Thursday, December 13, 2007

Part of the cheering crowd!!

The area around M G road and Cubbon road wore a festive look. One could see the Indian tricolor everywhere. She was on sale for anything between 30 and 200 rupees depending on how much one was willing to bargain on and what size one had in mind. The atmosphere was one of eager expectancy and excited talk. People got their faces painted in saffron, white and green, draped themselves in the three colors and were all head towards the Chinnaswamy stadium. All of Bangalore – from the vegetable vendor next door to the omnipresent IT professional – waited for India to continue from where she had left the previous day.

Starting at 365/5, the day saw another run feast with several records getting rewritten. The crowd at the stadium was witness to:

Ganguly alias the Bengal tiger, reaching his maiden test double century,

Irfan Pathan on a comeback scoring his first test century,

Bangalore registering its highest ever innings total and many more such records.

In India, cricket to borrow a cliché is a religion and if anyone needed proof, the applause and roar of the crowd should be proof enough. Add to that, Sourav Ganguly was playing a flawless game that was a pure pleasure to watch. I don’t know what it is about left handers that make their game beautiful particularly when they are in good form.

How can one forget to mention the redoubtable master in this context – Brian Lara – when he is at his best? Sadly though, West Indies cricket is at its lowest ebb and one can only hope that things start to fall in place soon. Enough digression!!

When we were anxious at the fall of Karthik, who perished yet again to a foolish shot, in walked Irfan Pathan, and made the day a truly unforgettable one for himself in his career. He treated the bowlers with true disdain in his innings which was dotted with four hits that cleared the ropes by quite a good distance. The crowd couldn’t have asked for more…

Some were desperately trying to get themselves into the television screens. The Bengal tiger suddenly became Bangalore tiger and every chart had something to say about how good the NEO sports team was!!

The sweltering heat (The weather pundits got it completely wrong once again for a partly cloudy forecast turned out to a brightly sunny morning) didn’t dampen a trifle the enthusiasm and energy of the Indian fan. But the Pakistani fielding though it was mostly patchy wasn’t left unappreciated either when the occasional dive was on show.

When the Pakistanis came out to bat in the final session, all eyes were on the Indian fielders. When Pathan and Harbhajan came to field at the third man position near our stand, the crowd kept calling them hoping that they would at least for a moment turn their heads and acknowledge the mass. It was akin to getting a rare darshan at close quarters in a temple.

When Kumble struck trapping Hameed leg before, the jubilation reached a high point. After all, the Jumbo was a local boy recently elevated to lead the Indian eleven. Debutante Ishant too got the crowd’s attention and respect he’d have hardly expected. But in a game that is adored by millions that should hardly be a matter of surprise.

The Chacha from across the border was briefly the cynosure of all eyes. A little boy was relentlessly crying out ‘Dravid!! Dravid!!’ and ‘Salman Butt, out!!’. His cries rose above the din and every once in a while a face would try to search among the multitude for the source of that enthusiastic cry.

As the Pak batsmen got into the groove, the crowd started to leave in little groups perhaps because some of them had got more than their money’s worth for the day. As we got up and started walking towards the exit, we could still hear the roar of the people and our heart was heavy with a tad of disappointment that the day had drawn to a close, but nevertheless our tired faces glowed with satisfaction too, having been witness at last to what every avid cricket lover would yearn for in is life – Watching A good day’s play.

1 comment:

Madhuri said...

The only thing that surpasses watching cricket on a sunday in your favorite couch, is to watch it live - specially when it is the ultimate rivals and India is on a roll. I envy you this chance!