India vs England Cricket Match at New Delhi
I went for the first one dayer of India vs England at the Ferozshah Kotla yesterday. I did'nt feel like doing weird favours for a pass so I bought a Rs.1000 Ticket. Here are some things that should be kept in mind to watch a match in Delhi.
1. Arrive at the stadium more than an hour and a half before the match to capture the best seats. The view of most of the seats are blocked by giant pillars, camera stands, fences etc. Also, later on there is a long queue to get in which people keep jumping. There was this Englishman who kept yelling like crazy to the cops to stop the q jumpers but was ignored by both who were pretending they did not know english. However, if u are a little late it is better to jump the queue. More passes and tickets are printed and distributed than there are seats and even valid ticket holders are not allowed in after the stadium gets full.
2. Don't carry any of the stuff that is not allowed to be taken in like cellphones, cameras etc. as it is confiscated at the gate unless you have very high jack, ability to lie convincingly or can think up ingenious places to hide stuff in. It always helps to bring a lady along as she can hide stuff in her handbag, socks etc, checking is not that strict and we can get away with most. However, I did'nt risk taking my mobile but there was this girl who convinced the cops she had just come back from hospital and was not aware about the rule.
3. What you can see - tiny players in team colours walking out - the numbers on thier jersey is distorted because of thier fast movements. The scoreboard and big screen was placed too high and in the wrong area where the score could not be viewed by all. Most were clueless about who was batting, the score, overs bowled etc except those who managed to sneak in thier mobile phones. We could guess a player was out when the team formed a huddle and a figure walked back to the pavilion. Parts of the field are blind spots hidden by pillars and the action can be judged only by the roar of the crowd or the silence punctuated by abuses.
4. What I clearly saw - Irfan Pathan jumping 1.5 metres off the ground after taking a wicket, Dhoni's orange gloves, Kaif catching Collingwood, a six down the wicket that hit a level 2 stand, Dravid fielding in the slips by his stooped style of walking, Sreesanth by his long run up and Harbhajan by his patka. English players all looked the same from far.
5. What you don't see on TV - the indian players warming up - practising difficult catches before taking the filed. The groundsmen running in drink breaks with a long ruler and bucket to touch up the pitch. Plastic bags and four signs being picked up from the field by ball boys between overs. Fielders signing autographs on the boundary just as the ball is being bowled with the crowd yelling at him to pay attention.
6. The atmosphere in the stands is fantastic with chants of we want Dhoni, bhajji bhajji, india jeetega, whistling, truck horns blaring, plastic chairs being thumped and continous clapping. This fat kid in a red shirt was copied by others when he loudly made sounds of a donkey, cow, dogs to hoots and laughs from the crowd. There were harly any faces not painted in the tricolor as there were folks roaming about doing the job for Rs. 20 yelling 'fazpant fazpant'. All around posters were being coloured by fans and giant flags were carried around the stand. The Police made people sitting in the aisles get up only to see them coming back a little later. The empty seats behind the pillars were either being used as makeshift beds for a quick nap or as stairs. The food was awful but really costly - 2 samosas for Rs.20, pack of chips for Rs. 20, glass of water - Rs. 20, ice cream - Rs. 30. Things were being sold for more than twice thier MRP and most preferred to starve after asking the price and saying Baap re Baap !! I bought a biryani for 50 bucks and to my dismay saw that the packet had more cauliflower in it than rice - forced it down my throat in the break between innings as Kajra Re and Ashiq Banaya Apne played on the muffled sound system.
India won the match by 39 runs but I felt I had my money's worth only when Dhoni drove the red TVS Man of the Match bike that Harbhajan Singh won. Bhajji rode pillion around the stadium, waving to the crowd. The crowd ran towards the bike almost as if they wished to be his red carpet. Dhoni showed great driving skills by dodging them cleverly. The media walas and the cops chased the bike too till Dhoni returned to the presentation area. Dhoni seems to me to be a very nice and genuine person - and handsome too !!
Scores - England won the toss and decided to field first.
Gautam Gambhir - c G O Jones b Kabir Ali 25
Virendar Sehwag - c L E Plunkett b J M Anderson 7
Rahul Dravid - b L E Plunkett 34
Yuvraj Singh - b Kabir Ali 1
Mohammad Kaif - run out 4
Suresh K Raina - c P D Collingwood b I D Blackwell 24
Irfan K Pathan - c L E Plunkett b J M Anderson 28
M S Dhoni - c P D Collingwood b L E Plunkett 20
Harbhajan Singh - c A Flintoff b Kabir Ali 37
R P Singh - not out 2
S Sreesanth - c K P Pietersen b Kabir Ali 0
Total - all out for 203 in 46.4 Overs
Andrew J Strauss - c M S Dhoni b I K Pathan 0
Matthew J Prior - c G Gambhir b Harbhajan Singh 22
O A Shah - lbw b I K Pathan 4
Kevin P Pietersen - c G Gambhir b Yuvraj Singh 46
Freddie Flintoff - lbw b Harbhajan Singh 41
Paul D Collingwood - c M Kaif b Harbhajan Singh 8
G O Jones - b Harbhajan Singh 0
Ian D Blackwell - c G Gambhir b Harbhajan Singh 10
Liam E Plunkett - c M S Dhoni b I K Pathan 14
Kabir Ali - lbw b Yuvraj Singh 0
James M Anderson - not out 12
Extras - 7
Total - all out for 164 runs in 38.1 overs