Indian cricketers have the largest support base in the world with a billion people living in India and a few million overseas. Here is a look at some of the major fan clubs supporting the Indian team around the world:
The eternal optimists: These fans think that India will win the World Cup, even if they start with a loss to Bangladesh. They think that India lose matches because of bad luck, not poor performance. To them, the umpire is evil, Sachin is God and oh yeah — Azharuddin is innocent.
The Pessimists: They call themselves the realist-club, but they are the exact opposite of the optimists. They think the Indian team is good for nothing. Sachin needs to retire. Dravid bats too slow. Ganguly is no good. And Sehwag should be dropped. But hey, they still support Team India. I am still trying to work this one out.
The pendulum club: These are the fans that think that India is the greatest team after every win and shower praise on the players who performed in the win. After one loss, India become the worst team in the world and should stop playing cricket… that is, until the next match starts.
The “secret admirer” club: A lot of people belong to this group. They admire a certain cricketer, but will never accept it. For some reason, a lot of Ganguly’s fans are members of this club. This club has also branched out to a sub-club: Members of this club think that if they keep criticizing the player they like, they will somehow score runs or take more wickets.
The Super superstitious fans: These people think that they magically control India’s fortunes based on the place or position they sit in. Even a slight shift from this position will cost India a wicket. This is “the butterfly effect” — the theory that the flutter of a butterfly’s wings affects a tornado half way across the globe — taken to the extreme. Oh yeah, they also try and repeat the winning formula — i.e., wear the same ‘winning’ clothes while watching matches, or do the same things repetitively while watching a game. People (like my own mum) have been known to not watch matches, because India loses every time they watch — Observation of an event changing the event outcome itself? Isn’t that somehow related to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle? Hmm… I may be on to something here!
“Hang ’em high” fan club: This club is also known as the “knee jerk reaction” club. After one failed (or even a few failed) innings or matches, they want the player’s head. They are often known to have advocated that the whole team be sacked (and replaced with whom, we do not know). The coach is usually the first on their list of people to be sacked, followed by the players, the selection committee, BCCI and so on. Sadly, a lot of members the media (or the braying mediocrity of Indian cricket, as Mohan calls them) and some ex-players belong to this club as well.
The radicals in this club go as far as burning effigies of players and stoning their houses.
The database club: It is amazing how some of these fans can spit out records and statistics faster than you can say “database”. They also have a photographic memory of innings and events. If only they put these skills to a much better use…
The arm chair pundits: These are people who have never played the game, but analyze the game and the players inside out. These people discuss things like Sreesanth’s wrist position during ball delivery or Sehwag’s bat angle when it makes contact with the ball. Was it not very simple? Something like “See ball, hit ball”?
The Internet fans: These fans, armed with Google, Wikipedia and a zillion RSS feeds, scour through hundreds of sites looking up data and articles about the Indian team and their favorite players. A majority of them live overseas and these sites help them keep in touch with the sport and the team they have come to love. Some of these fans have even started blogging about cricket – providing an alternate viewpoint of the game and its players. Professional writers, watch out!
Which ones do you belong to? Like me, more than one, I am sure.