My earliest memory of watching cricket is from the 1992 World Cup. I was seven years old. As a kid I had glanced at cricket matches before without really registering anything. The first cricket game I ever truly watched was India v Australia at my uncle’s house in Calcutta. On Doordashan, before the days of cable TV. I felt there was something different about this game. Everyone (even my mum) was watching it. Why? Because, she said, it was the World Cup and India was playing. The Original Jaddu made his debut in that game (he got 49 opening the batting I think). This catch is DEFINITELY my first ever cricketing memory.
There was something quite magical about a man plucking a moving object (not an air hostess) out of the air like that. This was the moment I fell in love with this wonderful game (of glorious uncertainties of which there were many along the way). India lost that match. I think we needed four runs from the last ball with Shastri (?) and Javagal at the crease. One of them got run out going for the third run to tie the game (I could check Cricinfo for the stats but where’s the fun in that?!). But I still remember the excitement around the house in that last over. The buzz. The post-game analysis. High drama. I was hooked. I also remember quite vividly a tied match against the Windies with skipper Azza taking a superb diving catch to finish the game. This short, curly haired fellow, Sachin something, was bowling the last over ( he went on to get a few more wickets during his career…and some runs)
What a spectacle it was! Coloured clothes, white cricket balls, bright lights and massive grounds with big crowds. And to top it all, a Glass Globe as the ultimate prize! Thus began my love affair with cricket – with the ’92 World Cup. So once we found out the World Cup was back in Australia after 23 years, a huge group of us booked tickets in the pre-sale last February to the quarters in Adelaide and Melbourne, semi finals in Sydney and the grand finale at the MCG (in the hope that India would follow us wherever we went…) A friend gifted me a replica 1992 India t-shirt for my birthday in October last year (get yours here -http://www.icccricketstore.com/cwc-2015-mens-india-1992-replica-playing-shirt-71970.phtml). We looked up flights. We looked up ferries. We looked up tickets for the Sydney Opera. We planned and planned and planned. Every Sunday evening for months.
But then, being all grown up got in the way of this dream cricket trip (but in a good way) so those plans lie shelved for the moment.
Guess I’ll just have to wait another 23 years to watch the World Cup final at the MCG. Even then, I’ll see it through the eyes of a seven year old.