|Flags of participating nations outside the Nagpur airport|
I currently subscribe to a friends theory about the format of this tournament. According to him this is a tournament of two halves, with practice matches played over a month to acclimatize and the tournament actually being just a knock out series of 7 matches. I tend of agree with him now that I analyse the underwhelming response to the defeat against a key competitor which has left India somewhat exposed in order to qualify for the quarter-finals.
The cricket played by India was top notch for 85% of the game. We batted well for the first 40 overs, bowled and fielded well with even Nehra diving and stopping some runs in the final few overs. The game was lost by the batsmen in the last 10 overs of the Indian innings and could have still been won had it not been for the dropped catches by Yuvraj and Gambhir. A lot of people were blaming Dhoni for giving the last over to Nehra and not Harbhajan Sign but I am sure we would have been asking for Nehra to have bowled the over had Bhajji been hit for the runs. Dhoni’s gut instincts have worked more often than not (think back to Joginder Sharma and the final over of the T20 World Cup) and I can’t think of anyone outside the team who could have made a difference.
The stadium in Nagpur is a fabulous place to watch a game of cricket. It is designed much better than the other stadiums that I have been to, and while they do have pillars as part of the stadium design, they are not as obstructive as the ones in Delhi and Bangalore. I had great seats in the shades at a slight angle to the pitch with fabulous view of the entire ground for just Rs 300. Best of all, seats were numbered and everyone followed them to the letter. I wonder why this is something not implemented in other cricket grounds in India?
|Kindly dont abuse guests rectally, esp at cricket grounds|
The food available left a lot to be desired, there is only so many stale and cold samosas, breakpakoras, kachori and dabeli that one can eat in a day. After the euphoria of the seats, the food was a big dampener and I think at the end of the tournament I will do a quantitative measure of the best viewing experience at all the ground that I visited. From the top of my mind some of the parameters that should be used to define the spectator experience would be ease of entry, seats & view, food availability, toilets, availability of transportation to/from stadium, location and atmosphere inside the stadium. In case I might have missed something that you would consider important do leave a comment and let me know. What did put a smile on my face was this notice just before the entry into the stands. I wonder how many spectators in India have “rectally” abused their guests at cricket ground JIn one of my previous posts about the game vs. England, I had been surprised by the travelling support for the Indian team. The surprise was raised a notch at the Delhi airport on Saturday morning. More than half of the people on a full flight were travelling to Nagpur just to watch the match over the weekend. My friend who was on the Indigo flight the previous evening reported a similar number of people on his flight as well. Flights from Mumbai to Nagpur were all sold out and another friend who was making last minute plans to travel could not get flight tickets. What was even more surprising was the number of women including the not so young moms and aunts, accompanying their kids/nieces/nephews, who were willing to take an early morning flight to watch a full game of cricket at the stadium.
It wasn’t just the upwardly mobile on the planes who made this journey; I was seated next to a father-son farmer duo that had travelled from a village close to Pune via a 15 hour bus journey to take in the action live. In any other setting I doubt I would have found any common ground with them but after a few hours of discussing Sehwag’s lack of footwork, Tendulkar’s straight drives, Dhoni’s lucky captaincy, Nehra and Munaf’s shoddy fielding, we were high-fiving each other at the fall of each South African wicket like long lost neighbours. Cricket truly does unite our diverse country and I can’t think of a better way for the country to celebrate together than with the world cup trophy on the 2nd of April.
PS: Any ideas on how to get tickets for the SF & Final are welcome. If you know anyone who has spare tickets please please put in a word for me, i would be more than willing to pay for the "complimentary" tickets as well.