The Board of Control for Cricket in India,
Oh wow! This has blown into a huge issue within no time – this is the price one pays these days for being honest! I guess the nation is waiting for a response from my side. Well, they’ve had their say, a fan has written me a letter and it’s about time I respond.
See the memes on the net? See my FB wall here? This is what the people have reduced me to – a meme subject. Do they know who they are trolling? A five times Grand Slam champion. Ah, wait, do they even know what a Grand Slam is?
I hope they do. I hope they’ve heard names like Sania Mirza, or Somdev Devvarman. If they haven’t, well, I guess they better learn some tennis before trolling me like that! I’m not going waste your space explaining the basics to them.
Alright, if you have read so far (assuming my letter reaches you, the BCCI), you might be wondering – why is this meant for you. Let me explain.
For the past couple of days, I’ve been googling stuff like cricket, Sachin Tendulkar, runs, boundaries, and Indian Premier League (I thought it’s something like English Premier League, turns out that it’s a little different). That’s when someone told me (I won’t tell you who, and I know who HE is) – “People who searched for this also searched for BCCI, and ICC”.
With my previous search on Tendulkar, I had learnt a few things. I now know who he is, thank you very much. I know that he made his debut aged 16, faced international fast bowlers of Australia and Pakistan.
Firstly, the area of his MRF bat is lesser than my racquet. Secondly, in tennis, you just have to focus on clearing the net and making it land within the boundaries. Meanwhile, Sachin had to focus on many things at once: decide whether to hit the ball or not, and in case he decided to hit it, whether to clear the boundary or not, and in case he decided against it, ensure that it didn’t land in the hands of a fielder. Phew! Too much to think! Lastly, the ball is made of leather, so there’s a higher chance of injury than tennis.
Coming back to my date with Google, I searched for ICC, and then BCCI. I understood that, with your money power, you are pretty much in charge of international cricket, in addition to Indian cricket. You make sure all cricket elsewhere is stopped, so that the best players in the world play in the IPL.
Representing cricket in your country, I guess you must be responsible for all cricket that goes on there. Turns out that something called ICL was partying for a couple of years, but then, you trashed it out. No doubt who’s the boss here!
I felt that writing to you would mean, connecting with the Indian public. Assuming you share it with them that is – searches on IPL suggested that you guys aren’t too much into sharing stuff.
Over to the public now, I’m sorry for what I said. I should have probably spiced up my comment a bit, or put it this way: “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to disrespect him or anything, but maybe I’ll learn more about him soon.
Sachin Tendulkar is God – got it. He is worshipped by the entire population of India. When he used to play, the nation stopped. The crowd outside television shops swelled, and families were drawn to the home television. No sportsperson has ever been able to do this in Russia! And not to forget, after failing a crucial exam all those years ago, he now finds himself in a school textbook. Blimey, the kids will be pleased!
In India, sport means cricket. Nothing else comes close. Sania keeps telling me when we meet up. It seems about 20 minutes of a 30 minute sports news programme is devoted to cricketers – whom they are dating, whom they slapped, where they were felicitated, and sometimes, a report and expert analysis on their latest match. Rest of the good stuff like tennis, football, F1, the national game hockey, etc. miraculously find space in the remaining time – excluding ads. Fascinating! And dare I not mention it, the nation’s premium sports channel shows stuff like Outstanding Ojha, Perfect Pujara and Swinging Shami most of the time.
I would like to explain to the ‘frustrated Indian’, that cricket is not too well known in Russia. We don’t learn to pick up a bat and throw a ball at the age of 3. Rather, we are encouraged to pick up a tennis racquet, play football, or make use of the snowy weather, or get into athletics, ice hockey, skiing, etc. Russia is not one of the interested cricket playing nations and probably will never be.
So, there is no way we can understand cricket, or find the interest to follow it. We do not have live telecast of cricket, no Cricinfo, none of Star Sports’ shows. Being a world famous sportsperson, I understand that I must have reasonable knowledge of my contemporaries, but it is impossible to cover each and everybody. With a large number of sports played worldwide, have I done anything wrong in not knowing about the God of a sport my nation does not know or care much about?
Russia’s football league is quite strong, and face it, football is way ahead of cricket in terms of world popularity (let me not remind you of your FIFA ranking by the way). So I knew who David Beckham is. Coming to tennis, in the last decade, Russia has seen Marat Safin, Dinara Safina, Nikolay Davydenko, and me challenge for Grand Slams. Russia even has an F1 driver named Vitaly Petrov (sad to see even F1 didn’t take off in India) and has plans for hosting a Grand Prix.
The point I’m trying to make is, it’s my fault not knowing Sachin Tendulkar. He is a world renowned name, and having watched some of his best plays over the past couple of days, I know why. He’s single-handedly carried India to impossible victories, and deserves worship. I can feel the sentiment of the Indian public now.
On the other hand, it’s not my fault not knowing cricket. If I asked the BCCI chief who is Alexander Ovechkin, or Pavel Datsyuk , would he know? Probably, not. Then, are his fans justified in flooding the BCCI Facebook page with abuse, or tweeting harsh stuff? C’mon, he was equivalent to God in Russia, you don’t know who he is? Incredible! You are so ignorant.
Garry Kasparov is considered the all greatest Russian chess player of all time. You don’t know him either? Wow! I could probably remind the public of some greatest names Russia, or the old Soviet Union has produced in chess, wrestling, athletics, hockey, etc Should I expect you to know each and every one of them, and call you ignorant in case you don’t know any of them?
I hope the sarcasm makes you understand.
I hope that the sudden wave of memes (some of them are really funny by the way), and abuse is just a knee-jerk reaction. I hope it does not represent the thinking of the Indian public in general. And, I hope your fans relax a little, and understand the situation from my side as well.
This has been rather long. Too much has been made out of it. I’m not going to reply, or even go through my Facebook page. Let’s close this issue once and for all.
I would love to meet Sachin Tendulkar and apologise. I know I have lost thousands of Indian fans due to this mini-scandal, and I hope my apology will convince them to support me once again. Else, they can try Sugarpova.
If I still cannot get them supporting me again, I hope this will!
I’m sorry Little Master, I’m sorry India.
Now that Dimitrov just lost to Djokovic and I’ve nothing to do with Wimbledon till next year, I’m going to read a preview of the big game and watch it tomorrow – MCC vs Rest Of the World.
(And yes, I know who those players are!)
DISCLAIMER: The views in this article are fake (not written by Maria to anybody), so no need to play Sherlock Holmes and comment other wise. I hope you take it in jest.
(Input source: SK)