Samir Chopra and I have been writing about the joys of following the game without exactly following it (that is, with a delay — waiting for the next day’s newspaper or e-scorecard on Cricinfo). In the early days of this blog, I wrote about the zen art of ‘watching’ cricket through a live scorecard. I also posted this radio memory as a comment on Chopra’s website, but I thought I’d share it here as well:
I only have one memory with cricket-on-the-radio, but it’s a good one. I was still a middle schooler in Bombay in the mid-1990s, and since I was stuck in class, I couldn’t follow the match between India and South Africa at Eden Gardens.
All the students in the class — and in those days, there were 40 stuck in one room — wanted the latest updates, but only one had the foresight (and courage) to smuggle in a small radio. In between classes, when we waited for teachers to arrive and start teaching the next subject, we’d crowd around the radio and hear the faraway stadium in Calcutta burst with applause.
“Azhar’s gone crazy,” one student shouted. “Another 4!” (He went to hit a century off 72 balls.) That’s how the day unfolded: impatiently waiting for one teacher to finish his lesson (but never daring to appear bored, because the discipline could be harsh), and then trying to conjure the images we heard on the radio in our head — Azhar, making us proud.