October 16, 2009

Thank you, uncles

There's nothing quite like watching cricket with grumpy old men for company
29

I've watched a lot of cricket over the past few years, sometimes alone, sometimes with knowledgeable cricket-analysing friends who spend the time between overs discussing the biomechanics of the square cut or the quality of top-soil required for a track that will spin on day four. I love it.

But nothing comes close to my childhood cricket-watching experiences, when watching a game meant watching it with my dad and a group of uncles whose love for the game was matched only by the depth of their collective bias.

This was during the mid-eighties, when India, buoyed by a World Cup victory followed by a few successive tournament wins, suddenly gave their fans cause for optimism. Finally, despite the presence of Madan Lal and Ashok Malhotra in the team, we believed we could win cricket matches against the very best teams, except West Indies. My uncles were probably a part of the first generation of the "We must win every game, take a wicket every over, hit every ball for four - otherwise we suck" category of Indian cricket fan that is so commonly found today.

They were an imposing bunch - bank managers, insurance company head honchos, and NRIs of uncertain occupation ("Oh, he is with some big company in Muscat"). You couldn't disagree with them, unless you were one of them. Their wives would grumpily serve coffee, mutter under their breaths and retreat to the safety of the kitchen. The kids would never dare admit they liked Craig McDermott or Carl Hooper or Richard Hadlee if that specific player was out of favour with the grand council. Deep down, you suspected they didn't know all that much about cricket, and were sure that they had no actual say in team selection or match scheduling. But I don't think they had any such doubts - they gathered, snacked, and let fly with some of the most colourful, memorable, and sometimes downright bizarre cricket-based utterances of all time.

Most of them seemed to pull off the rather impressive feat of believing that India was simultaneously the best and the worst team in the world. "Useless fellows!" someone would thunder after a heartbreaking loss. "They should stop playing cricket altogether for a few years." As if depriving the team of international competition would somehow ensure that they would suddenly discover a winning formula. Yet, despite this evident negativity, they expected India to win every single game, in the manner of devoted parents sincerely believing that their dullish son would one day achieve exam scores that were disproportionate to his ability and prove that he was better than Sanjay Dugar, or whoever was the designated "first-rank" boy in class. This expectation of non-stop success from India is about as fair as expecting Harbhajan Singh to rack up a Test match batting average in the low fifties. Yet, thanks to the efforts of the early fans, the thought process continues unabated to this day.

If my father's opinion of every single lbw decision given against Sachin Tendulkar is to be taken seriously, his (Sachin's, not my father's) Test average would be 66.87. Include close run-out calls, dodgy caught-behinds, and catches close to the ground, and it inches closer to 75

One of the uncles, a particularly opinionated gent, (he was senior management at TVS or some other South Indian business giant, and was probably used to every single one of his opinions being enthusiastically agreed with by an army of safari suit-clad subordinates) was known for his impulsive and emotional responses to events on the pitch.

A misfield would result in, "Amarnath should be sacked immediately", causing my young mind to conjure up pictures of BCCI officials hurriedly running on to the field to convey the bad news to Jimmy, who would then sadly trot off and play no further part in the match. A good catch would result in, "He is the only fellow who is playing for the team. Sack everyone else and make him the captain", a suggestion that essentially meant that the athletic fielder would be skipper of a team that had no other players. I can only hope that my uncle's management style at work did not reflect his cricket team selection views - it would have resulted in a number of junior managers at TVS losing their jobs because they had forgotten to bring their pens or neglected to berate the peon over his shoddy footwear.

The uncles' favourite players were also expected to be granted immunity from being dismissed leg-before. If my father's opinion of every single lbw decision given against Sachin Tendulkar is to be taken seriously, his (Sachin's, not my father's) Test average would be 66.87. Include close run-out calls, dodgy caught-behinds, and catches close to the ground, and it inches closer to 75. If my dad could figure out a way to somehow introduce an element of doubt to the times Tendulkar has been out clean bowled, his average would probably be around 3269.53. Well above that pesky Bradman, who only played against mediocre attacks anyway.

But despite believing that K Srikkanth was better than Sunil Gavaskar, despite insisting that umpires from Pakistan, Australia, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, West Indies and England (other than Dickie Bird) were cheats, despite claiming that Hindi commentary has dismissed more Indian batsmen than Wasim Akram has, these were men who loved their cricket, and made sure that a bunch of us youngsters inherited that love. Thank you, gentlemen - watching the games with you was a blast.

Anand Ramachandran is a writer and humourist based in Mumbai. He blogs at bosey.co.in

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • SridharSampath on October 18, 2009, 11:20 GMT

    Fantastic article Anand! I am sure you are one of my long-lost cousins I haven't seen in the last 20 years. How else woud you know about MY Uncles, father, grandad? Seriously, I miss watching cricket with my extended/joint family. Watching cricket with them on TV or at Chepauk was an unforgettable experience. BTW, do you know how many times Sunny Gavaskar got out immediately after the commentator/TV screen flaunted his stats? Ask my Uncle...

  • Ashok22 on October 18, 2009, 7:29 GMT

    A True Story of most Families in India in General, and more so to South India. TV and ODIs have brought this wonderful cricket bonhomie of all families joining in one house to enjoy Sport and Lunch/Dinner, and judge players, praise them or curse them!

    Before that kids were to accompany elders, reluctantly initially, to Western Gallery Stands, with Packed Lunches. It was the Chikki, and Bajjis on sale by hawkers, which attracted kids like us and the noise. Slowly you imbibed and absorbed Cricket, over three, in lesser than Tests(Hyd hardly figured in Test Scene those days in 60/70s), like Ranji, Moin-ud-dowla etc.

    Those were great memories, and I am enjoying T20, live at Uppal Stadium,Shouting unabashedly and enjoying. Age, I guess is no bar to Fun!!

  • 68704 on October 18, 2009, 3:07 GMT

    Excellent piece Anand. Reminds me of my youth and people of my age , sadly belong to that breed. I grew up in Madras at that time and from my own experiences, the knowledge of a section of people in Madras was far superior to that of most others ,definitely in India. You can still hear some of these guys in the test matches being played in Chepauk. There was one subtle difference though. Unlike your uncles, they knew their cricket. They wanted India to win , but India hardly won in the sixties and seventies. "Why is Underwood bowling round the wicket?' "GR VIshwanath is the greatest Indian batsman,not that boring Gavaskar""Why is he not changing McKenzies"end, he should bowl from the pavilion end". If Australia and West Indies were playing a match at the Gabba, violent arguements would break out in the streets of Mambalam about Rowan and Egar and how they should be allowed nowhere near a ground where the Australian cricket team was playing. Thank you for reviving those memories.

  • DaveKiwi on October 17, 2009, 23:31 GMT

    I love cricket and the Black Caps because of my Grandad, he taught me to play and educated me why it should be played. I miss him and his comments. A very good article that brought back some old memories for me. Thank You Very Much Sir.

  • Atul on October 17, 2009, 9:25 GMT

    Another point I must make here is that people from Tamil Nadu in general and Chennai in particular have a grand tradition of following Cricket and in Cricket literature. I noticed it with a Tamilian friend of mine - his Dad and grand dad had encyclopedic knowledge of Cricket. I have noticed this in these comments as well!

    Keep it up guys! It is my ardent desire to watch a test match in Chennai for precisely this reason.

  • Atul on October 17, 2009, 9:20 GMT

    Lovely article, Anand. I'm sort of jealous reading the article and all the comments here. I wish I would have been born 10 years earlier. We only started watching Cricket in the early nineties, past the great WI age.

    The most tense, and thus the most entertaining bit during the time was when Sachin was batting - in other words, when all 10 wickets hinged on a single wicket!!! All sorts of charges - from ball tampering to drug usage were levelled against any bowler who attempted swinging the ball or bowling faster than Sachin could manage :)

    However, the Cricket experts are still around. The latest rant when anyone catches me watching a test match: "Oh, you still watch test cricket? Watch 20-20 yaar, everything done and dusted in 3 hrs!" - as if I have bought an Ambassador in the SUV age!

  • Itchy on October 17, 2009, 8:55 GMT

    This article reminded me not of family, but the odd person who resides in the SCG Members area with a loud voice, a multitude of opinions and a complete lack of knowledge of cricket (any form). You will then hear their views on the cricket on display for the next 6-8 hours and how it was better at some other point in history. At least at home, I could go and watch on another TV - or go to a mates place and watch!

  • rvaidya on October 17, 2009, 3:21 GMT

    Couldn't agree with u more:-)

  • gnarayan on October 16, 2009, 20:01 GMT

    Excellent article, Anand! This brings back some nice memories! The 84 Benson & Hedges world series cup win was the first cricket match I remember watching.

    Also, at that time, not every household in our neighbourhood had TV, so we had some 10-20 people sitting in the living room - with uncles telling us kids about how some cricketers aren't patriotic, conspiracy theories of how umpires (in those matches in Sharjah when India kept losing to Pakistan) were bribed into giving decisions unfavourable to the Indians, and so on.. You're right, that's probably what spawned our generation of extremely passionate and overreacting cricket fans!

  • thestunner316_15 on October 16, 2009, 19:56 GMT

    roflmao - the best article ive read in a while... ah those were the good old days... i remember my dad saying - eveyone should give sachin a share of their money, coz he did most of the work anyway... though he hated him to the core - i love him more than he hated sachin, God knows why... the comments by the readers are awesome.. particularly by SoftwareStar, the one with - who is playing?? is it test or one day and the match strategy bit had me in splits...

    hindi commentators did take more wkts than akram.. thats one thing i dont miss... lol..

  • SridharSampath on October 18, 2009, 11:20 GMT

    Fantastic article Anand! I am sure you are one of my long-lost cousins I haven't seen in the last 20 years. How else woud you know about MY Uncles, father, grandad? Seriously, I miss watching cricket with my extended/joint family. Watching cricket with them on TV or at Chepauk was an unforgettable experience. BTW, do you know how many times Sunny Gavaskar got out immediately after the commentator/TV screen flaunted his stats? Ask my Uncle...

  • Ashok22 on October 18, 2009, 7:29 GMT

    A True Story of most Families in India in General, and more so to South India. TV and ODIs have brought this wonderful cricket bonhomie of all families joining in one house to enjoy Sport and Lunch/Dinner, and judge players, praise them or curse them!

    Before that kids were to accompany elders, reluctantly initially, to Western Gallery Stands, with Packed Lunches. It was the Chikki, and Bajjis on sale by hawkers, which attracted kids like us and the noise. Slowly you imbibed and absorbed Cricket, over three, in lesser than Tests(Hyd hardly figured in Test Scene those days in 60/70s), like Ranji, Moin-ud-dowla etc.

    Those were great memories, and I am enjoying T20, live at Uppal Stadium,Shouting unabashedly and enjoying. Age, I guess is no bar to Fun!!

  • 68704 on October 18, 2009, 3:07 GMT

    Excellent piece Anand. Reminds me of my youth and people of my age , sadly belong to that breed. I grew up in Madras at that time and from my own experiences, the knowledge of a section of people in Madras was far superior to that of most others ,definitely in India. You can still hear some of these guys in the test matches being played in Chepauk. There was one subtle difference though. Unlike your uncles, they knew their cricket. They wanted India to win , but India hardly won in the sixties and seventies. "Why is Underwood bowling round the wicket?' "GR VIshwanath is the greatest Indian batsman,not that boring Gavaskar""Why is he not changing McKenzies"end, he should bowl from the pavilion end". If Australia and West Indies were playing a match at the Gabba, violent arguements would break out in the streets of Mambalam about Rowan and Egar and how they should be allowed nowhere near a ground where the Australian cricket team was playing. Thank you for reviving those memories.

  • DaveKiwi on October 17, 2009, 23:31 GMT

    I love cricket and the Black Caps because of my Grandad, he taught me to play and educated me why it should be played. I miss him and his comments. A very good article that brought back some old memories for me. Thank You Very Much Sir.

  • Atul on October 17, 2009, 9:25 GMT

    Another point I must make here is that people from Tamil Nadu in general and Chennai in particular have a grand tradition of following Cricket and in Cricket literature. I noticed it with a Tamilian friend of mine - his Dad and grand dad had encyclopedic knowledge of Cricket. I have noticed this in these comments as well!

    Keep it up guys! It is my ardent desire to watch a test match in Chennai for precisely this reason.

  • Atul on October 17, 2009, 9:20 GMT

    Lovely article, Anand. I'm sort of jealous reading the article and all the comments here. I wish I would have been born 10 years earlier. We only started watching Cricket in the early nineties, past the great WI age.

    The most tense, and thus the most entertaining bit during the time was when Sachin was batting - in other words, when all 10 wickets hinged on a single wicket!!! All sorts of charges - from ball tampering to drug usage were levelled against any bowler who attempted swinging the ball or bowling faster than Sachin could manage :)

    However, the Cricket experts are still around. The latest rant when anyone catches me watching a test match: "Oh, you still watch test cricket? Watch 20-20 yaar, everything done and dusted in 3 hrs!" - as if I have bought an Ambassador in the SUV age!

  • Itchy on October 17, 2009, 8:55 GMT

    This article reminded me not of family, but the odd person who resides in the SCG Members area with a loud voice, a multitude of opinions and a complete lack of knowledge of cricket (any form). You will then hear their views on the cricket on display for the next 6-8 hours and how it was better at some other point in history. At least at home, I could go and watch on another TV - or go to a mates place and watch!

  • rvaidya on October 17, 2009, 3:21 GMT

    Couldn't agree with u more:-)

  • gnarayan on October 16, 2009, 20:01 GMT

    Excellent article, Anand! This brings back some nice memories! The 84 Benson & Hedges world series cup win was the first cricket match I remember watching.

    Also, at that time, not every household in our neighbourhood had TV, so we had some 10-20 people sitting in the living room - with uncles telling us kids about how some cricketers aren't patriotic, conspiracy theories of how umpires (in those matches in Sharjah when India kept losing to Pakistan) were bribed into giving decisions unfavourable to the Indians, and so on.. You're right, that's probably what spawned our generation of extremely passionate and overreacting cricket fans!

  • thestunner316_15 on October 16, 2009, 19:56 GMT

    roflmao - the best article ive read in a while... ah those were the good old days... i remember my dad saying - eveyone should give sachin a share of their money, coz he did most of the work anyway... though he hated him to the core - i love him more than he hated sachin, God knows why... the comments by the readers are awesome.. particularly by SoftwareStar, the one with - who is playing?? is it test or one day and the match strategy bit had me in splits...

    hindi commentators did take more wkts than akram.. thats one thing i dont miss... lol..

  • ani146 on October 16, 2009, 19:21 GMT

    GREAT article Anand... reminds me of the nineties, when during the tri-nation tournaments in australia, on week-ends and holidays, some of the UNCLES from neighbourhood would come over to our place to watch the games, starting around 5:00 AM IST... their comments used to be hilarious and with their KNOWLEDGE of the game, each of them were suited to be chairman of the selection committee of BCCI... the only downside was that my poor mom had to make tea for the gang every hour!!!! and if an opponent wicket fell as the tea was served, you can guess the rest....

  • Dibyo_Basu on October 16, 2009, 18:19 GMT

    I totally agree with your POV :-)

    I actually watched the games with my grandad and dad (sometimes along with their friends) ...... was indeed a blast.

    However the best "uncles" are the ones who come to the Life Member stands at the Eden Gardens, Calcutta ! They actually shout out suggestions to any player fielding by the boundary !

  • SeenuSubbu on October 16, 2009, 17:59 GMT

    ROFLMAO. Anand, did you spy on my family or what? There would be one wise old guy in every living room that watched cricket in India, isn't it? I visited some relatives in Chennai, and watched some circket in the landlord's house, and it was hillarious to see that my uncles from Bangalore had all come down to Chennai in different avatars, so much that I had one alter ego for every uncle of mine right there :-) It's a shame that BCCI has realized this passion that runs down to every single grandma and aunt in every single corner of India, and has milked them effectively to sit on a pile of cash bigger than most African countries' national reserve. It's a shame that they don't spend a bit of this cash on improving sporting infrastructure in underprivileged segments of the society.

  • SoftwareStar on October 16, 2009, 17:49 GMT

    another set is.. withstanding 30 minutes of prannoy roy's "the world this week" just to see cricket highlights played somewhere in Aus/WI/England etc.. of course after his rattling on perestroika and gorbachev.. (i think those were the only 2 words he ever said in that program :-) ) he would show cricket for 30 seconds..

    the same was with Narrotham Puri (forgot the program's name) at 3PM on sunday.. just to watch rare cricket highlights.. had to withstand him and his dusty Indian car rallys..

    watching Doordarshan's symbol with its trademark song.. and waiting for the start of the match.. again after a prolonged and unnecessary introduction by Narrotham Puri or Anupam Gulati..

    taking parent's permission to bunk school for Aus Vs Pak 1987 semi final game. In fact they said ok coz i was such a big fan of Border, Deano and Waugh!!

    bunking school to watch a match by keeping an onion under my armpits and getting a fever.. on 2 occasions..

  • SoftwareStar on October 16, 2009, 17:35 GMT

    brings back lovely memories. my list includes..

    2 switching off the TV and turning it back on ... the other team's batsman will get out. 3 my mother and some of my aunts watching for 5-10 min and asking.. is it a test or ODI (even when it was played in Aus with colored clothing).. if you say "test", then next would be "you ppl watch test matches also is it.".. to avoid that if you say "ODI", the next q would be, "where is this being played".. as though they can device a strategy based on the country's pitches.. 4 teasing our girl-cousins who were rooting for Rojer Binny and Ravi Shastri.. 5 me thinking @5 yrs, if this batsman hadnt got out for 5 more minutes, he could have got a nice cool drink 6 (in the 90s) driking milk at night and unknowingly keeping the tumbler in front of my parent's bedroom so that i can be notified at night when i am watching cricket in the Caribbean. Then pretending to sleep at 5AM when he woke up.. , first thing he would do was test how hot the TV was

  • bonaku on October 16, 2009, 11:34 GMT

    hilarious, i think it happens in every family ... i can see my dad or my bro...

  • cooldewd on October 16, 2009, 11:23 GMT

    Loved this article and I loved the comments just as much. I love Indian overreaction to every situation concerning teh test team. It is simply brilliant! "This guy is more interested in endorsements/Bollywood career/dating actresses/all of the above rather than giving his all for India - the selectors should have sacked him a long time ago" and other such pronouncements. I would love to see more articles about the golden age of Indian cricket - the 70's and 80's when Indians flocked to test matches and were the most knowledgeable cricket fans in the world, before 20/20 dulled everybody's senses. Keep it up guys! Regards from an admiring Aussie.

  • junkrealm on October 16, 2009, 7:36 GMT

    Great article. I can totally relate to it. My earliest experience is of a big gathering of uncles for the 1992 WC final, though india wasnt playing. I was 6 years. I dont remember much, but i remember being kind of scared when people would start shouting and cursing.It was at a neighbour's house and we were served chips, some other snacks,drinks and tea. Gradually i came to enjoy such gatherings. But i must tell you such things are not so common nowadays, except for say an india-pak match.

  • Theena on October 16, 2009, 7:19 GMT

    Fantastic article. Reminded me of times watching cricket with my dad. It was remarkable how he'd reduce the complexities of the game to 'hit a four and finish it off' or 'bowl him out, I need to sleep'.

    Good article, man :)

  • boundless on October 16, 2009, 7:00 GMT

    Well said. I think Sunil Gavaskar too feels that itch and tries to play grumpy uncle's role collectively for all of us, to the best he will be allowed.

  • pradeep_dealwis on October 16, 2009, 6:58 GMT

    lol..gr8 article....reflecting the good ol days when every bit of cricket has some fun element...long before dead flat pitches, T20 and ODI scores of 350 became the the norm....there was an unpredictability and rogue naturalness to the game those days.... now its a flat pitch..bang bnag 4 or 6...cricket has lost that old charm!

  • onejubb on October 16, 2009, 6:50 GMT

    Nice....uncles rock....esp. ones who feel that: every match that india wins has to be fixed! Indians cant play fast bowling! Indians will kill the spinners a routine pick up and throw by an aussie sweeper cover is magically transformed into "see...nothing like the aussies when it comes to fielding" Our useless fellows spend too much time on ads. too much cricket madness in this country. other sports like hockey, archery, gymnastics should be supported. See how china is doing at the olympics!.

    Uncles for PM!

  • Alokp on October 16, 2009, 6:05 GMT

    Grandfather who played for his college and had something like an encyclopaedic knowledge of the game (not to mention opinions on the third man and the quick single) made me the cricket fan I am today.

    I find it impossible to watch cricket with any of my uncles for their unbearable cynicism and frustratingly gold-fish like memory of the game happening. Guess they remember the 1990s all too well.

  • krishnans on October 16, 2009, 5:51 GMT

    Awesome article.. can totally relate to it :D . At home, we have a resident expert commentator - my grandma. Initiated into the game by my grand-dad, she can sit and watch any match, even aimless test matches involving England and "not Australia" :D, for hours on end. Her comments are simply priceless and as you said, usually involve sacking players or the Indian team taking a long hiatus. She is particularly harsh on the Indian fielding and at times suspects that other teams have about 5 or 6 men extra in the field.

    "Thandulkar", "Sewang" and "Mohammad Kay(f)" top her list of current favourite players though her all-time favourite, for reasons unknown to anyone else, is Maninder Singh :D

  • oneders on October 16, 2009, 5:45 GMT

    It reminds me of watching a cricket match with my family, the whole lot will take an off day just to watch Srikkanth bat, and he would get out in the first over!!!! The rest of the day will be an education for us on the choicest bad words ever invented!!!!

    If its an Indo-Pak match and if India is batting, God help us...we were only allowed to move in between overs and not during them, nobody was allowed to change channels, because that would get the batsman out.....and there would be a running commentary on where the field placings should be, what shot is best effective, how to bowl the outswinger, how to play leg spin, etc etc.....those were the best days of my life!!!!!!

  • Sekhar_S on October 16, 2009, 4:37 GMT

    LOL :) I can see some elements of Bosey in the article;like having a skipper without 10 other players. This article brings to my mind the 1996 WC quarter final between India and Pakistan when I was the lone nephew watching the match at my uncle's place (guess where? Nanganallur) that was crowded with neighbours and a few other relatives.The focus of the day was Javed Miandad--whether he would bow out in style or shame. Most of my contemporaries' interest in cricket began with the 1996 WC.I believe the current generation would vouch for the T20 Wc 2007 or the IPL.

  • May4sBeWithThem on October 16, 2009, 4:21 GMT

    Thanks, Anand - brings back a lot of fond memories - and a reminder how we developed a love for this game in the first place... only thing to add was that these sessions used to be peppered with "this country is going to the dogs" :-)

  • sysubrceq0 on October 16, 2009, 4:08 GMT

    those days are gone... to sit and enjoy the game, now everything is fast paced... dont know waht kind of shot they play in T20... and people feel happy for 4 when it edges and disappoint on classic cover drive for 2 runs... now everytime the discussion will be next ball 4 or 6 runs.. and dont have time to discuss how well he played or defended the ball.... those good old days will never come back Anand

  • tejas.v.pradhan on October 16, 2009, 3:54 GMT

    An excellent article. Reminded us youngsters how the love for cricket began in this country.

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  • tejas.v.pradhan on October 16, 2009, 3:54 GMT

    An excellent article. Reminded us youngsters how the love for cricket began in this country.

  • sysubrceq0 on October 16, 2009, 4:08 GMT

    those days are gone... to sit and enjoy the game, now everything is fast paced... dont know waht kind of shot they play in T20... and people feel happy for 4 when it edges and disappoint on classic cover drive for 2 runs... now everytime the discussion will be next ball 4 or 6 runs.. and dont have time to discuss how well he played or defended the ball.... those good old days will never come back Anand

  • May4sBeWithThem on October 16, 2009, 4:21 GMT

    Thanks, Anand - brings back a lot of fond memories - and a reminder how we developed a love for this game in the first place... only thing to add was that these sessions used to be peppered with "this country is going to the dogs" :-)

  • Sekhar_S on October 16, 2009, 4:37 GMT

    LOL :) I can see some elements of Bosey in the article;like having a skipper without 10 other players. This article brings to my mind the 1996 WC quarter final between India and Pakistan when I was the lone nephew watching the match at my uncle's place (guess where? Nanganallur) that was crowded with neighbours and a few other relatives.The focus of the day was Javed Miandad--whether he would bow out in style or shame. Most of my contemporaries' interest in cricket began with the 1996 WC.I believe the current generation would vouch for the T20 Wc 2007 or the IPL.

  • oneders on October 16, 2009, 5:45 GMT

    It reminds me of watching a cricket match with my family, the whole lot will take an off day just to watch Srikkanth bat, and he would get out in the first over!!!! The rest of the day will be an education for us on the choicest bad words ever invented!!!!

    If its an Indo-Pak match and if India is batting, God help us...we were only allowed to move in between overs and not during them, nobody was allowed to change channels, because that would get the batsman out.....and there would be a running commentary on where the field placings should be, what shot is best effective, how to bowl the outswinger, how to play leg spin, etc etc.....those were the best days of my life!!!!!!

  • krishnans on October 16, 2009, 5:51 GMT

    Awesome article.. can totally relate to it :D . At home, we have a resident expert commentator - my grandma. Initiated into the game by my grand-dad, she can sit and watch any match, even aimless test matches involving England and "not Australia" :D, for hours on end. Her comments are simply priceless and as you said, usually involve sacking players or the Indian team taking a long hiatus. She is particularly harsh on the Indian fielding and at times suspects that other teams have about 5 or 6 men extra in the field.

    "Thandulkar", "Sewang" and "Mohammad Kay(f)" top her list of current favourite players though her all-time favourite, for reasons unknown to anyone else, is Maninder Singh :D

  • Alokp on October 16, 2009, 6:05 GMT

    Grandfather who played for his college and had something like an encyclopaedic knowledge of the game (not to mention opinions on the third man and the quick single) made me the cricket fan I am today.

    I find it impossible to watch cricket with any of my uncles for their unbearable cynicism and frustratingly gold-fish like memory of the game happening. Guess they remember the 1990s all too well.

  • onejubb on October 16, 2009, 6:50 GMT

    Nice....uncles rock....esp. ones who feel that: every match that india wins has to be fixed! Indians cant play fast bowling! Indians will kill the spinners a routine pick up and throw by an aussie sweeper cover is magically transformed into "see...nothing like the aussies when it comes to fielding" Our useless fellows spend too much time on ads. too much cricket madness in this country. other sports like hockey, archery, gymnastics should be supported. See how china is doing at the olympics!.

    Uncles for PM!

  • pradeep_dealwis on October 16, 2009, 6:58 GMT

    lol..gr8 article....reflecting the good ol days when every bit of cricket has some fun element...long before dead flat pitches, T20 and ODI scores of 350 became the the norm....there was an unpredictability and rogue naturalness to the game those days.... now its a flat pitch..bang bnag 4 or 6...cricket has lost that old charm!

  • boundless on October 16, 2009, 7:00 GMT

    Well said. I think Sunil Gavaskar too feels that itch and tries to play grumpy uncle's role collectively for all of us, to the best he will be allowed.