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The Indian cricket fan needs to mature

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India_Cricket_fanDefeat is never easy to accept, in life or in sport. And when you are an Indian cricket fan, it is almost impossible to digest.

The Indian team’s recent defeat to Pakistan in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy has brought out the worst in the country’s cricket followers, yet again. The disparaging tone adopted by the Indian fans about Kohli and Co. this time has been particularly scathing. Some have attributed this embarrassing loss to their arch-rivals on the team’s complacency and over-confidence and many have even openly insinuated, without any proof or logic, that the result of the match was pre-decided and that the over-paid Indian cricket superstars have now become corrupt.

Bear in mind, though, that Team India is currently ranked No.2 in the ICC ODI rankings. They were the defending champions entering into the Champions Trophy 2017 and reached the finals of the event with almost clinical efficiency. In fact, the current Indian team looks even better and more polished than the one that won the previous edition of the Champions Trophy.

 

But then, Indian cricket enthusiasts do not tend to go by logic. They need results and if they do not see their team winning every single time, then the team would have to face their wrath. So after just one big loss, the Indian cricket team has been put to sword by its followers, disregarding whatever stupendous achievements this talented bunch has achieved in recent times.

While the Indian cricket fan has always known to be fickle, the outrage this time has been especially disappointing. These reactions were quite the norm in the early 90s when the Indian team used to struggle more often than not. It also happened in the 2003 World Cup when India lost their first game to Australia and it happened after India’s premature exit at the 2007 World Cup. But ever since, Team India has transformed into one of the best sides in world and has dominated sides everywhere. The fans, though, have continued their irrational behaviour even now whenever the team slips.

Quite simply put this is getting tiresome now.

The fickle Indian fan

One understands that the supporters want their team to be the best in the world, but getting paranoid and hyper after every victory or loss is now getting tedious. Exactly when the fickle Indian cricket fan will begin maturing is hard to predict, but the earlier it happens the better it would be for the sport in the country.

The oft-repeated criticism by the fans whenever Team India loses these days is that the players are overpaid superstars who are only concerned about inflating their pockets. The criticism then veers towards how Indian cricket is responsible for the deteriorating condition of other sports in the country.

 

The point is: have Indian cricketers demanded loyalty from their followers? Have they stopped anyone from rooting for other sports? Have they forced the board to pay them such colossal amounts for their services? Then why malign them unnecessarily?

Today, social media has become another tool in the hands of these fans to spew venom on the cricketers whenever they lose. In fact, every little move of the players is dissected in such minute detail these days that it is mind-boggling.

Once upon a time, the Indian cricket fan used to defame its cricketers by pelting stones at their houses or burning their effigies. These days, ‘trolling’ players has become a fashion and getting personal with their rants on a cricketer they do not like for any reason is a much followed pattern. The reality is, the Indian cricket fan has become more and more volatile and bitter with a certain sense of condescension towards any and everything. Social media is just giving him the perfect tool to vent out his frustration in every way imaginable.

 

If one observes the followers of other strong cricket nations like South Africa, Australia and England, you will find a real sense of maturity in them. Sure, they too get disappointed when their team loses. But you will be hard pressed to find a cricket fan from these countries behaving over-zealously. South Africa, for example, has been notoriously fallible in ICC events for years now. But you don’t see their fans losing it. When Australia crashed out of the World T20 last year and this year’s Champions Trophy, their fans took it on the chin.

In fact, even a relatively smaller country like Bangladesh has fans who support their team to the hilt through thick and thin. But the Indian cricket fan refuses to mature.

It isn’t even as if the Indian team has been constantly floundering. On the contrary, they have been on one of the finest runs of late. But a thirst for glory every single time and a refusal to accept the reality of sport has led this churlish behavior to be the norm now.

Achieving a balance

If only the Indian cricket fan can comprehend what a difference they can make by being a little more prudent and mature. Yes, be critical of the team when it’s required. But to be so overtly hyper after every loss is completely uncalled for. And neither is it too wise to be overawed by the team’s victories and treat cricketers as demigods. Achieving a balance somewhere in between is essential for Indian cricketenthusiasts today lest things go completely out of hand one day.

The amount of cricket that is played these days, a team is bound to lose every now and then and even go through a lean phase. It is high time the Indian cricket fan, much like supporters of other teams, learns to settle down and just enjoy the sport for what it is – a sport.

 

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