Interview of Cricket Fans – 176
Thank you for your participation in this interview, firstly tell us a bit about yourself and your early memories of the sport.
Hello Jay, thank you for this opportunity to interact. So, my name is Arun Dixit and I belong to Lucknow, UP and currently I am working in a US-based IT company named Turnitin and like any other individual, I am a Cricket follower with an iota of a part of Cricket Twitter and I like listening to Harsha Bhogle a lot.
My earliest Cricketing memories would be my cousin brothers waking me up in the evening and there was this show called ‘Cricket Classics’ hosted by Rameez Raja and they used to show Sachin’s Sandstorm innings having no idea that those couple of knocks would end up immortalizing Sachin and a Tony Greig on top of his voice. Then I started following Cricket regularly since 2002 when Zimbabwe was here with the likes of Travis Friend, Douglas Marrilier and Dinesh Mongia smashing an unbeaten 159 in the decider and then the England team came in and that series was drawn with Freddy Flintoff taking his shirt off at Wankhede.
Which Cricketer inspired you during your childhood?
Growing up, it was always Sachin. I use to hear then around 2003-03 that Sachin’s peak is over and stuff like that but the great man just kept pounding runs for the country. Then, entered Mahendra Singh Dhoni. I was in class 6th in April 2005 and would have been returning home from school and somebody saying Dhoni has hit a 100 vs Pakistan and I could not believe it because as an 11-12-year-old, you had no idea that batsmen could be moved up and down the order. One of the sayings of MS that has stayed with me is, “You should not worry about the stuff that’s not in your control” which tells a lot about life too. Also, I heard him say in one of the Star Sports show that he was good at Maths till 10th but then Trigonometry came and came to the slump which was pretty similar to me also. One of the major aspects of his daily life which is hard to practice is the ‘practice of not being active on Social Media’. An incredible human being.
Tell us about your dp, which stadium and which match was going on at that time?
Thank you for asking this question. So, this DP on my profile is of the ‘Narendra Modi Stadium’ in Ahmedabad which took place on 12th March between India and England earlier this year. I was sitting with my parents at home in Lucknow and the test match was going on and out of nowhere, I said, “ main Ahmedabad ja raha hu match dekhne” and nobody raised an eyebrow and I thought let the tickets come out. It was surreal because just a week back I was watching the test on TV and a week later, I was in this gigantic arena. Fortunately, I have lived in Ahmedabad from 2018-19 so I am a bit familiar with the city. Rishabh Pant played that reverse scoop off Jofra in front of my eyes. It was some moment. Sadly, Covid is here and the World T20 is not taking place in India, else I would have watched a couple of matches in the stadiums.
Currently, your favourite Indian Cricketer is?
Rishabh Pant from India. As Harsha Bhogle saab said, “the audacity….” when he played ‘that shot’ against Jimmy Anderson which describes him in a way but the ability to which Rishabh has to take on the opposition when the chips are down. It was heartbreaking to watch him get out in the World Cup semis vs New Zealand when the country needed him to stay on the crease. Surely, he fell down but he did get up with a might ever since the Sydney onslaught against the Aussies. His wicket-keeping has also improved by some notches. I think he is someone we can rely upon to put up a show on the bigger stages. Also, he seems pretty down to earth enjoying his Cricket which is so good to see as he has big boots to fill. Keeps us on the edge of the seat when he is on.
Tell us everything about your likes and dislikes regarding Indian Cricket.
Okay, this is a mixed bag of sweet and sour for me. Likes first, I am liking the fact that now the India Cricket contingent is pretty confident of doing well overseas and it is no more a surprise if the team wins a match in SENA nations. I also like the fact that the younger generation (i.e. children in the age group of 15-20 years) is having their say on this lovely sport, I say this purely based on the fact that fans are an integral part of it. There is certainly a bright ray of hope in the Indian Women’s Cricket too, we played the World T20 final in 2020 and also the World Cup final in 2017 which speaks volumes of the stride taken forward. Another good aspect of India Cricket which I am liking is the Stadiums where the facilities and the conditions of the grounds and the stands have increased immensely. It was lovely to visit the largest stadium in the World.
Now, moving towards the dislikes, I feel that in major tournaments, players get selected based on their image and not purely based on performance. In the Cricket on the field aspect, just a bit more pressure is applied by the opposition in the knockout stages and we crumble. Right from the 2016 World T20 Semis to the World Test Championship Final, we have had good players but still, we haven’t seen a trophy lifted since the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013. Continuing on this point, I also dislike the amount of hatred a Cricket player gets in the country on the face and on Social Media. We are all entitled to criticize but the amount of abuse that gets flayed on them is heartbreaking. They play in front of huge crowds with millions watching and the players deserve better responses from us. I don’t abuse though. Then, the commentary panels have also disappointed me in the recent times by the BCCI in terms of keeping us glued to the TV. Fresh voices should come in but I do not know if that performance gets reviewed by the broadcasters and BCCI or not.
You also tweet a bit about Women’s Cricket, would you like to share who your favourite cricketer is and your journey as an Indian fan?
Twitter is a good way to be a spectator and keep jotting down what’s on your mind at a certain moment. So, yes I enjoy watching Women’s Cricket too and I am liking the fact that it is being talked and debated about in numbers now. My favourite Cricket from the lot is Harmanpreet Kaur. Her birthday falls on 8th March if I am not wrong. I have a habit of checking the Date of Births of the personalities I enjoy watching. I undoubtedly feel that she can take Indian Cricket ahead. She played one of the knocks against South Africa in a qualifier with 8 needed of two balls and she smashed it which speaks about performing under pressure. Her innings against Australia in the World Cup in 2017 was a hell of an innings. Her batting form has taken a massive slide since then but I feel she will bounce back as players are aware of the expectations the country has from them. I do follow Indian Womens’ Cricket since the 2016 T20 World Cup which happened in India and our team could not take it down to the wire. The current team can do really well in the World Cup next year in New Zealand if they are given optimum match practice. We will be right behind the team. The likes of Smriti, Shafali, Deepti Sharma etc have the goods to deliver. The BCCI should have their plans intact upon their fitness and the fielding which is a crucial part of the plan amongst the good teams like Australia, England etc and we saw it in the Australian women’s team and their performance in the World Cup finals in 2020 on top of their prowess. It is such a good time to write this bit since India has beaten England in one day and Mithali Raj ji has become the highest run-getter in Cricket from India. Proud moment.
What are you expecting the most from the 5 match test series against England starting August?
I am expecting the Indian middle order to fire. Questions are being raised upon the forms of the batsman like Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuma Vihari. Yes, we have Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli but it’s the middle order where we seem to lose the plot which stops us from putting the scores in the excess of 450-500. Also, it would be interesting to see the bowling combination India plays with in the first couple of tests which would pretty much set the tone for us for the rest of the matches. Siraj bhai has been the find for India. I feel this is the right time to give him a full series and he will shine and not to forget, the Indian tail which contributes little with the bat. Joe Root has mentioned that the best eleven will be on the park in the series which makes it clear that they will look to prove some points after their performance in the test series played in India. (I will have huge hopes from Rishabh Pant to pull out the rescue acts)
I suppose these would be my views. Thank you for letting me do this much of brainstorming in writing these points as answers to your questions.
Wish you well!
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