Over at Smoke Signals, Prem Panicker has published an American’s account of becoming a Cricket fan. Prem adds:
On Cricinfo Gopal Rangachary talks of how he became a cricket fan. Strikes me, though we are all fans of the game, each of us acquired our fanboy status in different ways. Chikodi and Gopal have their stories; what’s yours? [Smoke Signals]
It reminded me of of my own entry into Cricket-fandom.
I was a voracious reader from an early age, and reading a newspaper was part of my daily routine by the time I was 7-8 years old. At the time, it was just the regional Hindi newspaper. I especially liked to read the op-ed page and the serialized comic-strip that this paper published. A lot of this reading was beyond my intellectual grasp, but I read it all anyway because there was something new to read every day – something that was not possible with books, though they had their own place in my reading scheme.
It must have been either around the time Tendulkar and Kambli created a new world record, or when Tendulkar played his first series in Pakistan (or was selected for it – my memory is fuzzy on the exact details). There was a newspaper article about Tendulkar, and what a phenomenal talent he was at such an early age. The article also carried a photo of Tendulkar.
It was that photo that made me think – if that young kid (just a few years older than me) can do it, then so can I. Parents were urged to purchase a bat and a ball, cousin sister was recruited to play against me (“one more thing for you to better me at“), stumps were drawn on a wall with a piece of red brick, and a new Cricket fan was born.
A few years down the line, and I was setting 3:00 AM alarms to watch the action in Australia (also triggering my English-learning in order to understand the commentary). A while later, I bunked school for the first (and last, I swear) time to watch a game, which turned out to be the game in which Tendulkar hit his first ODI century.
I could go on and on, but perhaps this should be kept to a personal story about one’s initiation to the game. The longer story of being obsessed with Cricket (going to the extent of watching Bangladesh-Zimbabwe Test matches) is for another day.