Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Blowing with the wind

I remember Sanjay Manjrekar once saying, very presciently, that the crowds in India are not fans of cricket, they are fans of Indian cricket. Suresh Menon has finally cottoned onto that fact in his latest article.
Now we expect Tendulkar to score a century every time he goes out to bat. This modern great has been jeered at in his own hometown, Mumbai. The Indian captain has been booed in Kolkata. Indian spectators expect too much from their players, and are not shy of expressing their disappointment when things go wrong. Nor do they find it necessary to cheer a visiting player when he performs. This is embarrassing.
India's fandom can be summed up in the reaction to Mahendra Singh Dhoni. When India bowed out of the World Cup in 2007, the walls of his house under construction were pulled down and stones were pelted. Now his fans want to build a temple where he is the presiding deity. Enough said

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