Interview of Cricket Fans – 139 – INDIA
J – Thank you for your participation in this interview, firstly tell us a bit about yourself as a cricket fan.
Thank you for having me again Jay, guess I have not bored you yet. Nothing so special about me as a cricket fan, just another fan of this incredibly beautiful sport. Hundreds of sports out there, but have given cricket the sovereignty to trouble me the most my entire life. I am a very fervid person when it comes to cricket, my passion is justified through my emotions. I love to spend my time watching cricket. Nothing controls me more, honestly, my mood entirely depends on matches. I love to discuss cricket day in & out which could go on forever.
I prefer people who genuinely are into this sport rather than the ones who fake their interest for their few favourite individuals and prefer them over teams. When it comes to banters, healthy ones are always welcome but the toxic ones, I would rather end the relation with that person than entertain toxicity, that’s how much I prioritise this sport. People may find it rude but can’t bare venomous behaviour.
J – What are your early memories of this sport?
My family has always been into multiple sports, cricket but obvious tops the list. Dad has been a district level cricketer, my brother has played cricket for a while. Mumma has played different sports but has always been an enthusiast cricket viewer. All of them alongside their jobs are into this sport, from domestic to international. Blur memories of the sport when I barely used to understand it, knew Indian players name like Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Ganguly, Kumble, Gambhir. Test matches were always on and the endless discussion & cricketing stories at home. I became a fan during the 2007 T20 WC, when we children used to have a screening of the matches, then IPL was commenced, started supporting Mumbai Indians because of Sachin and that’s the only thing I used to understand then. But as I grew up and 2011 WC happened, there was no turning for this love I had for cricket.
J – How has Cricket inspired you?
I don’t know in what way I should put this up but, cricket has always been my escape place, a breather whenever I was low since my early teenage & maybe that’s why I’m connected so emotionally. The way I used to watch cricket earlier & the way I watch it now is very different. I’ve been an athlete in my school and college days, just wished to play cricket but never took it seriously. I’ve changed as a character through many defeats of just not only cricket but other sports too. Learned to accept defeats, enjoy the victories, listening to other’s POV, what and where to speak, what to debate about, just the basic learnings of life. So, want to contribute to this industry off the field.
J – The 2019 World Cup SF loss to New Zealand or the 2015 World Cup SF loss to Australia, which hurt the most?
Both the exits have been a nightmare for me, can’t even compare the miserable feelings, but I don’t remember crying again the way I’ve cried during the 2015 WC loss. When we talk about 2015-2019 Indian squads, we do generally have the view of ‘India had a better squad to win the WC in 2019, compared to 2015’, which arguably is true but the 2015 loss was very emotional for me. I was in my teenage – 14 years old when we’re emotionally connected to the cricketers. We did not have a good run before the WC but did amazingly well during WC. I don’t want to get into not so strong opponents thing, we bowled out opposition every time we bowled during the tournament until we faced the Aussies. If not favourites but I got this hope of winning the WC. We had a farewell in the school that evening and I remember sobbing the entire time after the loss, can never forget the date 26th March, just two days after Protea’s heartbreak, my second favourite team back then. Dhoni’s post-match presentation face, my heart still aches. I hope the upcoming T20 WC & 2023 WC brings us joy.
J – India have some talented youngsters in their squad, who is your favourite cricketer from the younger generation?
When I look at the upcoming generation of ICT, I do feel that the future of Indian cricket is in safe hands. Every youngster seems so precious, mostly have gained the fearless attitude (not careless to be clear) which is exciting to watch. It’s very tough to choose one because all are my favourites in some or the other way but have been a bit biased towards Shubman Gill. If we talk about recent times, we had Sachin, Dhoni, Virat, Rohit in terms of batting/captaincy, Gill I feel like is the next long-serving name. Followed him thoroughly during the 2018 U-19 WC, has the ability to perform consistently. His splendid performance in BGT has attracted everyone, upcoming IPL will be a great opportunity for him to make selectors job tough for T20 WC. Another name I would like to watch succeed, though he’s not in the squad is Shubman’s fellow U-19 and IPL mate Kamlesh Nagarkoti. Again, the speedster was so impressive in U-19WC, has some good skills, should make the most out of IPL with KKR.
J – It must feel amazing as a Mumbai Indians fan especially for the last two years, what makes this team so dominating and fearless?
It’s a gaiety feeling with Mumbai Indians not just for the last two years but always, never a dull moment with this franchise, a whole exhibition of circus, next to my Indian cricket love. Not easy to sustain at the top, being trophyless till 2011, lifting maiden IPL title in 2013, this team is the outcome of over-the-years of hard work. The coaching staff, mentor, team that looks after players, scouting group, investing in the mixture of domestic talent and overseas players, ticking every possible box, great owners, the loveable atmosphere in the dressing room, sharing family bond, great captaincy, not depending on particulars, working and executing performances as a team, never give up mentality in setbacks, makes this team so dominating and fearless.
J – Who is your favourite Women’s Cricketer currently?
I used to be a big fan of Mithali during the 2017 WC, the way she led the team, her batting, her overall numbers, the fierce personality she has, but my current favourite had a poor run back then, that is Smriti Mandhana. Perry, Knight, Harman, Devine, Bates have been my favourites but Mandhana is a stand out amongst them. The number 18 in the current Indian Cricket are meant to outshine everyone. She’s still young and hope ends up achieving something extraordinary.
J – So first of all, you are an avid cricket fan which is evident through your tweets, tell us which are the other sports you watch and how long have you been watching them?
Alongside cricket, I’ve been following football since the 2010 FIFA WC. When it comes to the nation, I’ve always been a supporter & fan of Germany. It was the 2014 FIFA WC when Klose (Favourite German) lifted the trophy with Germany against Messi’s Argentina. A mixed feeling for me because I admire & respect Messi the most. But that WC I became a crazy fan of Neymar and he was a Barcelona player then. He was the reason I started supporting Barca, he left but I realised my love for the club was unparalleled so will keep supporting Blaugrana colours. And about Indian football, we’re growing decently, it’ll take time but we’re right there.
In the FEDAL era, I’ve been a fan of the Djoker from Serbia. Underappreciated Tennis player, who receives hate for being expressive but has been breaking and setting records with his racquet. The man with the most number of grand slams this decade. About women after Serena Williams, the player I look forward to is Naomi Osaka, she’s a young gun with a lot of talent.
Ever since Kabaddi has established Pro Kabaddi, I’ve become a huge fan of Kabaddi. Supporting UMumba since season 1 under the leadership of Anup Kumar, known as Dhoni of Kabaddi. Pro Kabaddi led to the love of the national kabaddi team.
Have been a decent follower of Hockey, Olympics is the best time to enjoy multiple sports, recently started following Formula 1 and it’s a pretty amazing sport, have to learn a lot. Rugby is an interesting sport too, have followed just one WC loved the performance of All Blacks.
J – What is your all-time XI?
It’s the toughest job in the world, math is easy for me once but here you go:
Dale Steyn/James Anderson
Thank you so much for reading. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram to make sure you don’t miss out on any cricket related interviews.
Twitter – @bhavsarJ2_0
Instagram – @bhavsarj2_0 @icf2_0