coming, I watched 2019 Women’s IPL opening match just because I had to give my sister some company. Frankly saying, I never liked the thought of being in a stadium filled with thousands of people so I never tried to watch cricket live but now the first experience in the stadium really changed my thought process. I can’t wait for cricket to return to India with all the fans allowed in stadiums so that I can experience that feeling again.
What are your memories of each ICC event India won in the past 13 years?
In 2007, during ICC T20 WC, the tournament wasn’t telecasted on DD so I didn’t watch much of that tournament except checking news bulletin and newspaper. India were the underdogs as we all knew but they played some quality cricket with a young team. When India vs Pakistan final was set, I went to my friend’s to watch it. Still remember them saying, ” Ye match toh gaya”. I was like abhi ruko match khatam thodi hua. Then eventually India won the trophy and we celebrated long into the night.
In 2011, I had my 12th boards in March-April so I couldn’t tune in to watch many games but luckily the knockout matches of India were on non-exam days. Still remember that MS Dhoni six like it happened yesterday, Me, My family, Entire locality going wild. My friends made a replica trophy of sorts which they carried around celebrating. I couldn’t join them as my final board’s exam was just hours away but it was quite an experience to behold.
2013 ICC Champions Trophy, was probably the only tournament where I was confident about our chances like never before. We went on to dominate that tournament and win that rain-curtailed final vs England. Would have been pissed if we had to share another CT like in 2002.
What about the latest event? Your thoughts on India’s performance in the 2019 World Cup?
2019 was never going to be our tournament however we think of that Dhoni run-out or injuries to the players at critical times. We never had a settled middle order for years before that. Losing Dhawan to injury was a killer blow to any half chance we had. It was mismanagement of everyone involved with team setup, from irregular selections in the squad and especially chopping and changing the XI in the tournament as big as WC. I was glad that we won 8 out of 9 matches in league stage but playoffs were always gonna be an uphill battle for India looking at all these factors.
Who is your favourite Indian cricketer?
Virat Kohli is my favourite current cricketer. Admire him so much for his passion, aggression, and such great work ethic towards cricket. He is a special player that has set a benchmark for young cricketers looking to pursue this beautiful game in India and the world.
Sachin Tendulkar is my favourite former cricketer, The master blaster himself. When he came out to bat everything stood still for me. Really appreciate his efforts in literally carrying Indian Cricket on his back in the 90s. He paved the way for gen-next of Indian Cricket to dominate the world Cricket.
Top 3 underrated knocks by Kohli?
Most underrated has to be 35 runs vs Sri Lanka in WC Final. When Virat walked in Wankhede, there was defining silence in the stadium as Sachin got out. As a young 20 year old to go out and play a much-needed knock for India under the most extreme pressure possible just tells so much about the mental resolve and character of the man.
75 at Perth (WACA) test 2012. This series was just a terrible experience for us cricket fans. India’s batting just didn’t show up all series but for Virat Kohli to go out there and standing toe to toe against the Aussies on that pitch and circumstances was something to behold.
43 vs England in ICC CT 2013 Final was another very important and quite underrated knock from Virat. We lost quick wickets in middle overs and almost on a verge of collapse when he resurrected the innings and gave us a target to defend in final.
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 am not adverse to the idea of 5 strong test centres but really would like a test match or two reserved for small cities in rotation every season just to keep a steady balance. 5 strong test centres have to be Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Delhi.
India vs Pakistan, India vs Australia, India vs England, out of these three, which is the contest that you enjoy watching the most? And why?
India vs Australia is my favourite. I started watching cricket in an era where Australia just ruled sports. We use to win rarely against them but it gave me so much pleasure always.
Your favourite match?
My favourite cricket match is India vs Bangladesh in ICC T20 WC 2016, I don’t remember screaming out that hard for a win in any cricket match. The emotions just poured out mainly because of what happened in that last over of Hardik Pandya. For sure I won’t be screaming this loud for any cricket win ever again not only because it’s gonna thrash my vocal cords but also the people in the locality might get bothered like no tomorrow haha.
Thoughts on India’s tour of Australia 2020?
Very happy that we are going to see ICT back in action after so long. The current pandemic has been so hard on everyone but these things keep our mind diverted for time being which is worth it. Of course, it’s going to be tough down under for India as always but I believe we have a very good team to win games of cricket in Australia. I expect a tough start in ODI series simply because the guys will be rusty. T20Is will be close series because it’s that kind of format. Talking about test series, More than half of Indian fans have written off India, forget about others. I want to tell them the core group that won test series two years ago is very much there for India so it won’t be a cakewalk for the Aussies, far from it. I see India playing some quality cricket throughout the test series. Won’t say predictions yet, but I am quietly confident about our chances.
Share your all-time India XI.
MS Dhoni (c) & (wk)