Anna has never been a big cricket fan. He is probably a part of the 1% of Indians who are not cricket crazy. However, I was banking on the legendary rivalry between the 2 teams on the cricket field to snap him out of his current state. He is not even remotely interested! He decides to nap before dinner instead.
|A Bomb Ladi|
Photo Courtesy www.bigislandnow.com
I tell him on Sunday that India won! Still no interest. Then I remember a story about my mother and cricket. Actually, about my mother who watched Sunil Gavaskar's famous test début in Port-of-Spain in 1971.
Anna was working for the UNDP in Trinidad & Tobago. The West Indies had, and probably still has, a vibrant Indian-descent population that embraces and celebrates all things Indian, including Indian ex-pats. So, when the Indian team came to play against the West Indians in Port-of-Spain, Anna got tickets for my mother and himself, to watch the match at Queen's Park Oval.
Photo Courtesy New Arya Bhavan
|Sunil Gavaskar is garlanded at the end of the Test Match|
against the West Indies at Port of Spain
Photo Courtesy www.TheHindu.com
After the match ended, Anna asked Amma how she liked watching a test match. India had won and Sunil Gavaskar was a sublime batsman. Amma was non-committal at first. Then she said, "I don't understand this game. A man at one end, throws a ball over his head at another man at the opposite end, who swings a bat in the air. And they do this for 5 / 6 days at a stretch! Isn't there something better they could be doing?" Amma clearly did not understand the game of cricket!!
Anna smiles as I recall this story. He tells me that Amma never went to see another live match even tho' there were plenty of opportunities. She found cricket boring. Then he tells me that Amma echoed the sentiments of Lord Wavell.
|Printed in The Canberra Times on 27 October 1947|
Anna tells me, "Lord Wavell created a huge controversy in the late 40s when he said that cricket was wasted time and effort."
I respond with, "Really?" hoping to get him to talk more. He obliges.
"Yes", he says. "Lord Wavell said it was the height of absurdity that 22 men could spend 5 / 6 days playing a game, and that too for months on end. And that the British had created the sport merely to provide a spectacle for large crowds of people, wasting a colossal amount of time, money, and manpower."
Insightful, that Lord Wavell chap, I think to myself.
Little did Lord Wavell know the spectacle the game of cricket would turn into!