Thursday, May 15, 2008

Times change people

I'm finally back to the blogging world after a self-initiated hiatus of around a year and a half. Hope that this time, the renewed fervor for writing will last a bit longer than the previous attempt. At a time when cricket and the Indian Premier League is hogging the headlines in India and has captured the imagination of the world with some superb marketing, how can a die-hard cricket fan like me be left far behind? But if u just started guessing that this is going to be another review of an IPL game, rest assured, this ain't anything remotely related to cricket. I guess there has already been an overdose of the game through IPL. Let me introduce two contrasting scenarios at this stage before moving on to the crux of the post.

Scene 1: Eden Gardens, Kolkatta, 13th May 2008, Kolkatta Knight Riders v/s Delhi DareDevils

There's only one name reverbrating in the packed Eden Gardens "Shoaib". Shoaib was the hero of the day with his match-winning spell of 4 wickets for a paltry 7 runs.

As I was witnessing history being made in IPL by Shoaib, thoughts flew back to another incident 8 years ago.

Scene 2: Eden Gardens, Calcutta, Sometime in 2000, India v/s Pakistan (First India-Pakistan series after the Kargil war)

Eden Gardens crowd turned hostile after a controversial run-out decision against Sachin, effected by Shoaib Akhtar. Again only one name on everybody's lips. "Shoaib", but this time being booed more so because of his nationality than for the decision.

Then came a thought. Is patriotism relative?? Can people who once deemed a person as a villain due to his nationality accept him as a hero, when he plays for their city. Well I believe that's exactly the concept that IPL is trying to instil in people. This incident reminds me of another very similar incident in the soccer world. Christiano Ronaldo was booed by the whole of UK, when he faked a foul against England in the World cup in 2006. But once he started playing for Manchester United, the following season, he again became the toast of the same nation that had booed him.

Dual patriotism happens all the time in soccer and it will be interesting to see if the cricket crazy fans of India have the flexibility to sustain the dual patriotism in our national game.

Signin Off...