In April 2010, I had watched my first cricket match live, right in the stadium. And I could totally relate with the team that eventually lost the match. They could not survive the designated 20 overs and I could not survive the match. It could be due to the one sided and boring match or the fact that I had straightaway went to the stadium after my early morning trip to Alwar. Either way it was too much for me to bear the agony for the entire duration of the match. So without any deliberations I decided to cut the match short and returned back to my room.
Though that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a memorable match for me, for it surely was. It was realization of a long cherished dream of mine to one day watch a cricket match right in the stadium. But it came too late, so late that I had lost interest in cricket matches and almost started hating IPL. But thanks to my friends who had got the ticket for me (for free i.e.) I decided to enjoy that dream eventually.
The first thing that I realized on watching some of the very popular cricketers in person was that it all was quite close to the cricket that we used to play during school days. On a TV it did feel a little different from the usual but as it turned out, it was only a feeling and nothing more. The other thing that I liked was the fact that I could watch what I wanted to watch and not what the advertisers and IPL organizers force upon you on your TV sets. Though I can’t deny the fact they did try their hardest in the stadium itself but I did feel like a winner.
As far as happenings on the ground are considered I can’t deny that instead of the 13 players in the field the more fascinating and enjoyable performance was offered by the 18 cheerleaders with their stages very judiciously arranged around the ground. Three cheers to the organizers for following a policy of nondiscrimination. Though (since grass is always greener on the other side) I did feel that the three cheerleaders to the left of our section were better in every way than the ones for our section, but I’ll let that pass.
There were few very interesting things about the crowd behavior in the stadium as well. The loud cheers for wanting batsman to hit 4s and 6s that we hear on TV were not exactly cheers from the crowd to begin with. It was the guy on the PA system who used to force people to shout for his and perhaps advertisers’ benefit. The crowd, as far as cricket is considered, on its own shouted for two things only, ONE for any 4, 6, or wicket irrespective of the home or the visitor team (too much talk of loyalty in IPL), and TWO, when their favorite cricketer came close to boundary line or waved at them. Rest of the time everyone was busy watching and cheering the cheerleaders.
Overall I can confess that had it not been a sponsored trip and a few other things I would have really cribbed a lot more than I eventually did. My sincere thanks to the cheerleaders and lest I forget, also to the Delhi girls most of whom looked really stunning, you people really were the saving grace of the day.
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