Tag Archives: Twitter

Dear Cricketers, Talk More. Please.

Wright Thompson (ESPN) was describing an incident from his trip to India a few years ago. He mentioned watching the Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni being crowded by people…fans…in the airport, inside the airplane, at shops, wherever he goes. Mahendra Singh Dhoni is an icon in the cricketing world, and a brand in India.

That is true for many Indian cricketers. They are revered across the length and breadth of the country. Every second brand has a cricketer as an ambassador, or in its advertisement. There are cricketers showing up on your newspaper, the television, the internet. Even in your dreams.

But, look at their social lives – they can hardly come out in the public without drawing excessive attention. Sure, they can have people to help them get groceries from the stores. But, do they get to go to the park and have a  peaceful couple of minutes without 200 people breathing down their neck for an autograph, for a pep talk, for a photograph?

Forget the people, can they just escape from the media breathing down their neck?

Fans

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the captain of the Indian team was sitting a press conference before leaving for the Champions Trophy in England. Indian cricket was reeling under the IPL spot fixing allegations. There were 100 unanswered questions floating around. Nobody had an answer. There they had the captain of Indian cricket team, captain of the Chennai Super Kings, employee/stakeholder of India Cements – M.S. Dhoni – sitting in front of the microphone facing the media. The media asked a question based on the spot fixing issue, and they were hushed up by the media manager. All journalists were asked not to ask questions related to the fixing issue.

101 unanswered questions.

India went on to win the Champions Trophy in ways on Dhoni can explain. Maybe. M. S. Dhoni was asked in the Caribbean tour by Mr. Subash Jayaraman about his methods that amazingly tilted the table in India’s favour in the finals. But Dhoni, in his own way, replied – “If I tell you how I think, there will be no secrets. You’ll have to figure it out for yourself.”

India is a country with more than a billion people, and I assume atleast 6 out of 10 Indians like the game of cricket. We Indian fans idolize cricketers, we mimic their batting and bowling styles. We call each other Sachin or Dhoni to feel good. We always dream of meeting them, spending a few minutes with them, talk to them, know them better. That is exactly what boils over as the emotions of fans who jump over the railings and past bouncers to get close to their idols. 

We want to know more about them all. We are fans, we deserve to know what they like, what they don’t. We can’t figure it out for ourselves all the way. Our love for the game doesn’t end at stumps. It goes beyond it, which is what fandom is about.

I noticed that many cricketers joined Twitter, which is a really wonderful engaging social media. Twitter is where millions of fans can follow you and it gives them the freedom to connect to their idols, something that seems impossible outside the internet. Maybe not. Even here, the players don’t respond to any of the fan cries. Some of them are too self obsessed, showing off their universities, promotions, horses etc. Some of them log on to send occasional festival wishes. Or “Yes. We won.” kind of tweets. I know who won. I was checking the scores on cricinfo.

This is totally different from how basketball players in the NBA use the twitter media, or for that matter – any media – to interact with media houses and fans alike.

Just assume there was a parallel universe in which the cricketers were not chained slaves of their cricket board(s) and were allowed to give candid interviews to journalists, spoke openly on the burning issues of the day, cleared the air about speculations etc. Fans already have the answers to most of their questions. They are still fans. They are better, informed fans. Next time, maybe they won’t ask Ravindra Singh Jadeja eat at a Hyderabadi restaurant if he likes Awadhi cuisine more. Or, maybe they will not send Sachin a video of a monkey playing “Happy Birthday To You” on his birthday, if Sachin is allergic to monkey videos.

In this parallel world, the cricketers might be able to move around freely. More freely, in comparison. They don’t have to worry about the media – they have been answered. Yes, there will be fans coming to meet the players. They will meet them, maybe shake hands, take a photo, wish them luck and move on; knowing the fact that he will be there again 3 days later to buy the same vegetables and sit on the same chair in the park while whistling the same tune from that movie in 1990s.

Getting back to reality, all that is not possible. I wasn’t even allowed to speak to a Ranji cricketer after a domestic game. Fans were chased away from watching the players practice after game (this happens in international games too). I couldn’t even have a “hi – hello” conversation with Nayan Mongia who was playing with his kid in the nets. Does the fan really matter in this game? At all?

The sad fan

(images courtesy HindustanTimes.com and SouthAsiaBiz.com respectively)

(Article based on a conversation with Mr. Rajat)

Bagrat

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Cricket Fan-tyutter-tastic!

I’ll start this post with a little trumpet-blowing and calling myself “active” on the social media “Twitter” over the past year and a half. I mostly spend my time ranting cricket or blocking ‘bots. Twitter, I found, is full of fellow cricket fans, who love the game a lot. And like every-thing that is made of people, there are categories to differentiate the people. I thought, a new twitterati must be given a guide to help understand who falls under what category, so he/she doesn’t end up following me and think Ravi Shastri is why I love cricket commentary.

Drum roll (OK, stop it, all 3 cricket teams I like get bowled out before your drum rolls can end.)…

1. Sachinists

Probably the most famous category of all. If you don’t know where you are, become this, you will have many to protect you. Recognized by periodical chants of “Sachin Is God”,even if he is not playing the game, even if India is not playing in the game. Sach is their life.
Identification marks – Sachin Tendulkar in their twitter DP, or “Sach is Life” written in their profile. Whatever the outcome of the game, they will assure you that SRT will win the world cup 2015. Along with his son (whose bio-data is also known quite well). Easier way to spot – the ones who switch off the TV or walk out of the television room when Tendulkar gets out. Since 1989..

2. The hard-core Sachin Fans

Slightly more cricket-ing nature ones involved here. Some are natural, others recruited from the Sachinist group. Crouching tiger, and hidden dragons them, will prowl at you and mince you to pieces if you say one word against His Highness. Writers, journalists, reporters, legends etc fear confrontation with this group.
Identification marks – twitter bruises on you. Sometimes filled with un-parliamentary words that are often used in parliaments. Also, they will tell me I attracted more views to this “over-rated” page, because I re-arranged the letters “N-i-c-a-h-s” in a particular manner and made it appear at multiple locations on this page to popularize it.
Affiliated group – “I Hate Steve Bucknor”.

3. The hard-core “Dada” fans

Like the title suggests, fans of the Prince of Calcutta, Saurav Ganguly make-up this space. This might sometimes need a requirement to learn Bengali, but mostly, they learn “gali” through conversations.
Identification marks – “I ❤ Dada” written across their DP or bio, constant references to off-side, and first to enter and last to leave any conversation than contain the word “captain”.
Affiliated Group – “I Hate Greg Chappell”

4. Team India Haters

Mostly English speaking, residents of England or Australia, who contribute to the world of cricket by creating a healthy battle-like atmosphere. On twitter, of course.
Identification marks – lots of Vaseline, ironic references to ICC’s world rankings, “I love DRS” written in their BIO.
Affiliated group – “Indo-Pak Unity Group”

5. Sir Donald Bradman is the Greatest

In short – we have not seen him, but we know he is the best. Because all scriptures say so, and I am under no obligation to believe Barry Richards is better. Identification marks – voracious reader of books on cricketing history, nostalgic weep at the mention of John Arlott’s name, Tendulkar hasn’t impressed enough.
Affiliated Group – “Mathematical Group for Rounding of Numbers”.

6. No Way Bradman is the Greatest. I have proof.

Internet savvy, modern day, corporate ready ‘twitteratis’, more adept with the mouse and keyboard hitting permutation than enjoying the game. They can prove that Bradman doesn’t rank among the top-5 modern day cricketers in some way or the other.
Identification mark – internet browser’s home page is CricInfo Statsguru, sometimes stutter when asked “How many tests has Bradman played in India?”. Usually at the receiving end of the other groups mentioned above.
Affiliated Group – “Gayle Is A Legend”

7. The Highway

Media people, mostly television, self-appointed chief selector of Indian cricket on screen, who pick questions making round from twitter and sounding them on air as their own and then starting a non-stop ranting that makes you feel safe twitter can’t talk.
Identification marks – utterly confusing tweets on the game, which will later be superseded by the most popular voice doing the rounds.
Affiliated Group – “I Have No Clue About DRS, But Will Take A Side. And Change Sides Often”

8. New Age Fans

Ever so lively, bubbly fans, unaffected by the turmoils suffered by their cricketers at myriad foreign lands. They are why cricket still simmers even if it is out of gas.
Identification marks – Usually have their favourite player’s photograph in their display pic. Tweet about the game very rarely. Usually tweet in the same manner as – “Ooooooooooh, Raina looks cho cute” when he grins after misfielding or “Mahiiiii, I LOVE YOU” in a yellow jersey.
Affiliated group – “I play IPL cricket”

9. Regional

Based on geographical location of self or heart, these domestic keyboard warriors show good concern to their regional/domestic cricket. In-house fights prevail, most common (in India) being the ones from The Knowledgeable Chennai Crowd, the Mumbai’s “Khadoos Army”, Delhi and considerable volume of voices from other prominent Ranji teams’ fans. This usually ends with which We-Know-There-Is-No-Way-He-Will-Be-Selected player should have been selected.
Identification marks – constant outrage at governing board and leading cricket score lending sites at the non-existence of live-updates, plan to pen the book “How To Improve Domestic Cricket Structure”.
Affiliated Group – “IPL Is Ruining Cricket”

 

Of course, I might have missed some group. I am sorry to you, fellow of “Fans of Amla’s Beard”, “Monty Is A Legend” and “KP. Keiron Pollard. That.Is.All.” etcs. Will you be kind enough and help me by describing it in a comment below? Thanks.

We’re still friends, right?

Sachin – the next big celeb on Twitter

Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) is now on Twitter, and if you haven’t already heard about it, where have you been hiding? There are tweets, blogs, text messages, news paper articles, etc that have been announcing this. And already the number of people following him has hit close to 150,000.

I am not sure this will have the same effect that Oprah Winfrey had on Twitter when she joined (I think something like 1.2 Million people joined Twitter that day), but as far as Indian celebrities go, SRT on Twitter is *big*. I may be wrong, but I think SRK (@iamsrk) is the Indian celeb with the most followers currently, and Sachin should be able to go past him quite easily.

If you are on Twitter, though and love Indian cricket, there are quite a few others from the current team you can follow –

There are probably a few more Indian cricketers, but the one that created the most controversy in Indian cricket with his tweets, Lalit Modi, has quite a few followers. You can read his tweets here -  http://twitter.com/LalitKModi

But be aware that there is no way of determining if all the celebs in Twitter are the real deal or some impersonator. Contrary to what some people believe, Dhoni doesn’t tweet (although there are 4 people claiming to be him)

There are heaps of international cricketers who blog (from Mark Boucher to Darren Gough), but if I were to pick just a couple of colourful personalities to follow, then I would go with these two:

Oh, and just for the record, you can follow i3j3 bloggers too 🙂 –

-Mahesh-

i3j3 on Twitter

We are going to trial Twitter and you can follow i3j3 on http://www.twitter.com/i3j3

If you’ve never used Twitter before, then here is the 2 min elevator pitch for it –

Twitter is a micro-blogging service where you specify your thoughts or what you are doing in about 140 characters or less either via the web (www.twitter.com), using a Twitter client (such as Twhirl) or via SMS using your mobile phone.

People can follow your “tweets” (the 140 character blurb) and you can follow theirs. If someone wants to send you a reply (or address you directly) – they start the message with a  @ followed by your user id (For example – "@i3j3 I disagree – I don’t think Ganguly should retire or be dropped! Ever!!" It can almost be used like a group IM.

You can also use hashtags to discuss a specific topic.

Twitter will allow us to give opinions and updates on matches without having to wait till an end of the day blog. We feel it will complement this blog quite well.

You can also follow a ball by ball commentary of the current Australia vs India series at http://www.twitter.com/baggygreen, but unlike @baggygreen which is powered by a bot, the updates on i3j3 will be done by real people and will be more conversational 🙂

So, what are you waiting for? Get on to Twitter and start following i3j3.

-Mahesh-