The love for Cricket is often difficult to explain through mere logic. It is two teams competing with a bat and ball, but it is also so much more. Sometimes it is as simple as wanting to relax while watching a match after a tough day at work. Other times, it is inexplicable zeal that keeps us up till 3 am watching a game, which may very well end in heartbreak. Through thick and thin, through joy and pain, for better or for worse – Cricket is always there for us.
From staying awake following a match the night before an exam to playing Cricket under howling rain and thunder, I have done it all. I have found myself in the midst of the all-consuming passion of this game since as long as I can remember. Growing up, Cricket brought me life like nothing else. It was blissful to just lay on the couch in my lounge and watch Test Cricket for hours on end. There was truly no experience more refreshing than evening Cricket in our small garden. It was the cure for bad moods and the cherry on top of good days. No matter what happened in my life or in the world, Cricket was a constant. One match after another, endless live displays from across the globe – domestic leagues, international tournaments, T20s, One Day, Tests. Even in relatively quiet seasons, there was always something to follow, obsess over and look forward to.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to a haunting standstill. Life as we knew it was uprooted in a matter of days as any sense of normalcy was swiftly taken from us. In the middle of this crisis, millions of us have lost our normal routines, future plans, and any sense of calm. Athletes are being forced into taking an unprecedented break, the Test Cricket Championship, World t20 and the Future Tours Programme all look to be in jeopardy with no certain date of resumption in sight. Sports around the world have essentially been put on pause making us realize just how desperately we rely on them. Can you believe the PSL was happening to packed crowds just 4 weeks ago? The women’s world cup final was played to 86,000 fans on the 8th of March and now we can’t even imagine sitting on the same table for a meal with friends. As uncertainty looms around my life and as my fears around the health of the people I love grow every day, it feels like there is no longer something to look forward to right now. Cricket, the most essential element of my daily routine, is gone for the foreseeable future.
For most people who do not comprehend the love of sports, it is difficult to imagine why the loss of Cricket would be so important. I believe it was Edmund Blunden who once said 'Cricket to us was more than play, it was a worship in the summer sun.'
Ramzan marks a time of community, family, worship and for a large community, cricket. Every street corner is an impromptu stadium, every ground packed with players and spectators. For KheloKricket in particular, it is often our busiest season. From covering local cricket matches to hosting our highly anticipated women’s cricket tape ball tournament, the month often results in 4 AM finishes and a scurry to make it home in time for Sehri. As we ponder the future of our tiny company, it feels ominous to not have the ability to plan for something anymore. Even once the dust settles, the world will take its time to heal, to return to old ways and to learn to play with each other again.
Sports have the ability to make one believe in magic; that feeling of invincibility, the quest for a happily ever after. The roar of a stadium, the vibration of thousands of bodies and the feeling of calm knowing you belong in your madness. It’s chicken soup for the soul, it’s the balm we all need while we mourn and grieve and it’s likely the thing that will piece us all back together.