Normally, I cringe when someone wants to know my age ~ after all there's a saying - never ask a girl her age, right? But whenever talks of India's first ever Cricket World Cup Victory in '83 comes up, I'm the first to raise my hand to say I saw that match, thus, nearly giving away my age. Nevermind, if I was a tiny-tot then, but I was totally awestruck with all that hoopla then too. There may have been games earlier too as the First Official Men's World Cup was in Jun'75 ( and women's 2 years prior ), but that particular match of 83' introduced me to cricket and made me its biggest fan. I can also pride myself ( being a girl ) for playing gully-cricket too, cos' that's what I did every evening with the neighbourhood kids, trying to ape our cricket-heroes ~ and the crushes I had on them, quite early on, still makes me blush. Every world cup I had a new crush, imagine that! What memories they make. I may not remember the exact statistics of the games throughout the 11 games played so far, in nearly four decades, but I definitely remember the frenzy, the euphoria those tournaments created each time they were on... currently, the frenzy being at the hotspot of MCG Grounds, Melbourne till 29thMarch. My take on the topic is ~ what all I remember cricket esp World Cup, over the years for :-)
Flashback : Television was a strict no-no in my house for all, except my father. But God miraculously sent a neighbour to our house, who simply loved cricket but didn't own a television set himself yet. So, naturally, he'd drop by at our place with his son whenever there was a match, and my rather strict father couldn't turn him away, for obvious reasons. And before we knew it, when the match was on, suddenly, there'd be the entire neighbourhood glued onto our TV screen. Some watched from our open door/windows, some sat on the carpet in our living room. That kind of scene is normally what you see in front of shops. In the early eighties, it was a 'reality' in our house. I've still very vivid memories about it. Oh, how things were so different then; and how times have changed!
Cricket has always been known as the Gentlemen's game. I agree, because, unlike other sports that can get quite dirty, rough and physical, cricket has been always played in a stylish 'gentlemanly' patient manner. And yes, stylish it definitely has been. It had its share of controversies too, but instant-action taken has somehow kept the interest in the game alive. In India, cricket has become a religion no less. No guesses who the 'God' is ;-)
TECHNOLOGY - From the old television sets of the 70's & 80's to the Tablets of 2015's
Our first TV was black & white. So, it started all monochrome for me. And how it changed ~ the technology. Not only did the TV screens change to a coloured one with better resolution, but the technology applied in the game itself changed too. 'Live-Broadcasting' got a newer meaning. Day-Night matches became possible due to the technology leap as well. Just look at all the various camera angles and zooms that got modified and better with each game. With slow motion replays ( from various angles ) along with 3rd Umpire decisions to critically analyse and judge a close call, matches are thus now more accurately judged. ( DRS being an important introduction in this ). Hidden Cameras & Microphone are attached in the stumps, so, one can literally be on the pitch itself - our eyes that is and hear every shot as well. Infra-Red cameras too are placed strategically on the ground that detects Hot-Spot, a heat generated between minutest bat/ball contact. And what more, with mind-blowing technology at our disposal we can watch matches on the go, on our Tablets itself.
TECHNOLOGY - From old Giant score boards to digital 'live' score board apps!
There was a time, we'd hope fervently that the commentators would stop blabbering ( all that cricket jargon ) for a while and show the score-board instead. Yes, those days the score boards were huge and manually operated, but the cameras zoomed at them only a few times, adding to our frustrations. So, keeping updated with score was a hard task in itself. We had to ask here and there, what the score was. Now, even though those huge score-boards still exist albeit better ones and fully electronic, we have 'live' scores beeping in our phones itself - thanks to various mobile cricket Apps/SMSes. Things have become so much simpler and more fun. We get updated with each and every ball.
STYLE - From the White Jerseys to the colourful Tees.
Well, much like the Black and White TV, cricketer's attires were all white in the past, making it difficult to guess who was who, which country they belonged to. And as colour television made its way into our lives, the colour of the player's jerseys too changed and how. Each country has their own unique colour that represents them ( ours being Blue ) and with attractive badges of the sponsors attached - they become all the more colourful. Not just that, colourful and trendy glares, bleached or stylish hair/beard, tattoos or other quirky accessories are an usual sight in the field, adding so much drama to the game. One can even notice the difference in their sense of attitude, in their over all appearance which has vastly changed. It is no more the laid-back gentleman's game, it once was. Now, its more stylish, having oomph and panache. And the audience are definitely loving it as well - cos' they try to ape their favourite cricket star's style all too often. Very often, during a match, they paint their face/cheeks with colours of their national flag; a trend, which is getting innovative by the day.
With the T20 matches introduced in recent times, the style quotient of the teams players are on an all time high. Cricket has also become stylish in terms of audience.Bollywood stars/models and other elites are often spotted cheering the team, and though this trend had started way back, these days due to so many cameras zooming, spotting them have become all the more easy. The star-struckness in us doesn't simmer down now, does it?
PERFORMANCE - From the 1st ever cup held in '75 to India's own 2 milestone victories ( 1983 & 2011 ).
I can never forget that look on Kapil Dev's face when he lifted our first trophy in '83, nor the whole Indian team's moment of thrill after almost decades when they claimed the trophy in 2011. After 4 times champion Australia (1987, 1999, 2003, 2007 ), India is currently sharing the number 2 position ( along with WI ) with 2 victories each; and those were no mean feat by any means. ( Other countries that have won WC are: in 1996 Sri Lanka & in 1992 Pakistan, and result for 2015 awaited on Mar29th @MCG )
In all these victories, we see how the body language of the teams have changed too, over the years. Just see the difference ~ how the 1983 team held their cup and the 2011 team held theirs. This body language change is evident in other teams as well. May we say, the earlier teams were or at least behaved quite sober and real gentlemanly, while the newer teams are full of their adrenaline juices pumped, letting their enthusiasm and emotions flow in full scale. And its not a bad thing. It super-charges the whole atmosphere. The aggressiveness, the excitement. With time, the teams have started celebrating their victories too in a grand way- not to mention all the endorsements & perks that comes their way, adding to their glory and jubilation.
In all these matches, over the years, we have seen great performances by all the teams and most importantly all are looking more suave and fit - thanks to good training & fitness regime that they all religiously follow, which adds on the performance. I'm glad our Indian team has left no stone unturned either. They look fit and ready to attack.
TRAVEL - From Lords, Wankhede to MCG
In the past four decades, the World Cup has been played 11 times ( the current one being the 11th ). In all these, the game has traversed from one exotic location to the other. The journey started from England's prestigious Lord's, where few of the initial matches were played; then our own Eden Gardens in Calcutta, then moving Down-Under MCG in Melbourne, to Gaddafi Stadium Lahore in Pakistan; then to Wanderers in South Africa; Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Wankhede and now back to MCG Melbourne. Each of these places are so beautiful and a treat to get a glimpse of, during a World Cup Match. I simply loved, how sometimes they'd show the entire city skyline/
landscape from cameras fixed in hot-air balloons, floating above, hovering near the main grounds. At times, during side-shows or fillers ( during a match day ) - they'd show some more of the locales and I'd lap those up, cos' I've never been to those amazing places ( except Bombay/Mumbai of course ). I always look out for those special 'extras' in a match. South Africa and Australia are my all-time hot picks in must-visit destinations, with Melbourne being the ultimate city. These places add so much to the glamour, that one can't help but keep our eyes glued onto the T.V screens.
CRICKET COVERAGE - From the ever prominent Narottam Puri to much acclaimed Harsha Bhogle.
I'm sure, there may have been many commentators in-between, including some cricketers too who took up to commentary ( after retirement ); but no one comes to my mind as instantly as these two. These two names are synonymous with cricket commentary. While one can't forget Narottam Puri's very serious looking demeanour, Harsha's easy jovial face instantly puts a positive dash into the match; no matter how bad they may be playing on a particular day. I've always looked forward to inputs by Harsha - especially the 'before', 'middle' and 'end' analysis of the game played. Its so much informative, the easy way he says those normally-hard-to-understand-stuff. His way of going about interviewing others too, makes the whole experience of watching the game so interesting and insightful. Ah, an ardent admirer that I am of his, I'd really love to be in his Dream Blogger Team and observe him close if I ever get a chance. Oh! What fun it'd be :-) Writing this post surely made me nostalgic....thank you Harsha.