6th March 2011 will go down in the chronicles of my updated 23 year old life as a day to remember. I was witness to a Cricket World Cup match…finally! Now only one more dream remains…watching a world cup match involving the Indian team.
Two big guns of Group B clashing on a Super-Sunday! Couldn’t have asked for anything more than a game between South Africa and England; the latter facing a must-win situation and the former sitting pretty but untested. Being a keen Indian fan I was also rooting for South Africa to lose this match so that India can top the group even if they lose to South Africa (which, given by their current form, they undoubtedly will) and go on to play New Zealand in the Quarter Final (If things indeed happen according to the best laid plans). So did I feel a bit ashamed to be supporting a country which colonized our nation for hundred years and was instrumental in the formation of
? Ha! Anything for Cricket!! Pakistan
I made my way into the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk, at Chennai, drinking in the world class infrastructure and state of the art facilities on offer.
South Africa taking on at Chennai implied that my short journey from gate no. 7 into the C stand would be more or less hassle free in contrast with the last time I was there at the same stand when India took on England and I was bedridden for 3 days after the match due to heavy stampede at the entrance of the very same gate. England
Winter at Chennai?
padded up to bat, the sun began its scorch and a few English fans in my stand had already turned pink. I mused as to what their colour would be if they experienced the ‘real’ Chennai Summer! Maybe ‘Tomato’ish!! As for us Chennaites, we were enjoying the mild march heat of Chennai and getting ready for some intense battle between two teams which had a ‘lot’ in common, even to the extent of player nationality! England
Pietersen! Not you, Son!
We were all eagerly awaiting a ‘Pietersen’ special and naturally zealous chants of ‘Pietersen…Pietersen’ started doing rounds as the strapping ‘English’ batsman took guard. Unfortunately our chants fired up the wrong ‘Peterson’ who ended up looking like Bishen Bedi’s long lost son as he skittled out the British openers even before I could take the first sip of my cola. The Chennai crowd learnt a lesson at that moment. ‘i’s can be dotted and ‘o’s can be rounded only on paper. It’s always better to use the first name for future encouragements. Hopefully the Chennai fans and Kevin redeem themselves the next time around.
In or Out?
As the match crawled its way to the half stage I was pleasantly surprised to see quite a generous sprinkling of people in the stadium, ready to sacrifice their afternoon to watch two teams, both of which were not India, play cricket. It would have been even more a sizeable crowd had the people who spent more time at the canteen rather than the stands decided otherwise.
I had almost decided to retire as a cricket fan when I saw Trott, whose strike rate didn’t do justice to his name, and Bopara switch to test match batsmanship. Thankfully, ‘South African’ leggie Tahir accelerated proceedings and brought some colour (not a pun intended at his dyed hair) to the otherwise dull affairs. But by the time South African Batsmen decided to ‘choke’ on their lunch I was a born-again English Cricket fan egging on Stuart Broad and James Anderson with gusto.
Moment of the day
The prized moment of the match came when A.B. De Villiers left a reverse swinging delivery from James Anderson well alone and looked as confused as an LKG child in a PhD class as he witnessed the bails at his end dislodged.
When Morne Morkel finally decided to end the misery of the proteas’ fans by safely edging a wild delivery into Prior's hands, the ‘Barmy Army’ in my section went berserk and I made a thankful, silent acknowledgement to the unpredictable nature of this beautiful game called Cricket.