I mentioned L. Balaji in my last post, and I realized I know little to nothing about the man. That’s because Balaji began his career in the Indian team during one of the intermittent periods I stopped following cricket (circa 2003). As any member of the Indian diaspora will tell you, following cricket before the Internet age (and even now) can be tremendously difficult when you live in a country that doesn’t care about, or quite possibly hasn’t heard of, cricket.
As a result of wandering around the globe, my timeline as a cricket fan looks something like this: 1996-1998; 2007-present. I obviously checked in at crucial points (like the 2003 World Cup), but otherwise, through high school and most of college, I checked out. My biggest problem was that, for a very long time, I didn’t like reading about cricket so much as watching it — and if your cable network didn’t have Doordarshan, that meant you were basically cut out of the loop. (This was before illegal Internet cricket streams changed my life.)
That means I missed the 2001 Eden Gardens Test, and Rahul Dravid’s rise, and Ganguly waving his shirt, and L. Balaji and early Irfan Pathan. (I did catch the 2005 Ashes because of a chance vacation in Europe, which explains my now irrational interest in English cricket.) And it also explains why I can’t stop watching and talking and writing about cricket now — making up for lost time.
Anyone else have cricket gaps?