Facebook group Panel of Cricket Experts on its sixth anniversary, had organized a writing contest where the members were asked to write about their favourite cricket team including but not limited to what they liked about that team, how they fell in love with that team, happy and sad moments. The top 5 writings of that contest are featured in WicketNepal.com
- Razon KC ( Winner) Australia
2006 was the year, June was the month. It wasn’t the time when cricket finally arrived in my life; the month was when we welcomed our first colored television. It really did add more colors in our life and have been doing so ever since. The atmosphere of the 2006 football world cup was heating up then and we cashed in just about at the right time. I had watched bits and pieces of the 2002 world cup, but I experienced the experience of watching TV when I got to watch the 2006 world cup, in my own home, putting my feet up. It was a lot better than going to somewhere else’s house, cramming a corner and bothering about the etiquette and mannerisms instead of the action on the screen.
I used to get involved in most of the games possible since I was able to run and play. I used to play with my uncle and his friends most of the time, along with some friends of mine in the colony every now and then. I am highly grateful for the fact that I got to play with my uncles then because I got to learn and experience so many things pretty early. That was when I got the spirit of competitiveness sowed in me. That was the time when I became sportsholic, and nothing has changed so far. I was small in size, weak in terms of strength, but I wanted to win and wanted it badly. So, I started learning that I had to work my way other way around to play efficiently and give others run for their money using other attributes. That made me work on my skills, speed and my agility and hence that made me able to compete with my uncles, and not be a liability when we play.
I loved the feeling of winning and there was nothing like it. It felt like being in the top of the world. Yes, the match was played at some field in Pokhara which meant nothing for the people other than those involved, but it meant a lot to me, then and still. Yes, there were victories, there were defeats. Victories were stimulating and satisfying whereas defeats were crushing, but as long as I left everything on the field, I felt content and also do one better next time around. I had done hours in the field playing, but not so much watching up until that TV arrived. So, upon the arrival of our most cherished TV, I made the most of it and watched all the sports I loved and learn as much as possible. Eventually, cricket entered into my life and everything has changed ever since.
“It is always easy to support the team when it’s on a winning roll. But I was impressed more with the process than the result this team was after: The Australian Team! They were fierce, they were fearless, they were bold and they were tough as nails”
Although I had started watching cricket already, but it was the 2007 ICC world cup, when the fever of cricket kicked in and it hasn’t gone yet and won’t go for years to come for certain. Sounds like, there is some connection between world cups and me. Back to the story, 2007 world cup was what captured my imagination and I was mesmerized by this beautiful game of cricket. The moment when Dwayne Leverock took a blinder of a catch at the slip to dismiss Uthappa and his frenzy celebrations is still fresh as a daisy in my mind. The moments when Bangladesh won India and Ireland won Pakistan to knock them out of the tournament and the way media reacted as if the world is about to end, made me realize this is going to be a fun ride and undoubtedly, it hasn’t been any less. Media were like, these are two of the biggest upsets in the cricket history stating that the underdogs won the match out of nowhere and I was like “this reminds me of playing against my uncles and winning sometimes, against all odds.” That was when I got connected with the game right away.
But my major memory of the tournament has to be that I got the team to root for the rest of my life. It is always easy to support the team when it’s on a winning roll. But I was impressed more with the process than the result this team was after: The Australian Team! They were fierce, they were fearless, they were bold and they were tough as nails. I may not know the words I am now describing them with then, but I was blown away with the attitude they played with. They were aggressive, not giving an inch to the opponents. They were full of individuals capable of individual brilliance, but they were more than a bunch of individuals, they were a team; team with the serious motive of winning the “World Cup”. One could easily infer that they were not going to be satisfied with any less, looking at the way they played. I was somewhat molded in the similar nature and spirit but the Australian Cricket Team were the epitome of that and someone I could look up to. The leader of the pack, eventually become my Idol for the very reason and my unconditional journey of supporting Ricky Ponting and company commenced.
“Individuals changed, but not the brand of cricket, which is what made me fall in love with this team in the first place. They were still ready to risk to lose the game in order to win the game. This is what I loved and love about them; the fact that their primary objective to play is to win the game for their country”
I love the fact that they never back down against any of the challenges or any of the situations. They are known for dishing out verbal volleys, but they have always been up for the task when it comes to being on the receiving end. The way they tried to get under the skin of the opponents, be it with the bat, ball or words, they created the spectacle, one way or the other and it was really exciting to watch. They were often misunderstood for their aggressive brand of cricket, at the face style of cricket but it is what I loved about them.
They played hard on the field, wearing their hearts on the sleeves, but the same bunch of players were more than ready to offer chilled beer or two, when the game was done irrespective of they win or lose. They were keen to embrace every measure to get on top of the oppositions without getting over the line. They are humans, proud humans representing their country at the top level, and emotions can be at the peak of the powers. So, I was never surprised with a confrontation or two. I felt like it added to the contest and the theater. Greats come on top of it on most occasions, good may not actually be good enough.
Things changed gradually with the legends of the game dominating the game for most of their career while playing for Australia, bidding farewell one after the other. There were the shoes almost impossible to fill; they left the void which left the Australian team reeling for a bit. But that didn’t change the way they played. Individuals changed, but not the brand of cricket, which is what made me fall in love with this team in the first place. They were still ready to risk to lose the game in order to win the game. This is what I loved and love about them; the fact that their primary objective to play is to win the game for their country. This attitude not only helped them win so many games, but also made the game interesting to watch, which is essential for a spectator of a game.
During the two test series against India in India back in 2010, Australia lost both the match, but they did so while going for victory. Both Tests were nail-biters and could have gone either way, but not to be in favor of Australia unfortunately. It was heartrending but the way they played was gratifying to witness the efforts they put to win the game. Likewise, the way Aussies came back after falling into pieces against Proteas for a meager 47 in the first Test during 2011/12 to level the series, the innings that Clarke played against the same opposition in 2014 against the short pitch barrage, especially from the rampaging Morne Morkel, the way Ryan Harris bowled his heart out when both his legs were giving up in the same match to win the match and then the series simultaneously. The lion-hearted performance of Peter Siddle in Adelaide against Proteas in 2012/13 is worth-mentioning, although the test match that ended up being a gripping draw. The Faulkner blitzkrieg in Bengaluru while chasing monumental 384, unfortunately in losing effort after seizing victory from the jaws of defeat against India, thrashing Ishant Sharma all over the park.
The way Aussies nearly defeated Kiwis while defending 151 in 2015 World Cup. Aussies might have lost that match, but the way they went about their business, the way Starc bowled in that match picking up 9 wickets and hence creating the atmosphere that was created, made that match a contender for the Match of the Tournament for some obvious reasons. These are the very few instances out of plenty, just to highlight why my fondness and fervor towards the Australian Cricket has only gone from strength to strength over the years. Yes, the Aussies have won World Cups, Champions Trophies, Ashes, been No. 1 test nation in between these series of events, which have been the tip of the iceberg. However, the never say die attitude of Aussies have always kept me going not only while supporting Aussies but also in my life. I will forever be indebted to Australian Cricket Team and Australian Cricket Culture for instilling such passion and perspective and will continue to build on this. Many chapters will add onto this already long story in the days and years to come. But for now, it’s time to call stumps for the day.
Follow Razon on Twitter