Few tips for the Brazilian football fans ( from an Indian cricket fan)

I feel your pain .. I do.. I know how it feels to be humiliated ( in my case over and over again) .. I have seen more humiliating defeats than you..

Brazil fans

photo courtesy – Agencia Brasil – Wikimedia commons


I can’t tell you anything about how to play football (Germans might), I can’t even tell you how to support your team, you Brazilians have been phenomenal over past few days. There is one thing I can tell you for sure –

‘How to continue supporting a mediocre team over a long period of time without feeling humiliated’  

So here are some tips from my end to ease some of your pain

1 Choose a God – Forget ( F**K) the team, tell yourself that the team is irrelevant. Just choose a player to worship (Neymar?) and just worry about his performance. Be happy if he scores 2 goals in a match (even if your country loses ). Worry more about his personal records..Take his adulation to such a level that the world will only know your country for that one player. Makes life much easy.  If you still have doubt then just ask Maria Sharapova – ‘ Who is Tendulkar’, by now even she must know !!

2 Make it about Money – Pay lot of money to best players in the world and bring them to Brazil.. Don’t worry if it impacts the local talent negatively. Money makes people happy. Like the Roman kings, create a spectacle in the Colosseum.. People will stop thinking about the national team and their performances.. Money talks .. If you are not convinced then give a call to Lalit Modi.. He might be able to do something for you

3 Choose a different sport/ team – I am not sure if you have noticed but whole of India watches the football world cup and cheers for some or other team. Learn something from us. We never worry about our national team , we are bigger than that. We generally support anyone who will entertain( and win)..This time it is the Germans, next time some other team. We don’t bother ourselves with the pain of possibly never seeing India play in a world cup.. Have you guys tried watching cricket? Do that and try supporting Australia ( for now). That might help take your mind off the stupidity that football is (I bet you think the same way about cricket)

4 Develop selective retention – Do you see me talking about the painful defeats in Sharja? Or the time when a British cricket fan hugged me outside Edgbaston after a humiliating defeat in 3 days? Nope.. I just talk about all the glorious time and just conveniently forget the bad memories. Do that.. It helps.. And in all fairness , you hardly have lot to forget .. Just get on with it

5 Blame it on the conditions – I am not sure if that will work in football but try.. Start slowly blaming it on conditions and you will start believing it eventually. Ask any cricket fan and they will tell you that Indian teams are not expected to play well in England, Australia. SA and so on.. Our teams try to change our opinion once in a while but we stay firm .. Learn from us.. Start believing that south american do not play well against Europeans .. I am sure there is statistical evidence.. Create some if there aren’t…

I can offer much more to you but I think these 5 tips should serve you well for now.. You team has lost badly just once.. You felt the pain cause this is a new experience for you..

It is like love, it hurts when your heart gets broken for the first time.. Trust me it gets easier with every passing heartbreak.. and who knows, this might be your first and last heartbreak ..

Yours truly

A seasoned Indian cricket fan


Tendulkar, Modi and ‘weight of a nation’

‘He has been carrying the weight of the nation for so long, now it’s our turn to carry him on our shoulders’ – said Yuvraj singh after that wonderful evening at Wankhede in 2011. I totally agreed then and I still agree now. Till around 10 days back, Tendulkar was the only man to ever carry the weight of the nation on his shoulders but then happened Modi and now it seems that he is the next one to carry the weight (and may be the last one) I was a Tendulkar fan for most of my life and all of Tendulkar’s cricketing life. I am however not necessarily a Modi fan… atleast for now. That said I do not have any issue with Modi. Having been a lifetime Tendulkar’s fan, It is little scary to be a Modi fan!!

Image courtesy - sandhira.com

Image courtesy – sandhira.com

Here is why – People like me set Tendulkar up for Failure right from the day we started cheering him. I am sure that Tendulkar never told me that he is going to score 100 100s. He never claimed that he was the best batsman in the wold. He hardly every said or claimed anything. I bet Tendulkar was not even as talented as some of his contemporaries. I am ready to go on record and say that a certain Vinod Kambli was more talented than Tendulkar. I would dare say that VVS was more natural than Tendulkar.. Heck I would say that Dravid has more mental strength than Tendulkar. Tendulkar just had it in him to work harder than any other kid around him to make most of what God gifted him. The whole thing about expectations was created by people like me. Fans like me.. We placed our expectations on his (literally) young shoulders. We wanted him to win for us. We wanted him to achieve what we could not. We wanted him to be superhuman. Thank God that Tendulkar was able to carry weight of those expectations, very few could. Tendulkar did not just carry the weight but excelled while doing so. I am sure it was a big burden and I am sure he felt it every day for past 22 years. If you need a proof then take a look at Tendulkar post his retirement, you can see the relief on his face..

Modi’s story might play out in a similar way. Now I may not have followed Modi’s career but I am sure there are more charismatic leaders around him. I am sure that Advani, Swaraj and others have a bigger stature … I am sure there are others in BJP with more and diverse experience.  While that might be true, I am also sure that Modi worked his socks off to reach where he has.. The problem starts now.. If social media is to be believed, the whole nation thinks that there are going to be miracles. Modi is going to win them every match as Tendulkar did ( or didn’t). Modi is going to be the solution to every problem. Just as there was a whole generation made up of Tendulkar fans, we now have a generation of Modi fans.

As a neutral observer and a Tendulkar Fan, the Modi fan following worries me. Tendulkar’s whole career was a fight against those expectations and for the record a lot of neutrals still view his career as a failure. His only fault was to raise the expectation. He in no ways knowingly contributed to the rise in expectations but it just happened.The ironic thing about Modi is that he has actively raised the expectation and now it is a genie out of the bottle. Neither Modi nor anyone else can put that genie back in.

Just like Tendulkar, Modi will have to carry the weight of a nation on his shoulders.. I am sure all the Modi fans will be more than happy if Modi retires after 22 years with similar successes / failures as Tendulkar…

To Yuvi, with love….

Dear Yuvi,

This is a confession, rather a series of confessions. I am not sure if this will make you feel better but I hope that this does not make you feel worse

To Yuvi - with love

image courtesy – Wikipedia

I am one of those who cursed you from the bottom of my heart when you were at crease struggling to get bat to ball

I am one of those who have hardly won a match in gully cricket but feels entitled to have opinion about all cricketing matters

I am also one of those who were sad to witness your legacy being spoiled by a single innings

I am also one of those who do realise that even the best finisher in the game was not able to hit the ball in the last over

I am also one of those who laughed at all the FB statuses mocking you

I am also one of those who gave my support to you on public forums

I am also one of those who concluded that your career is now done and you should never be included in the Indian team

It is the same me who relived all your glorious innings while others were questioning your efforts on the pitch

It is the same me who tried to convince your supporters that your best days are behind you

It is the same me who missed a nights sleep because India lost the match

It is the same me who by now has forgiven you

I am a fan of your talent but unfortunately for you I am also a fan of Indian cricket.

I have a very short memory and a shorter temper. In past I have not spared Sachin Tendulkar so I doubt you stand a chance.

But don’t take me seriously, cause I hardly give myself that luxury.

I am a nobody.

I am just a face in the crowd who will cheer anyone who can win India a match and crucify anyone who  can’t.

It’s nothing personal !!

Your’s truly

India cricket fan

This is the Indian cricket team I can relate too!!

I have a confession to make. Few months ago I said that this generation would not understand the plight of an Indian cricket fan in the 90s and late 2000s . I am here to wholeheartedly apologize and accept that I was wrong. I am convinced that after seeing the recent NZ tour and the Asia cup, this generation exactly knows how I felt back in the 90s (I can’t wipe the ironical smile off my face while typing this)

India Vs Nz 2014

I guess it was all getting bit boring.. Dhoni taking India safely to victory.. No more heartaches.. no more losing close matches…no more cursing hopeless players. I am not sure about you but I had stopped worrying about the Indian team ( read as stopped being a fan anymore). I was just not able to relate to the Indian team for past few years. But I must admit –  it feels good to experience the pain, agony, frustration all over again. I think I can be an Indian cricket fan again as this is the India cricket team I always knew !!

Lets do a quick test and you tell me if you agree

Did this team raise expectations and then disappointed? 

Yes !! The 2nd test in NZ .. guess I need not say anything more

Does this team have characters which can frustrate any fan (or captain) ?

Yes !! Case in point Ishant Sharma .. enough said

Has this team perfected the art of losing close matches?

Yes !! Asia cup.. If the Sri Lanka loss did not convince you then the Pakistan one will..

Is this team over dependent on 1 single player?

May be .. Virat Kohli seems to be the new Tendulkar (oh sorry I guess it is Dhoni..but whatever)

Does this team lose to lower rank test teams abroad (read as NZ)

Yes .. oh yes !!

Does this team lose close matches to Pakistan (apart from world cup)


Does this team have a lot of overrated players?

Yes.. Rohit Sharma, Ishant Sharma, Jadeja… Take your pick !!

As a fan, do you still feel that this team can win something some day ?

Yes .. They almost made me stay awake at night for the NZ 2nd test

May be this is the lull before the storm. May be this is just a phase ( in the 90s it wasn’t) and just may be I would not have to write a post like this again. Till then, I might just become a fan of India cricket again cause this is the team I always knew !!

Surendra Phatak

An Indian cricket fan from the 90s