Related Link : England in India 05/06
Barmed by the Army
Oh well, as I made my way through the ‘F’ Block in the North Stand at the Wankhede Stadium, surprise was the first emotion that went through me, as I could all but bump into a swarm of the British Barmy Army fans. It was a pleasant one as well, as for once, I happened to watch cricket with a bunch of highly knowledgeable persons. It was a great sight to see so many fans travel all the way from England/Wales to watch their country play, braving the weather and the pathetic infrastructure of the Wankhede stadium. It felt pretty lonely out there to be an Indian, but gave me a perfect opportunity I was looking for to discuss some good county cricket (something I follow religiously) and of course, flaunt the pride I carry with Manchester United (highly unpopular among the fans there of course though I managed to find someone with the same leanings).
Where is the comfort ?
Someone actually remarked about the inferior state of infrastructure, particularly the seatings of the Wankhede Stadium. He asked me “You guys have so much of money, why don’t you spend it in improving the stadium ?” and to a large extent I do empathize with him, having come all the way from England just for this game and this is what we welcome our ‘guests’ with ? Another British spectator went to the extent of rating the stadium as the “worst” he’s ever been to, having seen cricket all over the world. Unfortunately, one must admit, Indian cricket has been too busy about revenue-making than actually bothering to allocate it. It is about time the administration takes the question of spectator comfort seriously ! The Mumbai Cricket Association need not look anywhere outside for inspiration, just up north at Mohali. The way the spectator has been treated there is nothing short of exemplary. Dean Jones has gone on to rate Mohali as the number 1 venue in the Indian sub-continent, for its hospitality, the stadium and ground and the pitch of course. As someone based in Mumbai and a regular spectator at the Wankhede, I must confess, its much better off to watch the cricket at home than the Stadium, with some good snacks and of course comfort at its best. One hopes that by the time the ground hosts another match, such issues will be addressed and Mumbai will also throw its hat in the ring to claim some accolades.
Of Bloated Egos
A British-Indian based in London remarked about the electronic scoreboard at the Garware Pavillion End, which was nothing but an advertising spot used by the Mahindras. He asked me “Does this Anand Mahindra have a big ego ?” and that left me wondering if our corporates have resorted to cricket matches to flaunt their prowess ! There was a scroller in the scoreboard, which constantly, if not very regularly reminded what the Mahindras stood for and beyond a certain extent, it just seemed a pointless exercise. Of course, there were mentions of Anand Mahindra winning the Businessman of the Year and the taking over of British Telecom by the Mahindras, but one somehow felt that they were overdoing it, jumping over all the lines of publicity !
Definition of Appalling
If ever the dictionary got a chance to describe the shot Mahendra Singh Dhoni played, a few words like appalling would do it best. It was nothing but a display of mindless and reckless cricket by the Indian wicketkeeper-batsman, and as it turned out to be, his dismissal proved costly under the circumstances. Maybe I would lose many friends here, but it won’t be wrong to say that Dhoni is still very much a one-day specialist. Test Cricket is not meant for nuts that crack easily and Dhoni, somehow has not yet learned the grind and the mettle required to answer the tough questions, test cricket poses at you as a batsman. I would stick my guts out and say that Dinesh Karthik got a raw deal at the hands of the selectors and perhaps should be back in the reckoning, bouyed by Dhoni’s lack of maturity as a batsman and butter-gloves as a keeper. Of-course, Dhoni is a phenomenal one-day cricketer, no-body denies it, but as per the requirement of the game, talent, technique and temperament are imperative to the makings of a quality Test batsman. Dhoni seems to have a decent blend of the two formers, but certainly lacks on the latter.
P.S : This post is in no way undermining the ability of Dhoni, but just questioning his makings of a Test cricketer ! As a footer, I’d like to quote Navjot Singh Sidhu here, “To Err is Human but to repeat the error is foolishness” – hope Dhoni’s listening !