It feels strange resurrecting this blog today. On a Saturday when Andhra Pradesh is in turmoil and the atmosphere above it is seething with cyclonic venom, writing a blog on cricket, and thereby reviving The Cricket Watcher's Journal when one no longer follows the game with the same avidity and regularity as before, seems the most frivolous thing to do. I cannot disagree with that. However, to my mind, the reasons for doing so were as compelling - Sachin Tendulkar has declared his innings and Cheteshwar Pujara has risen up to score yet another First Class triple hundred. Difficult to say if it is the agitation by cyclonic events or just the two cricketing events mentioned above that is responsible, but the pages began to flutter again.
This blog pleaded mercy as I stripped it of all its posts. Those 2500-plus fusty posts that a server somewhere was lugging around. Only the exhaustion of deleting all those posts in one go prevented me from clicking the 'Delete Blog' button. I couldn't be bothered anymore that day. It was once a fat blog this: Robert Burton, had he been alive today, might have been referring to this blog when he wrote "vast virago" into that passage filled with opprobrium aimed at lovers' blind admiration of their mistresses in his The Anatomy of Melancholy. Indeed, this blog had turned very much my mistress, and my dotage was totally blind to its shortcomings and my own comfort. Eventually, one did tire of it all.
Not that the entire blog was a worthless piece of shrill rambling - Balajhi did his utmost to lend dignified substance, but its time had clearly come. Our time had come to retire from the intense, sapping and metronomic job of watching cricket these days and blogging instantly about it. The vehicle for expression - a blog - had also become passé. Twitter was just that much more convenient a vehicle to express one's limited opinions on cricket whenever pause of leisure was made available to one's mind by bossy weekdays and tired evenings. Whenever ennui of repetitive, same-type, inconsequential daily cricket on television cracked and leaked out a portion of interest, Twitter was the quickest platform to stuff all the opinions into parcels of 140 characters. And no need to ever look at what you posted again the next day. The timeline changes so rapidly that it, while unable to avoid the stumbling block of boredom, could bait and hook with some tweet or the other. Twitter is the new mistress of our time. It is the voice of our hobbies and interests today. So why the resurrection, you might ask. And that brings me to Sachin and Pujara.
He has declared that his innings shall close on 200. Sachin Tendulkar, the boy whose cricket made me remain a cricket watcher when the journey to other stations of life had already commenced, in the fan's argument with himself, deserves watching and a few words at the end of a truly long innings. When I began to watch him play cricket, I'd discuss him with my father. My father passed away and I became a father. My son grew up to be an independent man - all during the span of one Sachin Tendulkar's cricketing career. There is no way I can let Sachin retire without showering a few of my own words along his final walk to the dressing room. Whatever their quality.
And then there is Pujara. Cheteshwar, who struck a scintillating triple century for India 'A' against the visiting "West Indies 'A' to steal the match and even the series - all normal work for him - is somebody I like for what he represents. The man who puts back the value in structure and process. The man who can pull out rabbits from his bat and help his team succeed or survive. The man with a healthy consistency in Test cricket: I want to watch him play at least 15 Test matches per year during the most productive, youthful and physically fit phase of his career.
Given the constraints of times these boys play their cricket in, that's not going to happen. Since the lad is special, even though he is performing with a high level of consistency, I'd like to see him pressure himself for a higher level of consistency in the 8-10 Tests he will play each year. He's that kind of a player who makes the pages flutter again and makes me want to remain a cricket watcher.
Of course there is Virat Kohli too.