India has undoubtedly the most vocal cricket fans in the world. If we Indians want to get heard, you will hear us, be it against Pakistan in the World Cup or just a regular ODI game against South Africa.
We will be driving through a rough road of nostalgia in the article. The date of the fixture was November 25, 2005. It was the fourth ODI against South Africa at Eden Garden in Kolkata.
There was the same passion and energy on display that you would expect from a packed cricket stadium in India, except on this day, every person in that stadium cheered for South Africa.
See, Sourav Ganguly had just been axed as the caption of the Indian cricket team and then unceremoniously dropped after a very public dispute with coach Gregg Chappell.
There were some rumours in the air about an Eden Garden retaliation for the Chappell's 'crime' of dropping Dada and the Indian team paid dearly for it. More than 90,000 people turned up for the game and every single one of them wanted someone to suffer.
It started when Irfan Pathan, opening in that game, was dismissed in the first over. Chants of "Chappel Bhagao, Desh Bachao" could be heard, even on our TV screens.
Even Rahul Dravid wasn't spared. Dravid had taken over the captaincy from Ganguly. So there were a few "Dravid Haaye Haaye" slogans going around as he was dismissed for mere six runs.
The crowd heckled and booed as India went from 71-5 to 188 all out. The only team they cheered was when Harbhajan Singh, the last man was dismissed.
Nothing much happened after that as South Africa chased 189 in 35.5 overs with 10 wickets in hand. The Proteas captain Graeme Smith scored an unbeaten 134 on that fateful day.
Literally, everyone was booed with the exception of Sachin Tendulkar. Even when Chief Selector Kiran More was shown on the big screen, the crowd was practically booing out of the building.
The only time the crowd really got behind someone was when the Indian innings was over and the big screen at Eden Garden showed an update from a Ranji Trophy match Dada was playing in. Ganguly had scored Ganguly’s 159 in Bengal's 378 in that game.
To reiterate, when Indians want something to be heard, they scream loud enough for the world to hear.