An American sportswriter in India
Wright Thompson, for ESPN, tells of India, Cricket, the Cricket World Cup and how life and culture intersect.
I turn to Rahul. “Do Indians still love the actual game of cricket?”
There’s a pause.
“It’s a delicate sort of question,” he says.
“The thing about Indians’ love for cricket is a lot of it is having something to support India at,” he says. “A lot of it is celebrity. People in love with [team captain M.S.] Dhoni instead of the actual sport. It happens all the time. In the past five years, you find that matches not featuring India don’t draw crowds. It does seem on some level the love is not for the sport itself but for some of the things it stands for.”
Cricket is everywhere. It’s on 24/7. It’s on red carpets with Bollywood bombshells and in corporate boardrooms. But the more it is, the less it is.
“We’ve been so neutered by cricket now,” Rahul says. “There’s so much of it. It’s reached a point where you can be oblivious to it. Indian fans now just watch India.”