New Delhi: He played for Australia but caught the cricket of India in all its kaleidoscopic forms. As he delved deep into the world of cricket in India, Steve Waugh saw the game becoming more of a way of life, played by monks on the foothills of the Himalayas. He saw the sport being played on the beaches, the deserts and the mountains.
The popular Australian adult was swept off his feet by the face of a disabled player, supported by a bamboo on one side, ‘like a ninja warrior through the air’ as he threw the ball. He was equally enchanted by dreamy eyes playing on the fabric of the famous Azad Maidan in Mumbai.
“This place ate up cricket and I loved it,” Waugh told the Azad Maidan, according to abc.net.au. “They are amazing, these guys are flying like ninja warriors through the air and land on these bamboo poles,” he said.
The book The Spirit of Cricket – India by Waugh contains more than 200 photos that the former Australian captain took during his many travels to the cricket mad country. A collection of more than 70 photos that Waugh clicked on will be on display at an exhibition in Sydney later this month. “India has given me lifelong memories, but moments that change lives,” Waugh said.
“The concept of this book was to find out why cricket is a religion in India.” More than 18 days and with a camera in hand, Waugh toured the country, from the streets of Mumbai and Jodhpur, the alleys of Kolkata to the desert in Rajasthan and the Himalayan foothills.
A documentary of his journey, entitled Capturing Cricket, will be broadcast on ABC on November 17. Commenting on cricket in the country, he said: ‘It is difficult to overstate the importance of cricket for a country like India. ‘800 million people live below the poverty line, but cricket gives them something to join.
‘It’s a sport that does not require a lot of money. I mean, I often say about cricket, all you need is a bat and ball. ‘In a country that loves the game so much, it was difficult for one of Australia’s most famous cricketers to become unrecognizable as he went from one place to another.
‘I do not think I have met a person in India who does not know [I] playing cricket, ”said Waugh. ‘You are therefore immediately recognized, which gives you a connection and something to talk about. It was a little hard to get some of the shots because they want to be all around you and get a selfie.
‘One way I could do that this time was to promise them a cricket game after I took the picture. So it seems like it’s right for everyone. ”
The India experience reminded him of his childhood, when he remembered the hours he spent as a boy in his garage and hit a ball tied to the roof. “I loved the challenge of testing myself,” he said. ‘Every time I see kids in India play cricket, I feel the same love for the game, that pure, unfiltered connection to the sport.
If you have a good attitude, if you have energy, enthusiasm and imagination, it all comes together, and you can get a game with your friends. And this is what is happening in India. ”