Everyone hates fans. The cricket establishment hates it most as they are on social media, always ranting and abusing when things go bad. Nobody likes to hear that one is not doing good not even when one is not playing good. Here is a message I got on my chatbox.
“Please try to understand Cricket. Have you ever played Cricket? Always talk negatively when Bangladeshi players plays bad. But it is Cricket & T20, so you never predict. Always think positively before going for criticize players. You are a professional writer, so try to respect other professionals. “.
It’s true that I am a professional writer but when it comes to sports I am not a professional. Since I have never played cricket, I can’t say anything as a fan. In other words, only experts can comment and fans must stay shut and only pay and cheer the team no matter what.
Yet it’s the fans who keep the game and the team alive. Whether on the field, in front of the TV set or the website ticker, it’s the fans that enjoy and suffer the most. It’s they who care and they are probably the only group who make no money from the business of cricket. They are the only ones who pay to be fans, others get paid to be administrators, experts or of course players.
The migrants in the gallery and the stars on the ground
What was very interesting in the Afghanistan- Bangladesh match was that the crowd was made of migrant workers from both countries. Everyone knows how migrants are treated in their place of work so the team becomes a symbol of the homeland in a foreign place. For them to watch their teams play and win or lose is far deeper than anything the local fan in Dhaka can feel. It gives them a sense of value and self-worth that nothing else can.
In the 10th over the winner predictor had shifted to Bangladesh and to the crowd it was sensational. The way they cheered reminds one of the South African ODIs when Bangladesh won two in a row. It’s the same crowd who was there cheering the team won in a largely crowd free stadium. To the South Africans it was a duel with an opponent which didn’t matter but to the Bangladeshis there, it was their homeland visiting them. When the match shifted, the Afghan migrant worker cheered once more.
This is the big difference between the expert and the fan. To the wise man who discusses a match, he is also trying to prove how good he is at understanding the game. But to a fan, it’s just about the land of his and his emotions. When it wins or loses, he himself does. The fan doesn’t claim to be an expert. He just loves the game and the flag.