Am writing this stuck at the Dubai airport, on my way back home for 36 hours before flying back to Johannesburg. I should have right now been on the flight to Delhi but was denied boarding (twice that this has happened to me so far in a life spanning at least 200 flights, and both times on Emirates in the last 2 months) since the gates had been closed. The same gates outside which i was sitting talking on the phone while there were people still boarding but apparently with 15 min to go for departure Emirates closes its system and off loads all those who havent boarded. There were no announcements made for the final call, while i was sitting exactly 10m away from the gate. But oh well, the extra 5 hours that i have before my next flight have finally given me some time to update this blog.
While visiting Germany in 2006 for the football world cup or Austria-Switzerland in 2008 for Euro 2008 i have looked with envy at the fans who take a month or more off work, travelling across the width of the host countries to support their team. As a neutral while i have been excited by the overall experience, i think the rush that you get, which is something i experienced while following India in SA for the T20 World Cup, while following the team that you support through the ups and downs of a tournament is something unique.
For the Cricket World Cup to be held in Feb-Apr 2011, i hope to follow India across the host countries (India, Bangladesh & SL) for all its matches. I think 2011 will be India's year as SRT HAS to be part of a World Cup winning squad and i expect something special from him during the tournament. I want to be able to say "I was there" whenever that special event happens. As i read on some blog when SRT scored his 200* vs SA, "2nd April (the date of the final in Mumbai) is SRT's date with destiny and he intends to keep it". I also expect SRT to retire from ODI cricket after the World Cup so i want to say goodbye for the 20+ years of wonderful memories and hopefully it will be a fairytale ending on the 2nd of April that i will be a part of.
Most people might read this and ask how would i be able to take 6 weeks off work, but after going through the schedule i think only 2 weeks of time away from work is all that is required. This is possible because India is playing all of its group matches over the weekend except for one which is in Delhi vs Holland (i think) on a Wednesday. Only from the QF onwards, the itinerary becomes variable depending upon India's position in the group and would require time off to keep the travel arrangements flexible and to enjoy the experience of traveling across India doing some sightseeing in parts of the country that i have not been to.
I plan to write about my overall experience of planning the trip, getting hold of match tickets, accommodation, travelling etc while minimizing the cost of travel and maximizing the opportunity to see parts of India that i havent yet seen. I also plan to use twitter to share my match and travel experiences and would love to get in touch with people who are planning to follow India for the entire or part of the tournament.
However as compared to other International tournaments, while the schedule has now been out for more than 3 months, there is still no information available on when tickets go on sales. For a tournament of this magnitude this is surprising as for most other big international tournaments the key milestones such as various phases of ticketing are known well in advance. The updates on this blog are going to be periodic depending upon the information flow of key dates for the tournament till about 3 months before the tournament when i expect the updates to be more regular as i finalize my travel plans. During the tournament a combination of blog and twitter should keep me online for most parts of the day.
I think the overall journey is going to be a phenomenal experience hopefully culminating in a once in a lifetime "I was there" experience that i hope to share with everyone.
Signing off for the time being, till the next update!