Cricket is like a religion in India nothing short of a carnival at the stadiums back to pre-independence times. The foreign players build a connection with Indian fans and they feel a void while leaving the country.
Players like Pat Cummins (Australia) and Trent Boult (New Zealand) have recently spoken about India being their second home and wished India a success against the virus. Pat Cummins donated $50,000 for the Covid relief in India. In his statement while announcing donations, he said, “To know so many are suffering so much at this time saddens me greatly.” Cummins garnered a lot of praises from the fans in India for his wonderful gesture.
On the other hand, the Kiwi speedster released a statement on his Instagram which read, “My heart goes out to the people of the India, while I am sad to be leaving the @mumbaiindians family and see the IPL come to an end, none of that compares to the suffering many people are going through right now. India is a place that has given me so much as a cricketer and person. I have always deeply appreciated the support that I’ve received from my Indian fans. This is a tragic time and I hope things can improve soon. I look forward to returning to this beautiful country when I can.”
Another Kiwi great and former player Simon Doull, was also disheartened while leaving the country. He said, “Dear India, You have given me so much over so many years and I am sorry to be leaving you in such trying times. To those who are suffering my heart go's out to you and your families. Please do what you can to stay safe. Until next time take care.” Simon Doull was a fiery speedster for New Zealand.
I remember Glenn Maxwell was fondly given the name of Glenndeep Singh Maxwell when he was playing for Kings XI Punjab. The players got a lot of cheer from the Punjabi crowd in Mohali stadium.
CSK players like Dwayne Bravo can often be spotted donning Indian traditional dresses as he thoroughly relishes his stay in India. He has a massive fan following in India. He has also recorded a Punjabi song with Punjabi singer Jassi Gill starring Shakti Mohan. Many Bollywood stars are his friend and he follows many actors. When IPL 2021 was about to start, Watson said, “On the eve of the 14th edition of the @iplt20 which will be the first one that I won't be playing in, I have been reminiscing on all of the amazing times that I have had over the years in a country I call my second home.”
Australian legend Matthew Hayden when he started playing for CSK, he just fell in love with India. He was overwhelmed by the fans’ love and he was spotted wearing ethnic attires. He even donned traditional ‘lungi’ when he was playing for CSK. Another Aussie legend Brett Lee has a strong emotional connect with India. He had recorded an album named ‘You’re the one for me’ with singing legend Asha Bhosle.
Former Australian skipper Steve Waugh did a lot of charity works in India. He is committed and connected with philanthropic endeavours in India through his charity works. He has collaborated with Udayan’s children home in Kolkata and can often be seen in this part of the world.
Proteas great Jonty Rhodes, had named his daughter ‘India’ when she was born in Mumbai. He had shared his reasons for naming her daughter, he said, “I have spent a lot of time here. What I love about India is that it’s a rich mix of culture, heritage and tradition. It is a very spiritual country, very forward-thinking nation. I really like that combination. You have to have a good balance of life.”
Foreign players love India so much so that they calling India as their ‘second home’ has become a cliched statement.