Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cricket Craze in India - Praying for an Indian win in WC 2011

In India Cricket is a religion and with only 10 days to go – anything about cricket is news.  Today there is a report in New Indian Express of the Chairman of Selectors – Krishnamachari Srikkanth offering prayers at Srikalahasti wishing an Indian win.  Cheeka has been a religious person – one’s individual life is not to be made public; however this reportedly is for the  Team cause and there are millions praying already.
photo from New Indian Express

Cricket is a game like any other sport and there is no need for patriotic fervour.  It is also common for people to pump in support for the teams they like most.  There are 14 Nations in the fray and India is in Group B alongside – South Africa, England, West Indies, Bangladesh, Netherlands and Ireland.  4 teams would go to the next stage of this 7 and we don’t foresee any  problem for India in that.  Thereafter it is short and sudden death – 7 matches involving 8 teams – 4 QF – 2 SF & Finals; thus  any team winning 3 in succession are going to lay their hands on the Cup.

What Kapil Dev held was the Prudential Cup – the same Lloyd had held twice earlier.  With different sponsors, there were different trophies in 1987, 1992 & 1996.  The one at stake now was created in 1999 and has been held by Aussies.  This was designed and produced in London by a team of craftsmen from Garrard & Co (the Crown Jewellers). It  is 60 cm high,  made of silver and gild, and features a golden globe held up by three silver columns. The columns, shaped as stumps and bails, represents the three fundamental aspects of cricket: batting, bowling and fielding, while the globe characterises a cricket ball.   The trophy weighs approximately 11 kilograms and has the names of the previous winners inscribed on its base. There is still room for another ten teams to have their name inscribed. The actual trophy is kept by the International Cricket Council  at Dubai and  a replica, which is identical in all aspects apart from the inscription of the previous champions, is awarded to the winning team and remains in their possession.

To cricket lovers, who regularly provide feedback, in the SYMA Child Fest function,  we had Ravichandran Ashwin on stage.  This was the introduction given by me to the thundering reception he received, when he came on stage.

“When history was created with India winning the WC on 25th June 1983, this tall intelligent off spinner was not even born.  Now he has become a household name. He has taken more than 130 wickets in Ranji and has a 100 to his credit in Ranji. In Dec 2006 he made his debut in Ranji, was the leading wicket taker in that year  and grown from strength to strength.  He was extremely impressive in IPL, was a revelation not only for miserly spells but also for opening the attack in a game dominated by batsmen.  In 2010 following his good performances he donned Indian colour and would from now on be a regular in the squad. He has so far played in 7 one dayers and has taken 14 wickets.  In T20s he has taken 3 in 3.

Indian cricket has now stumbled upon a great player for the future.  In its annals only 13 Indian bowlers have taken more than 100 wickets in One dayers  and that list consists of only 4 spinners (Anil Kumble, Harbhajan, Shastri & Sachin). In Tests there are 16 who have scalped more than 100 and that long list has 11 spinners [Anil Kumble, Harbhajan, Bishan Bedi, Chandra, Prasanna, Vinoo Mankad, Venkat, Shastri, Subash Gupte, Dilip Doshi & Shivlal Yadav]

Sure that in the days to come Ashwin will represent India in Tests also and will be among those illustrious compatriots. By wishing you all the success, we are also wishing our Indian Team capture the World Cup 2011.”

If you are still thinking of Sri Kalahasti where Srikkanth offered prayers, it is place known after Thinnan (Kannappa Nayanar) one of the 63 Saivaite saints called Nayanmaars. Thinnan was a staunch devotee of the Vayu linga of SriKalahasti which he found in the forest while hunting.   His devotion was so high that he poured water from his mouth on the Shiva lingam which he brought from the nearby river Swarnamukhi. He also offered the Lord whatever animal he hunted, including swine flesh and  the Lord accepted his offerings since Thinnan was pure at heart and his devotion was true.  The legend has it that on a day, he noticed blood oozing out of the eyes of the Lingam and plucked his eye and placed it on the spot. Moved by his extreme devotion, Shiva appeared before Thinnan and restored both his eyes.  The name of the place comes from three animals, Sri (spider), Kala (snake) and Hasti (elephant) who worshipped Shiva and gained salvation here.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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