Amit Varma has a great piece on India's obsession with cricket
People who are cynical about long-distance relationships know nothing of cricket and Indians. Non-resident Indians around the world pine for cricket as if their lover is an ocean away, and go to insane lengths to stay in touch. Prem Panicker, a legend among NRIs for his cricket writing for Rediff, once told me about a bunch of US-based Indians who, visiting India, dropped in to his office to chat with his team. This was a decade ago, and Rediff had just finished doing ball-by-ball commentary of the 1996 World Cup, and were wondering if such effort was worth it. “We wrote more than 60,000 words over eight hours during a day’s play,” Panicker told me. “We were wondering if anyone actually read that much.”
These kids did. They described to him how six of them would gather at one of their places, and they would follow the game in batches of three. One batch would sleep while the other half would ‘watch’ the game via the ball-by-ball commentary, refreshing the screen ferociously. Then, at the innings break, they’d wake the other batch up, brief them on what had happened, and go off to sleep. The other three would then take over. Refresh. Refresh. Refresh. All night.
Panicker said that this story was an eye-opener for him, as he realised how much cricket meant to these kids. “All of us like the game,” he said to me, “but this was like an obsession.”
Read the full piece