Why Did My Love For Cricket Surprise My Husband?

My husband looked as shocked as if I'd suggested he wear pink to a football match. "Are you really into cricket, or are you just here to ogle the dashing players?" he joked.

I grew up in India, in the small city of Ranchi. The city was otherwise quiet, but the streets grew bustling when the cacophony of city life melded with the echoes of cricket. Cricket in India was not just a game; it was a religion, a shared dream, an unspoken language that connected millions. And there I was, a girl in a cricket-crazy world, with three brothers who worshiped the sport as if it was their job.

My first introduction to cricket was the 1983 World Cup

The year was 1983, and the entire country was caught in the feverish grip of excitement as the Indian cricket team made its way to the World Cup final. The whole country was buzzing like a beehive after too much chai-samosa, and even I, a girl who was supposed to be more interested in dolls than wickets, got caught up in the madness.

In the beginning, I started watching cricket not out of love, but because my brother hogged the TV, and let’s face it, watching paint dry was more interesting than the other two channels we had. But something about the World Cup – maybe it was the underdog story, or maybe it was just avoiding household chores – made me a fan.

Among the sea of fans, there I was, a young girl whose interest in cricket was as unexpected as it was profound. Raised in a traditional family where cricket was considered a man’s pursuit, my tryst with the sport began inadvertently. But the 1983 World Cup changed everything. Watching India’s triumph, I felt a surge of patriotism and exhilaration, a feeling that was both new and exhilarating.

My newfound passion, however, was met with skepticism. “Cricket is for boys,” my brother would say dismissively. But I was undeterred. I began following matches religiously, learning the nuances of the game, the players, and their strategies.

Then life happened, but… cricket did not go away from it

Fast forward through a whirlwind of teen drama and the Great Board Exam Scare, cricket took a backseat. Life happened, I got married, settled in my career path, and moved to the USA.

The years between my early fascination with cricket and its unexpected resurgence were filled with life’s myriad distractions. It wasn’t until one lazy Sunday afternoon in the US, as I absentmindedly flipped through channels and stumbled upon a cricket match, that the dormant spark was reignited. The sight of the green field, the rhythmic sound of the ball hitting the bat, all brought back a flood of memories – of sitting with my brothers, of the 1983 World Cup, of the streets of Ranchi. It was like rekindling an old friendship; familiar yet fresh. The game had evolved, and so had I. As I sat there, transfixed, I realized that my love for cricket wasn’t a forgotten chapter of my childhood, but a constant, albeit silent, companion through the years. Internet development was picking up, and every once in a while, my husband and I would sit and watch cricket matches. It used to be fun. My old passion and love for cricket got rekindled.

Then came the 2011 World Cup

It was the 2011 World Cup that truly reignited my passion. Watching India lift the cup was like finding an old love letter in a forgotten drawer. Something stirred within me – a desire to be more than just a spectator.

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In fact, the real catalyst came while watching the second match in the 2011 World Cup cricket tournament series. This became the most compelling story – a tale of quiet rebellion against the norms of a society that saw cricket as a man’s game.

Every time a match got to the nail-biting part, my husband suddenly developed a craving for snacks.

“Honey, could you get some chips?” he’d ask, right when the bowler was running up. Suspicious timing? Absolutely.

In the beginning, I thought it was just a random demand to make me get up from watching the final hours of the match and provide him with snacks. But then I saw it became a pattern: in every match. I decided to confront my husband’s disingenuous desire to disturb me during the intense hours of a cricket match.

“I don’t like eating when I’m under pressure while watching the final overs,” I politely said to my husband. “I want to be there when the last few balls are delivered. Why don’t you get yourself some snacks?”

He looked as shocked as if I’d suggested he wear pink to a football match. “Are you really into cricket, or are you just here to ogle the dashing players?” he joked.

I think he regretted that the moment it left his mouth. I gave him the kind of look that would’ve made a look that would’ve made a lesser man wilt. But bless him, he was just a product of his all-boys cricket club upbringing.

“What do you mean? Why else would I watch?” I replied. By now, I was seriously put off by his remark.

“Really!” he answered back.

Why does my love for cricket surprise you?

But you know what? That silly comment was my awakening. I realized cricket was more than just a sport to me. It was a rebellion, a statement. It said, “Hey, I’m a girl, and I can yell at the TV over a run-out decision just as loudly as any guy.”

I got frantic, because what my husband concluded was not right. As every match unfolded, I found myself unexpectedly captivated. It wasn’t just the intensity of the game that held my attention, but the collective spirit it evoked. I observed my brothers, neighbors, and the entire nation unite in a singular rhythm of hope and excitement. Cricket, I realized, was more than just a game; it was a narrative of passion, resilience, and unity. Watching India’s triumph in 2011 stirred something deep within me—a yearning to be part of the game I had only observed from the sidelines.

My husband, although supportive, seemed puzzled by my renewed interest in cricket. One evening, as we sat watching a match, I decided to delve deeper into his thoughts.

“Why does my love for cricket surprise you?” I asked.

He paused, reflecting, and then shared his own childhood memories of cricket – a game that was a bonding ritual with his father, an all-male affair. He admitted that he had never considered cricket from a woman’s perspective, having always seen it as a man’s game. This heart-to-heart opened a new chapter in our relationship. We began watching games not just as a pastime but as a shared experience, discussing strategies and celebrating victories, bridging the gap between his ingrained perceptions and my growing enthusiasm.

My world has always been rich with imagination, but it often collided with the stark reality of society that viewed cricket as a man’s domain. The game became my silent rebellion, challenging the unspoken norms that dictated “girls don’t play cricket.”

Solitary pursuit took a turn when I discovered a group of women who love watching/playing cricket. So, I found my tribe – a motley crew of women who loved cricket as much as I did. We started watching games together, turning my living room into our little stadium. There was cheering, there was yelling, and yes, there were snacks – but we got them during the commercials, thank you very much.

Now with the convenience of internet speed and readily available platforms to watch cricket matches live, I rarely miss a game. Not only that, I invite all my lady friends, who are genuinely interested in cricket, to come over to my house and watch the game guilt-free, and most importantly, interruption-free.

And so, amidst the echoes of cricket and the crunching of chips, I found my place. In a world where cricket was a man’s game, we were the women who bowled everyone over.

And let me tell you, we were a hit!

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About the Author

Sharda Mishra

I am a photographer and an avid reader. I am not a writer but I like to give words to my emotions. I love to cook and hike. I believe in humor and its impact read more...

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