India’s utter rout in the T20 World Cup triggered a predictable deluge of fan gyan, ranging from self deprecating to team shaming, from funny to nasty, lame to crass, but generally to the point. And where else was it on display but on WhatsApp University, the bottomless pit of unsolicted wisdom.
The 10-wicket shellacking by England of Rohit Sharma’s team left millions of fans numb. But only briefly. Within hours, the joke factory of WhatsApp got into action and the memes started pouring in.
”Itna one sided match dekh ke college ka pyaar yaad aa gaya,” read one meme, referring to the teenage crushes of boys whose ardent romantic overtures were rarely reciprocated by the recipient. The most biting perhaps was a purported message by England to India: ”Final hum khel lete hain. Aap Dream 11 pe team banao. (We will play the final, you make a team on Dream 11),” referring to the popular gaming site.
The Indian cricket fan is rarely this forgiving and jovial after such a massive drubbing of the national team. Perhaps, this time it was different because there was no real heartache of a last ball loss, the way Pakistan suffered at the hands of India in the league stage. The match was virtually lost in the Powerplay, when England scored 63 runs in six overs, and sealed by the 16th over. The facile loss made the entire match eminently forgettable and even comical. Hence the comedy on WhatsApp.
Even Virat Kohli, who along with Hardik Pandya provided some respectability to the inadequate score of 168, was not spared.
A pictorially morphed meme showed his wife sitting on her haunches (in a scene from the movie Sui Dhaga where she played a lower middle class seamstress) next to Kohli lying prone on his belly in full cricket gear: Kitney aadmi the? (the famous dialogue from Sholay). Kohli replies (sirf 2).
Yes only two men: Captain Jos Buttler and Alex Hales, the chief demolishers of Indian dreams with their unbeaten knocks of 80 and 86. And with it, the national expectations of an India-Pakistan final lay in tatters.
”England: Keeping India and Pakistan apart since 1947,” was a comment on Twitter by someone named Melon Husk.
”This is not the first time England has separated India and Pakistan,” read a similar meme on WhatsApp. Indeed. The memories of the 1947 partition when British colonial rule ended with Pakistan gaining independence on August 14 followed by India on August 15 are not going away anytime soon.
Harking on that theme, a commentator, presumably from Pakistan, wrote: ”Hum azaad bhi aik din pehle huway Or Final main b aik din pehlay ponch gae.” (We became independent one day before and reached the final also one day earlier).
Perhaps in a grudging response, an Indian fan retorted good humouredly: Indian team can go to the final even now – to watch it! On a more serious note, an ardent follower of the game, Jiten Verma, provided a non-professional yet astute analysis for India’s woes: ”If you carefully analyze the games, Indian Team (has been giving) a pretty average performance, not counting bilateral series. We got knocked out at league stage in last WC, same in Asia Cup, and this time the only convincing wins came against Zim and Ned, lost to SA and Eng and barely got over the line against Pak and Bang with lucky help of some marginal umpiring calls in both games. ”In ODI WC we will probably do much better next year but our T20 team will require a major overhaul to play a more attacking and fearless brand of game. Let’s see if anything actually happens,” wrote Verma.
The legendary Sunil Gavaskar apparently had similar thoughts on Thursday when he said the T20 team sorely needs a makeover and expected that a few of them won’t play the shortest format anymore.