One thing that I find sorely under-represented in competitive international cricket is people like me. You know, older, middle-aged people with dad bods, who may not be in the best of shape, whose body-fat percentage may not be what is appropriate for an Olympics-level athlete, the type that does not spend their time posting Instagram pictures with models and celebrities but instead stays at home with children and family, thinking more about school homework for their kids rather than what nightspots to hit.
This is why I am totally connecting with the Chennai Super Kings ‘uncle’ squad and the zen-like calmness they exude that only comes from extensive experience and a high average team-age. There is nothing to prove, nowhere to go, no one to impress. You just show up and kick ass. Just like I believe I do.
They are of course led by the iconic Dhoni, who represents the pinnacle of maturity, been-there and done-that, sending Sam Curran up ahead of him in the game against Mumbai Indians, with a ‘Jee le apni zindagi bete’ (Live your life, son) magnanimity, that can only come from being a father. As a matter of fact, many times in the first game, the entire squad looked like they were baby-sitting the baby-faced Curran, as he ran around the field with the energy of precocious youth, while the rest of the team rolled their collective eyes with a ‘Slow down, little boy, our knees aren’t as great as they used to be’ expression on their faces.
That was what I found so endearing, those expressions, Shane Watson with his ‘I am going to read the riot act to these neighbouring kids if they don’t tone down the music’ disgruntled uncle-face while he sits in the dugout, Murali Vijay with the ‘Please can the ball stop following me, I am struggling to catch my breath here’, and Ambati Rayadu, the angry old man, still smarting from being dropped in the last World Cup for not being three-dimensional enough, with his whirlwind innings of 71 that channelled the angst of every Cobol programmer who has ever found themselves considered ‘redundant due to changing customer requirements’.
Sure, when the umpire points to the watch to signal a Powerplay, it seems they are reminding the uncle army to take their blood pressure medications, but when push comes to shove, as Faf du Plessis showed in the field with two sensational game-changing catches, people of this generation are more than up to the task, making up for what they lack in flexibility and power with sheer strength of character. All others beware, the uncles are here.
DISCLAIMER : This article is intended to bring a smile to your face. Any connection to events and characters in real life is coincidental.