Bangalore: Sport, hard-nosed professionals - especially those who have grown accustomed to success - repeatedly remind us, is all about winning. Whether it is individual pursuits or team activities, the bottom line is always about who came out on top. As journalists, we worship at the altar of winning, presuming that fans and readers put a premium on results, to the exclusion of everything else. There is no adrenalin rush quite like supporting a team and having it prevail. There's a momentary basking in reflected glory that elevates you from the mundane. But when I look more closely at the sportspersons and teams I've supported over the years, I find that, subconsciously or otherwise, the win-loss ratio rarely comes into the picture.
From the moment I set eyes on David Boon, and long before I read about his transatlantic beer-drinking feats, I've been tragically loyal to Tasmania. There's something about a state that constitutes one percent of the population of a country competing with its more resource-rich counterparts that warms the cockles of the heart. Whether it's obsessively following Tasmania's progress in the four-day competition online, or occasionally rifling through a well-worn copy of "Prominent Tasmanian Cricketers" by Rick Smith, thoughts of the team that plays at the picturesque Bellerive Oval are never far away.
Soon after I embarked on a career in cricket writing, I found myself covering an England under-19 tour of India. Although most of those then-young Englishmen have faded into cricketing obscurity, that tour sparked a fire, thanks to the presence of the affable Tim Tremlett, who was manager of the team that included his son, Chris. Shortly before he was set to leave for India, Tim lost his 17-year-old son Alistair in a car crash, but still made the trip. Tim, who bowled at medium pace for Hampshire (unlike his father Maurice, who played for Somerset and England), was most affable and knowledgeable, and great company to a young reporter. Years later, when India toured England for Tests, and played a warm-up match at the Rose Bowl, Tim, who was director of cricket at Hampshire, hadn't forgotten the hours spent in India at a difficult time, and went out of his way to make your correspondent feel at home in Southampton. Needless to say, irrespective of how they do, I keep one eye on Hampshire when the county season is on.