They shouted and screamed, blew their noisy trumpets and beat their lousy drums while the lady was being mouled in the centre, so ruthlessly © Getty Images
They shouted and screamed, blew their noisy trumpets and beat their lousy drums while the lady was being mouled in the centre, so ruthlessly © Getty Images

 

In the days of yore, game of cricket was treated like a queen. Gentlemen treated the game with respect. Ladies dressed up in beautiful attire, including fancy hats and delicate gloves, to go and watch the game. Even the applause on a good cricketing act was loud enough only for 10 people around to hear. In other words, like a queen, cricket did not need any publicity or loudness. It was loved and respected like a queen by one and all.

 

Passionate debates on the ups and downs of the day’s play followed by the predictions of the next day’s game dominated the pubs and the coffee houses. Some cursed the mistakes made by their favourite batsman and some applauded the bowling of their favorite bowler. Cricket rivalry became the binding factor between nations.

 

In those days, flirting and foreplay with the lady lasted for six days including one ‘rest’ day. Gentlemen had to tackle many obstacles, including that witch called weather, to win the heart of this lady. Most of the time, the lady eluded both the warring sides and urged them to try harder next time. This lady managed to keep the gentlemen passionate and determined about her by such acts of elusion.

 

As is the nature of man, passion turned to lunacy and soon they became ‘restless’. They started to strip the game slowly. Little by little. First, they did away with the rest day, as if taking off the useless glove off the lady’s hand. The sight of the gloveless hand had to make men a tad more aggressive. Gurus started to justify this move by saying that it helped them win her more often.

 

Suddenly, these gentlemen thought “if taking off the glove could help them so much, what if…”  Hence came the “one-night stand” version of the game, more popularly known as Limited-Over cricket or One-Day cricket. Result became more important than the play itself. Win her by hook or by crook became the mantra.

 

This was the time for these men to shed their gentlemanly whites and reveal their true “colors”. Growling with aggression, shouting, screaming, sledging and what not. They made enemies of their fellow men just for the sake of winning this lady for one day! Be it Mahabharath or cricket, quite an irony that one lady could make so many men fight so fiercely against each other.

 

Flirting with the lady did not stop here. These men went further to strip the lady even more into what’s now known as T20. It sounded like a lady in her hot pants and halter top. Sight of her really pumped up the adrenaline of men and they went berserk slapping the ball thoughtlessly left-right and centre, like a defeated warrior wielding his sword.

 

Ironically, audience in the arena swelled to record levels. They shouted and screamed, blew their noisy trumpets and beat their lousy drums while the lady was being mouled in the centre, so ruthlessly. Cricket was reduced from a queen to a…

 

Like a silverline in the dark cloud, now-a-days we get to see few more five-day ‘foreplays’ than in the recent past. Hope to see this gentlemanly game revive itself and redress the queen in her full glory.

 

Long live the Queen!

 

(Musten Jiruwala is an entrepreneur from Bangalore in his mid-40s. Apart from managing his business, he indulges in writing, poetry, acting, directing and also dancing. Though he can’t sing, he loves to sing too. His passion for cricket is now only limited to watching and reading about cricket, though he tried to push his son into becoming a cricketer, but in vain)