Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Philosophy of Cricket

It is for no simple reason that Indians love cricket. Though I am unaware of any such thesis in this direction, my humble claim is that cricket is the game with most philosophical connotations. Thus, as a nation of born philosophers, we lapped it up. One may argue that then British guys must be the masters of philosophy to have invented it. I happily concur to that argument as there can be no more fun than beating the masters at their own game.They could have invented it but, we philosophize it.

Cricket is inherently a game combining individual and social skills. When you are bowling, batting or running after a ball - you are at your individual best. When you are diving to save a boundary and throwing the ball to the wicketkeeper's gloves, you are a complete team-man. When you are sledging the batsmen, you are social, though in a negative manner. Cricket offers both aspects of life in a beautiful way. In contrast, for example, Tennis is a deeply individual game. Football - a social one. We may get an individual Maradona moment in football sometimes but, that is noting comparable to the individual legends produced by Cricket. It also calls for the greatest team spirit. When you form a small nucleus of 11 soldiers fighting against a mighty demon on the crease or trying to help the poor bowler from your team with devastating fielding - you are in a team.

Cricket also swings. It is a game of glorious uncertainties. So close to the life. You think that the batsman made to the winning score and then comes a little known bowler to rip the batsmen through. You think it is only time to finish the match in favour and then it rains.

And lastly, in the batsman dominated game, it focuses strongly on the man in front of the stumps. Like a soldier trying to protect the citadel. The whole world conspiring against and yet, the batsman remains calm, looks straight to the ball - coming at lightning speed/spin - and decides the course of his bat. Did Arjuna in Mahabharata required higher concentration to aim at a moving fish by looking at its reflection ? One may argue. But again, Arjuna was doing it once. The batsman does it for every ball. So much like the challenges of life. Then the decision of middling, hitting or completely leaving the ball ! Again, much like facing, hitting or evading the life's challenges.

How can one watch cricket and not identify his life to be played there..really ?

Ohh, and not to mention the beauty of two umpires who gives or takes life when the situation demands so. You can appeal against and never know what the third umpire will think about it.


  1. Sorry could really not understand the relation to philosophy. And that we, Indians, are 'philosophers' while the rest of the world is not is a little hard to digest. Going by that, should Greeks not be into this game too ?

    You probably wanted to point out the difference between the philosophies if am not too mistaken.

    I also was reflecting a few days back upon something strange - China, another very old civilization with strong lineage of philosophers hardly engages them into any team sport [my knowledge is shallow and am mostly thinking of their performance in soccer, hockey, cricket] - while they at the same time rule the roost [look at olympics] in most of the games where only a single person matters the most.

    Interesting open ended question then would be are individualism and gamesmanship in a team immensely orthogonal and driven mostly by social heritage and choices ?

  2. @journey called life,
    interesting observation about China. my claim was the cricket is the game with most subtle undertones connected to life. calling it "philosophy" is oversimplification.
    Greeks would have loved it, I think :-)
    Another reason, Indians love cricket since, it kills time wonderfully. I will not say it loudly though !