Does anyone else feel an emptiness in their lives? Or are most cricket fans not as obsessed as I am, and have, you know, other things to occupy themselves?
The end of the World Cup, a month-plus juggernaut, has left me with a completely new schedule — no early mornings; no stealth browsers at work; free time at the end of the night, now not beholden to the demands of sleep. The emotion I have now is the same I feel after finishing a long book, like Vikram Seth’s The Suitable Boy — you devote such a long time to completing it that when it’s over, you start to miss the characters and the happy routine the book’s length created. (Again, I assume most people are not like me and can read quickly.)
There are competing interests in determining the length of the tournament: 1) The Associates want to be included, and the number of teams raises the duration; 2) The broadcasters don’t necessarily want the Associates, but if they have to include them, they insist on a one-match-per-day schedule; 3) The cricket calendar is already squeezed at it is, what with the IPL starting a mere week after the World Cup; 4) There are a whole range of promises and counter-promises made behind the scenes among board members.
But from a fan’s perspective, a long World Cup does have some virtues. This isn’t just a cricket fan saying, “Well, it means more cricket for me.” A team’s journey through the group and knock-out stages is one of the more fascinating elements of any tournament, and the time allows for narratives, pressure and suspense to build. It’s not all a waste, you know.