Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The IPL, cheerleaders and cricketing sense

I was pointed to an exemplary article on Washington Post, by a post by Amit Varma. Before you think I am beginning to go crazy, let me explain. The article is exemplary in showcasing American ignorance to the world. What else can I say? Sample this.
"In many corners of the world, cricket is seen as slow-moving and stodgy, a vestige of British colonialism that is a cross between baseball and napping."
Excuse me, but cricket is truly an international game. We don't conduct an inter-club tournament and call it the World Series. A cross between baseball and napping? WTF? Also, we don't create some vague game and insist on calling it football when, to the rest of the world, football is what the Americans choose to call soccer. Ok, forget the language issue, we happen to be a billion in number. And India obsessively follows the fortunes of their national cricket team through the year. One loss, and the nation is depressed. One victory, and it's euphoric. We don't really need a bunch on American cheerleaders to bring people back to the game as Wax claims. They never went anywhere in the first place. And yes, Wax also says this of cricket.
"The league is also trying to win fans over to a shortened format of the game that is formally called "Twenty20," known colloquially as "cricket on crack." It condenses nearly a week of match play into three hours, with shorter "overs," which are similar to innings in baseball."
We shortened overs? When did that happen exactly? And cricket on crack? Are you sure she was not smoking pot when she wrote this? Unless I turned into a frog overnight, cricket's shorter version was originally the limited overs one-day internationals introduced in the mid-1970s. What the heck is all this shit about condensing a week of play into three hours? It's not a sudden development is it? The Boxing Day test at the MCG in Melbourne did not have any cheerleaders. It lasted five whole days. And yet, it was filled to capacity every single day, and no thanks to skin-showing American cheerleaders. It was cricket at its pure and simple best.

Wax's ignorance is not limited to cricket alone. It seems as though she was stoned throughout her trip to India. Consider this.
"The American women's presence has caused a stir across India, a conservative, Hindu-dominated country where even at the beach, women often shun swimwear in favor of saris, which are made of at least six yards of billowing fabric that covers everything from the neckline to the ankles, sometimes leaving the belly exposed. It's a country where the top female tennis star, Sania Mirza, who is Muslim, is often criticized for wearing short skirts on the court. Some TV pundits pointed out that the Redskins cheerleaders are showing more skin on the cricket pitch than most Indian men will see before marriage."
The sari is six yards of billowing fabric that covers everything from neck to ankle? Ask any Indian man. He will tell you that the sari can reveal more than it hides, if the lady in question chooses to reveal it. It is one of the sexiest garments a woman can wear, albeit difficult for the inexperienced. Also, criticism of Sania Mirza is done by a bunch of mostly jobless, religious fundamentalists who deserve no mention or respect. That's not the opinion of the general public, educated or not.

And these cheerleaders are showing more skin that most men will see before marriage? Are you sure she visited India in 2008? Indian men, and women, are not as prudish as they are made out to be. I have said this before, and I say it again. India is probably the most hypocritical country in the world. Everything from pre-marital sex to homosexuality exists, but away from the public eye. This excellent write-up by Nita sums up the issue quite well.

Frankly, I expected a certain quality from the Washington Post. Next time they get someone to write about India, cricket or anything else for that matter, they must at least try to verify facts. I find the article both judgemental and patronising, apart from being belittling of a game many countries in the world passionately follow. I love cricket. So does my boyfriend. And most other Indian men I know. Cheerleaders or no, they will continue to monopolise the TV remote to watch a vague test match between New Zealand and Kenya on a warm Sunday afternoon. The presence, or lack thereof, of some American women showing skin isn't going to make much of a difference.

4 comments:

aandthirtyeights said...

I read something very similar, specifically on the issue of sex and the Indian woman some time ago:

http://www.desimanifesto.com/world-where-desi-women-want-indian-men/2008-01-07

The blog itself serves as a highly interesting, and often inaccurate look at India from a "Desi" American's point of view.

Nita said...

Shocking but not surprising ignorance. It is shocking that such an article was published in the WP. I can understand it if some provincial newspaper published it because many americans are not well aware of what India is all about.
Also in rural India, women expose a huge amount of their bodies! A total lack of understanding of India. They look at India as if its some homogeneous unit, like Saudi Arabia.

Vikram Nandwani said...

Ignorance is Washington Post :) Loved the Post

LandBeyond7Zs said...

There is about half the world of difference between cricket and football. I was a cricket fan and is a football fan. I switched to football for practical reasons. Both games can bring in drama, which is enjoyed even by macho guys. It is extremely boring for a football fan to casually watch cricket.

Football ties in harmony with american corporate culture. The coaching staff(lot of them) has a clear plan preceeding the game as wells as every play. The players go to the play to execute that strategy clearly and precisely. The player can display(carefully chosen) his inviduality within the context of the play. The coach unloads on the player, who goes out of the scheme. Everyone on the team has to be on the same page to execute a play. The drama is the unscripted part of the plays.

Cricket reflects the dramatic and enigmatic nature of India. Every one is playing within the context of the game, yet noone is completely in charge of the game. Not all plays are in the playbook, let alone the concept of playbook.
The entire game is a drama like a bollywood movie. The coaches do not have the same power in the game. The players have lot more freedom. Not all the plays have that much importance. The do not call a timeout, if all the players are not perfectly in position. A time out is not worthy, if the team has not made a read on the opponents play before the play starts. The strategies in cricket is executed with a passive mood. Yet, it is a wonderful game, because it all happens without much aggressive planning.

I would be able to enjoy both the games equally(?) well. When is the football season starting..? What was the score of that last test match?