Sunday, January 08, 2006

Pakistan Vs India Uncles

Before the advent of ATN, we used to watch Ind-Pak series at Sak's place. His house was centrally located (close to the highways), he had satellite, the TV was big and in the big basement. Everyone I knew from the Bengali community (and some) used to show up for those games. I have noticed that the 'uncles' who come for the games can be divided into the following categories:

Genuine Cricket Lovers: These are uncles who come because they love the game and cannot watch it elsewhere. Sachin would hit Danish for a boundary. One of these uncles would then comment, "Oh, that's just like 1998 in Sharjah when he cover drove Shane Warne for a boundary on the 4th ball of the 26th over." Another would then follow, "Yes, but what about the 5th ball of the 15th over in the Chittagong test in 2004?". All of the group would then nod knowingly.

Support-The-Mussalman-Team Group: Having noticed I was cheering Sehwag boundaries with a bit more enthusiasm he asked me if I supported India or Pakistan. Upon hearing the reply 'India' he almost had a stroke. "You canNOT support India," He thundered, "they are a Hindu team!!! Thou shalt support our Muslim brothers of Pakistan. Do you know how much harm the Indian spies are doing in Bangladesh?" Lot of uncles belong to this category. Makes no sense to me. I prefer watching good batting to good bowling, so support India. Other times I support Desis, so if Pakistan is playing England I will support Pakistan. These uncles forget that a lot of Bengalis, Pakistanis are Hindus, and India has more Muslims as a whole than Pakistan.

'If-The-Devil-Plays-Pakistan-I-Will-Support-Devil' Group, also known as the 1971-ers: These will immediately counter the previous group, saying Pakistan did this and that during 1971, they are not an example of true Muslims and so on. Again, batting, bowling and other cricketing reasons are thrown out of the window. Yahya Khan, Tikka Khan and that 'hated Bhutto' will enter into the realms of discussion.

'Cricket-Can-Be-As-Exciting-As-Hockey' Group: These uncles emigrated to Canada in the 1980s. There were hardly any cricket lovers, much less cricket, on Canadian TV back then. In their attempt to assimilate they had to forget cricket and start liking hockey. Now, isolated from their fellow desi uncles, they come to these matches just because it is the 'cool' thing to do in uncleland. They will provide comments such as "I don't know why we play 50 overs one team and then another team plays 50 overs. It should be 10 overs one team, then another team 10 overs, then back to first team for another 10 ...", or something equally hockey-like such as "Kaif should just punch Afridi and smack him with 'those' sticks".

'I-Am-Still-In-Bangladesh' Uncle: Usually the group with only one or two members, having recently emigrated. They do not understand why the Pakistanis here don't get a flag, jump on their cars, and roam around the neighbourhood tooting the horn and disturbing everyone's peace because they won a ODI match against India that will be forgotten in a couple of days. After all they did that in Danforth when Bangladesh beat Australia. Everyone saluted their first victory by greeting them with a closed fist and one finger extending out to prove how peaceful Canada is, tai na.



Anonymous said...

hehe..nice categories. But there is also one more group:
- These are the uncles who come with the intention to support a particular team, and when they see that their team is losing and that the majority supports the winning team, then they change their intentions.
I have seen this happen a lot of times :)

- Behbood

Aisha said...


AT said...

u know canada also has a pretty good cricket team. i believe if this team could get a little bit more financial support like hockey or basketball, we could have been as powerful as australia or south-africa. The only reason why australia and south africa are so good because their teams get lost of support and so they can provide the players with good technology based training. For instance, kids in australia in grade 1-2 learn cricket through computer simulation and stuff like that. We don't have these things in Canada even though we are capable of producing them. Just think how powerful our team could have been with the financial back-up...

Zainub said...

Not sure if it's as simple as that Arnab, Australia and South Africa are countries with a strong and rich tradition of the game, that in case of Australia goes back to right to the time test cricket was first played. In addition to the money that is put in the game there by the authorities the success of the national sides is in no small part down the amount of talent available to them. In fact, South Africa actually struggle with this at times, especially with respect to spin bowlers. This is also an area where historically small countries like like New Zealand struggle. Because they have such a small number of professional players to chose from, depth in reserves is not something they are famous. Although it's imperative to any side's chances of long or even short term domination of the game.

Of course more money and investment could help Canada's chances, as could more sunshine, and better facilities (like real pitches for starters) but the biggest issue will remain that of recruitment of players. There aren't many orginal Candaians in the Candaian nationl team, and I'm not entirely sure too many them are waiting in the wings out side it (may be if you do, you can tell me). Most of Canada's cricket playing community comprises of expats from test playing nations, especially from thes sub-continent. Canada's best player at the last World Cup, for instance, Mr. John Davison, who smashed a the fastest ever World Cup century against West Indies, has an Aussie background. For Canada to have a chance of becoming one of the leading test nations in the world, this will have to change sooner rather then later. Canadan Cricket authories should try and focus more on getting childred to play cricket at school, and in general get the game more popular amongst the natives. So that more and more people take up the game.

Something will also have to be done about the widespread reports of curruption within the Canadian cricket authority. I've even come across alegations of bias for the east coast among the national selectors.

Now to Mezba's actual post, that was great read. I'll give you a mention on Sundries.

mezba said...

@Behbood: Good one. Atleast in Bdesh matches we know the outcome from before and only switch on margin of defeat!

@arnab, zainub: yup, know a bit abt Canada cricket. I used to play league cricket in Toronto until last year. Everything Zainub said is probably true. We have potential to have potential but that's it. Most of the guys are from Caribbean or Asia. I think the ICC needs to put aside some money to pay national salaries of two or three minnow countries (canada, nepal, bhutan) and so for Canada it should be $50,000 per player per year for 5 years. That way, Canadian cricketers can consider cricket a full time job and train and play accordingly. They are then better positioned to win, which translates into tv coverage and interest of the locals. The 20Twenty cricket should be popularized in the Americas.

@zainub: Thanks for the comments about the post.