India is a land of diversity and there are divisions on many levels in our society but Cricket unites us all. Whether it is the limited overs format or the longest form of the game, Test matches, the previous generations spent a huge part of their lives watching, discussing, enjoying – basically living – Cricket. We also picked up the enthusiasm of our elders for the men dressed in a particular shade of Blue running in stadium chasing a ball or two men holding bats hitting on the ball.
Cricket is a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation!
Years before we picked up GK books, we assumed Cricket was our National Game (in case this is a revelation for you, let me enlighten you, our National Game is Hockey!) Even before some of us learnt the Newton’s Laws of motions, we could differentiate between Yorkers and Bouncers. In fact whether we knew the table of 19 or not, we knew the batting averages of our star batsmen by heart!
So much has changed in my neighborhood itself over the years but my and India’s love for Cricket has remained intact. And when it comes to Cricket World Cup, our craziness attains a whole new level.
Cricket World Cups are a big deal for us. It is a chance to prove our mettle in the game but also present India at an International platform. Anything that happens during these days remains etched in our memories forever! Cricket World Cups are like landmarks that show us how we have changed and how the game has evolved with us.
Whether it is the Power Plays that have come into action replacing the first 15 overs restrictions, or the options of asking for a review of umpire’s decision, a lot has changed in Cricket especially ODIs. We have even invented new forms of the game like the 20-20 format.
But somethings have not changed with time – like our tendency to idolize our players.
Decades ago brands recognized our attachment to our players and decided to commercialize cricket and make cricketers into celebrities. They started signing different players for endorsements deals for goods like Castrol, cements, soft drinks, and electronics in addition to social initiatives. When the players endorsed a drink, we all went and bought it to show our support, on the outside, while actually just wanting to be them on the inside. If one of them said he drank 4 liters of milk per day, we increased our milk consumption (love you MSD!) until we found something new.
Change has taken over Indian fashion, presentation has taken a new meaning in India now and Cricket has not remained unaffected. With more and more luxury brands and products entering the Indian market we are seeing our young Cricket stars sporting expensive watches, driving sleek cars and wearing designer labels on TV and in real life.
Many of the new players have become fashion and style icons too. And it is not just about being well-dressed, or having stylish cricket equipment; the players these days get to attend prestigious fashion events and some even walk the ramp for reputed designers!
Of course we have witnessed the modernization of the cricket equipment but our main focus has been on who is sporting what hairstyle or which brand’s clothes does a player prefer!
When Cricket started becoming popular in India especially after the World Cup of 1983, the fashion scene in India excluding the film industry was subdued. Clothes were meant to serve a purpose, it was also the era of Black and White TV. Slowly we saw the uniforms getting color-coded with India getting a beautiful blue for the team.
And then by 1996, we witnessed players experimenting with hair cuts. It was nothing over the top but just a little bit of styling and length. Slowly accessories started becoming more visible at the crease – gold chains, earrings and bracelets.
By the time we entered the 21st century, we saw beards, mustaches and haircuts in every form possible for men. Whether it is MS Dhoni’s long “tresses”, cropped hair or spikes, we have seen these hairstyles spread like wildfire on the streets of India.
With the new generation transforming their bodies into canvass, we are seeing young cricketers sporting tattoos!
Indian men follow the trends on the wicket more than that on the ramps. Maybe it is because we can connect to the players more than we do with the models. For us, the Cricket players are ordinary men working hard and rising high to become extraordinary. There are plenty of rags to riches stories to inspire us.
Of course the performance on the field matters more than the physical appearance and fashion sense any day. And these days when the game has become competitive and keeping one’s space in the team tougher than ever, we really hope the young players will concentrate more on improving their game! Because any one can dress up on any given occasion given some money to splurge but few get to play for the nation!
And when it comes to World Cup, we want to win every single time! And there are plenty to come in the future to bring more changes because Change is the only constant (and India’s love for Cricket!)
Note: This blog post is a part of the Blogger Dream team campaign.