Most of us here in this part of world are cricket fans. We love watching cricket matches, playing it whenever we get chance and wherever we can. Cricket watching on television is very common now. I belong to generation where we did not have televisions. I still remember listening to live cricket commentary on radio during 1984 cricket world cup, especially that epic final, which we won, from nowhere.
Watching cricket live at the stadiums had not still caught up these days, though that option was always there since beginning but only few can manage to watch live. I live in Pune, and we have not had many international cricket matches happening in the city. Till few ago, we had only one stadium, middle of the city, where I remember few international one day cricket matches have been played, especially, 1986 and even 1996 world cup matches as far I remember. The wiki article lists down the matches played here. I never was able to watch any of the live.
Few years ago, revolution of sorts happened due to the introduction of 20-20 overs format of the game, and also league cricket. To add to this, 3-4 ago, another cricket stadium came up near Pune. It was named as Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium. That stadium became home ground for IPL league’s team Pune Warriors. I happened to watch cricket live, finally, in one of the editions of IPL few years back in 2012. It was month of May, this particular match was night match, and was between Pune Warriors and Royal Challengers Bengaluru. We had returned from our Bengaluru trip in the same morning. And our loyalties were divided. Another reason for loyalty going for toss was Chris Gayle who was part of Royal Challengers Bengaluru. We headed the stadium in much anticipation in the evening. The anticipation was, of course, for Gayle, and his fireworks.
After battling the traffic, and long walk on the raw, unpaved road, along with security checks, we landed at the stadium. It was still an hour to go before the match started. No sooner than we seated ourselves, it started pouring. Remember it was May. The summer’s hottest month, and also a month of pre-monsoon rains, showers. There was a chaos at the stadium. Everyone was looking for shade, no one was prepared for the rains. We finally got hold of a shelter to protect ourselves from the downpour, with thoughts of match getting washed out running in my mind. This was our first live cricket event, and I was not ready to let it get washed this way, without witnessing even a single ball being played. But our patience paid off. The rains ceded soon, and the match resumed.
It was Royal Challengers Bengaluru who batted first. All eyes were, of course, on Chris Gayle, who arrived in huge cheers to the crease. He did play few shots, and made a good fifty. Watching all this live is quite electrifying and creates adrenaline effect, you are part of that crowd in no time, cheering, shouting, whistling. The camera on the rope is something which we were able to experience, as we saw it moving, swinging from one area to another, over the crowds. We also got to watch Murali’s bowling live as well. Pune lost the match, as they could not hit the target, though. Fortunately, we were allowed to take our binoculars inside, hence we could make use of it.
Watching matches live and on television are two different things. You go to stadium, to enjoy the time and environment there and not so much of cricket. And that is what we did that night. This is true for any sports, I believe. I had captured similar moments of watching ice hockey match in USA here. Hope you like that.