March 22, 2007

The all-night watching game

ESPNcricinfo staff

Staying up all night watching and then dragging oneself to work the next day, bleary, bedraggled, hungover with lack of sleep: I really thought I wouldn’t have to do this before the Super 8 stage. But then, we all know what happens if India loses tonight, don’t we?

So here we go. My five tips on how to stay up late for the big game. Or rather – given my experience – how to try to stay up and then fall asleep on the sofa. I shall be watching in India. But if any of you (anywhere in the world) have more tips (How to skive off work and catch the cricket; how to lie in late and watch a game), please keep them coming in. Who knows who’ll need which ones when?

Don’t go to a bar to watch the game: You’ll be too far away from the screen. The commentary will be drowned by the cries of angry waiters asking people to wait, they’re getting the next drink, and shrieks of inebriated laughter from people who find Lasith Malinga’s hairstyle funny. Besides, by the time you get in (or at least every time I have gone to a bar and got in), there will be a bloke twice as tall and four times as wide as you are right in front. Oh, and he’d be there just because some of his friends are and he couldn’t give two hoots about the game.

Actually, stay off the booze altogether: Yes, even at home. I know it’s tempting, especially since you’ve already had dinner and will be giving your metabolism a good chance to work but really, you should know better. If I do it, I begin to nod off ten overs into the second innings. Worse, if you’re smoking along with your drink, you risk falling asleep with your hand curled around your glass and the cigarette burning dangerously down to a stub. I know it’s only me but I once came close to setting fire to the house doing this.

Keep in touch with like-minded, fanatical friends: Text messages are the best. Try and not abbreviate but type the way you would on a computer screen. It keeps you occupied between overs. The witty response requires concentration. (That helps keep you awake.) It’s the only way to watch a match with friends who aren’t in the same city.

Keep the ads on mute: Programme your TV in such a way that the ads, when they come on, go mute. If you can’t do that, press the mute button. Every time. It is acutely disconcerting to hear ‘Oooh, aaah, India, Rah-rah India’ when the team is 64 for 4. Or something. I can barely blink back my tears. Or wish away the sense of the absurd.

Have your defence mechanism on default: We all have ours, don’t we? Being in denial won’t help (I am told that that is the first stage of depression), so have your defence mechanism ready. Here are mine: ‘There’s always next time.’ ‘It’s only a game.’ ‘They tried, you see.’ ‘It happens to the best of us.’

What works for you?

Soumya Bhattacharya is the editor of Hindustan Times, Mumbai. He is the author of two volumes of cricketing memoirs - You Must Like Cricket? and All That You Can't Leave Behind - and a novel, If I Could Tell You

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Posted by Well Wisher Again on (March 24, 2007, 12:59 GMT)

Well hi again, Read the article along with most comments..... I think Nrmal is being a bit too harsh. After all India isnt a good team? No team that crumbles like a stack of cards under pressure can be classed as a good team let alone a team. So I, as a fan of cicket await you next blog "Why I wasted TIME MONEY and ENERGY WATCHING INDIA PLAY". Have fun, and thanks for your tips, they worked, especially as the momentum, excitement and the way Idia played kept me from sleeping. P.S - I even watched the highlights - TWICE

Posted by Nirmal on (March 23, 2007, 22:16 GMT)

You lost. How does it feel exactly?

Posted by Shahid on (March 23, 2007, 13:16 GMT)

it is really surprising for me to see that how one can fall asleep during a cricket game specially a crucial game like this. I work, take evening classes and normally i get back home around 10:30 in the night, but when its cricket it is really hard for me to fall asleep and specially when my team is playing a crucial game. Although India is not my team, i would wonder if any one Indian cricket fan tells me that he is feeling sleepy while his team is playing the most crucial game of all. I dont remember having ever slept one over of a cricket game while Pakistan is playing although now, the sleep seems to have gone forever. I sincerely hope that this doesnt happen to Indian cricket fans. Best of luck guys but at the end of the day dont forget its just a game.

Thanks Shahid.

Posted by Shahid on (March 23, 2007, 13:15 GMT)

it is really surprising for me to see that how one can fall asleep during a cricket game specially a crucial game like this. I work, take evening classes and normally i get back home around 10:30 in the night, but when its cricket it is really hard for me to fall asleep and specially when my team is playing a crucial game. Although India is not my team, i would wonder if any one Indian cricket fan tells me that he is feeling sleepy while his team is playing the most crucial game of all. I dont remember having ever slept one over of a cricket game while Pakistan is playing although now, the sleep seems to have gone forever.

Thanks Shahid.

Posted by Viswa on (March 23, 2007, 13:15 GMT)

Great read. Although, I have yet to meet a cricket fanatic as big as myself. I have seen the ones that watch just Indian cricket and come out of the woodwork only when India is on a roll. On the contrary, I watch cricket no matter who's playing. I've watched Australia play England in the wee hours of the night. But the toughest part of the entire experience is coming to terms with the fact that India might not make it to the next round. If they do, I couldn't be happier (well, I would be happier if they won the World Cup entirely). But if they don't, I don't think I have the mental capacity to withstand such a huge emotional blow. The event continuing (obviously) without India in it is rubbing salt on the wound. Oh well, there are just plain cricket fans and then there are the other cricket fans that take it personally. I guess I belong to the latter.

Posted by Miten - Toronto on (March 23, 2007, 13:01 GMT)

I have a confession to make: I went through a phase when I couldn't bear to watch India play...period. Seeing them play mediocre cricket...knowing the team would lose once SRT was caught by the keeper whiffing outside off was just all way too dissappointing not to mention common. Things have changed..slightly and although I will be at work clicking the refresh button all day...the experience will be relatable all the same. My consolation lies in the fact that I live in North America where most dont give a hoot about cricket so I dont have to listen to anyone talk about the loss or find it all over the front pages of my local newspaper. My gut usually tells me a lot and unfortunately I have a bad feeling about this one..oh boy.

Posted by vivian on (March 23, 2007, 12:27 GMT)

Nice article.Love the OOH aaah part LOL 64-4 u are preety right.Saw the ad against bangladesh :P.I like in australia so i saw the mtch already :P

Posted by vivian on (March 23, 2007, 12:26 GMT)

Nice article.Love the OOH aaah part LOL 64-4 u are preety right.Saw the ad agaist bangladesh :P

Posted by Prachit Rohatgi on (March 23, 2007, 12:10 GMT)

Hey, I am in Toronto, its good that I dont have to stay up..but have to work.....so its even worse then before cause before I could work during the day and watch the game live in nights... but yeah... this time.. i managed to work at home every time india played untill now... so yea.. a word of advice.. if you can then save your flexi hours of job or work at home day for the match. Fans in India..... I used to bring in my close friends together here, we will put music on..., popcorns, some good food, soft drinks... it sets the mood... and watch it together rather then alone on ur bedroom..... or living room cause then u mite fall asleep and miss some parts....

hope this helps.... looking forward to india sri lanka game...

Posted by Sudarshan Ms on (March 23, 2007, 12:05 GMT)

A good article to read,but not sure of how to apply it in practicle life and how effective it is in real life,lets hope for a good fight from India

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