I have, and this might not surprise most of you by now, a fairly long list of candidates to choose from. Filing taxes is rapidly climbing up that list with every passing year, for example, and is turning out to be a burden in terms of both clerical effort and emotional trauma. Cutting nails is another task that doesn’t fill me with joy. Doing my bed in the morning, not leaving the towel in the bathroom after a shower, passing the University signal every morning, oh I could go on and on.
But I write this column today, dear reader, to tell you that there now reposes at the top of this list a new champion, an undisputed ruler of the roost, a clear winner of all that it surveys. My least favorite thing to do, as it turns out, is thinking of India having to play Sri Lanka.
Well, don’t think of it then, the naive among you might say, blithely casting aside my problem. It is not quite so simple, dear reader, and how I wish it were. A cricket fan, you see, can’t help but do two things. He (or she, but I’m going to stick to ‘he’ for the rest of this article) can’t help but check which series will follow whichever one is being played currently. And he also can’t help but ask, almost reflexively, the following question: “score kya hua?”
Doesn’t matter who we are playing against, and where this match is taking place. An Indian cricket fan will always try to keep himself updated. It’s a habit, a Pavlovian conditioning. If the bell rings, we must salivate.
Except that it’s Sri Lanka, and I just can’t take another India Sri Lanka game. I can’t, so help me god, I just can’t. People of my age were done with matches against Sri Lanka when they scored 952 (that is not a typo) runs against us in the late nineties, in a single, seemingly interminable innings. That match did it for most of us unfortunate enough to have seen it. It was the Isner-Mahut of cricket, only impossibly more boring. And for my generation, it killed interest in these contests for as many lives as the universe will afford us.
And the BCCI has since responded in entirely predictable fashion: by scheduling at least one snoozefest against our neighbours every year. Except this year they’ve gone and outdone themselves – not only have we played against them just the other day, but we now play against them all over again – and all three formats too.
It wouldn’t have been quite so bad if only there was some excitement to this series, some iota of a chance of a balanced contest, but if the last series was anything to go by, there is absolutely no chance of that happening. And so we, the long suffering cricket fans in India, are stuck trying to keep ourselves and our team awake while they play the Lankans, instead of watching them go up against the Proteas in South Africa.
Goody. We just can’t wait.
He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime
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