The 15 stages to cricketing heartbreak

Cricketing defeat often engenders similar symptoms to heartbreaks. Usually, there is a clear progression of stages that lead up to its inevitable appearance. The cricket fan can try to read the signs and pull out early rather than getting sucked into what will eventually be a perpetual nightmare. Leading into the knockout stages of the world cup, particularly the Pakistan-India game, I find it prudent to revisit these stages to ensure that cricketing audiences are well-prepared to deal with a potentially depressing aftermath.

The early signs are always the same.

Stage 1: Work can wait.
Much like a romantic, hopelessly infatuated with the subject of his love, you become obsessed with the game. All other mundane daily tasks are rendered meaningless. The first thing you tend to do is to stop paying attention at work.

In the digital age, romantics will often stalk the Facebook profiles and photos of their love interests. Us cricket fans have our own unhealthy obsessions. We have Cricinfo.

You could be working for the biggest company in the world, facing the toughest deadlines imaginable. You’ll get out of it somehow. You know what’s more important? Reading the Cricinfo preview.Sometimes however, even Cricinfo is not enough. To get a more comprehensive overview of the game, you might hit twitter to understand the public sentiment. When even that doesn’t do it for you, reluctantly you will turn to Pakpassion to listen to the fans ranting at each other. It gives you peace knowing there are people like you out there who also have nothing else to do in life.

Note, this is not something you should be proud off.

Stage 2: People start to annoy you
As a huge cricket match approaches, normal people whose Facebook statuses are usually flooded with details of their mundane social or love lives will suddenly switch to cricket. As a self proclaimed guru of cricket fans, you may find this extremely hard to digest. When you get home after a tiring day of reading Cricinfo previews and blogs, you open up Facebook and see your timeline flooded with cricket updates. A whole population of facebookers is suddenly displaying great passion and excitement for the game.

“Newbies”, you chuckle to myself.

Stage 3:You can’t stop talking about it
As obsessed as you are, you need someone to talk to to relieve your stress. You call up your equally obsessed cousin who is the only person you know, who is as stressed out about the game as you are. Together you debate the game to death. Ultimately you both decide that your team will win and there is no point in worrying about it.On that very reassuring note you both set your alarms and hit the bed.

Stage 4:You can’t sleep
You sit up in your bed. Sleep is the farthest thing from your mind. You re-read the Cricinfo preview and double check the starting time for the game. You know that you’ve already set your alarm but just to be sure you want to set it again. “What if the alarm isn’t working?”, you think to yourself worriedly.

Paranoid moron that you are, you set your alarm for just one minute later. When it goes off, you are finally sure that the alarm is working. You set the alarm for 30 minutes before the start of the game.

Two minutes later, you check the alarm again.You just need  to make sure you set it to AM instead of PM.

“Wow I really need to get a life”, you think to yourself before eventually passing out.

Stage 5:The dreams
You fall asleep. You have an extremely elaborate dream about the game. Your team wins! As you happily watch your players celebrating, you hear a ringing sound in the background.

“Damn, it was just a dream”, you think disappointedly.

Stage 6:Calls at odd hours

The ringing sound is coming from your phone. No, it’s not the alarm. Your cousin is calling  you again.He can’t sleep. It’s two hours to the game. And you’re up.

Your cousin and you go over all the points that you discussed a few hours earlier. The tension of the game has gotten to you and you are now sure that your team will lose. Your cousin convinces you that you are simply being paranoid and that your team will win.

Don’t believe him. He’s lying.

Stage 7:The sleepless hours

There’s one hour left to the start of the game.You know that you have to work tomorrow and it would be ideal if you could get some sleep. You close your eyes and hope for some sleep. Nothing happens.

Stage 8:The alarm rings
A half hour later the alarm bell puts you out of your misery. It’s game time.

Stage 9:The previews
You put on the previews and listen to two old farts rambling on about how your team’s reverse swing or spin gives you  the edge.

Don’t believe them. They’re lying.

Stage 10: The toss
You wait for the toss. Your internet stream is playing an ad on the ‘claim time solicitors’. You think that the girl in the advertisement is cute. As ads continue to blare on your stream, you check the internet and discover that your team has lost the toss.

“Never mind”, you say to yourself. “The victory will be even sweeter if we win after losing the toss”.

It won’t. As soon as you lose the toss in a  big game you lose the game. Walk away right now!

Anyway your team will be bowling first.

Step 11: The dropped catch
A catch goes down. You want to tear your hair out. However, you realize that the moment has passed and there is nothing you can do about it.

“It’s all in the past”, you console yourself. Quickly, you re-focus your attention on the game.

Two overs later the batsman at the other end is dismissed.

“See it all evened out”, you tell yourself.

It never does. The dropped catch will haunt you for years.

Stage 12: The pause
Your cricket stream suddenly crashes. You are glad to get a small break from the game and run to the restroom. When you come back, you are excited at the possibility that a wicket could have fallen. You put  the cricket stream back on.

The ‘Claim Time Solicitors’ ad is on again. This time however, you take one look at the cute girl in the ad and get pissed off.

“Bitch”, you mutter under your breath.

The ad break meanwhile is extending beyond the normal time.

“This can only mean one thing”, you think to yourself excitedly.”It’s a long break because a wicket has fallen”.

You await the new batsman. But alas, it’s never a new batsmen.Turns out there was a delay because the side-screen had some issues.

Stage 13: The Kaalee bud dua (black enchantment)
It’s been a while since a wicket fell. You are on the phone with your cousin. You both realize that it’s time for some drastic measures.  Your cousin tells you that he is now putting a kaalee bud dua on the current batsman.

The kaalee bad dua is an elaborate process. The way it works is that your subject has to stay on strike for four consecutive balls. On the second ball there will be an LBW appeal or an appeal for caught behind against him. The appeal will be turned down. Don’t worry, this close call is merely a confirmation from God that the kaalee bud dua is in effect.

If the Kaalee bud dua works, batsman will get out on the fourth ball.

There are a few crucial prerequisites for the kaalee bad-dua to work. Both the participants in the phone call must believe that the bad-dua will work. If either person’s belief wavers even slightly, the batsman will be able to get off strike by taking a single and the kaalee bud-dua will be rendered meaningless.

If the kaalee bad-dua doesn’t work, it is likely that your cousin will tell you that it failed because you didn’t believe in it. Don’t be too sad though. 2 overs later the batsman will get out. It seems that the kaalee bad-dua did in fact work but the result was produced with a bit of a delay. Well, in any case you’re happy that your belief has been repaid.

It is now the end of the innings and the opposition has racked up a decent score.Once the innings concludes you get your snacks and return to the TV.

The old farts are back on. They all agree that your team is still the favorite to win the game.

Don’t believe them. They’re lying.

Your team’s batting innings finally begins.

Stage 14: You hold your pee

You have this superstition that if you leave the game to pee, your batsmen will be dismissed. Therefore you feel that you have to hold it for as long as you can. You sit loyally by the TV for a long time. Your team makes good progress and does not lose a wicket.

Finally when you can no longer control your bladder, you head to the toilet. You pee to your heart’s content. You feel much more relaxed.When you come back, you look nervously at the scorecard. Yup, a wicket has fallen. You blame yourself.

Think about it, you’re blaming your pee for a wicket.  Seriously, this is beyond obsession. Get out now!

Stage 15: You become desperate and clingy
Much like the closing stages of a romance, this stage is inevitable. As wickets fall regularly, you become more and more anxious. Finally your tail-enders are at the crease . Logic is still telling you that the game is over.

But you’re desperate now. When your tail-enders starts to slog, you stare hopefully at the TV again.

“Miracles do happen”, you tell yourself.

They don’t. The game is lost. Shut off the TV and go to sleep.

DISCLAIMER: All rights to the Kaalee Bud-Dua are exclusively reserved for Mr Shoaib Naveed

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About Assad Hasanain
Follow me on twitter @LeftArmAround

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