Sunday, April 27, 2008

Watching T20 live-A first timer's experience

In a sudden turn of events I found myself heading towards MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai and watch the IPL T20 cricket match between Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders. This was the first time I ever watched a match live in a stadium and this post shares some experiences of the same.

I am not a cricket fan and am quite ignorant of the happenings in that business (you’ve to agree-Cricket is no more a sports-it is pure business). I don’t watch live matches on TV and my interest is confined to checking the result in next day’s newspaper, if possible, for the purpose of GK.

Yesterday afternoon, 1430 hours IST, yet to have my lunch I reached home, casually asked my roommate, when does the match starts? He replies “I have got a ticket-do you want to go?” He said his friends had bought few tickets but plans got changed and they won’t be going. They managed to sell of all ticket except one. It was bought at cost price of Rs 200.

After an emergency board meeting eNidhi India board of directors approved the purchase of that ticket and entrusted its CBO to explore what it feels like to watch the action live from stadium.

I got ready to leave and invoked Protocol 32 (Precautions to be taken while going to places with unusually high density of human population)-offloaded Credit cards, extra cash and other important things from my wallet, added Rs 100 emergency cash to a safe pocket and left. Decided not to go in bike, fearing possible shortage of parking space and high parking fees, reached there in public transport.

Reached the stadium 45 mins late-There was no frisking at the entrance and no scanning of barcode printed on the ticket. Everyone were busy watching the match-the metal detector didn’t raise any alarm though I had some metal objects on my body (belt buckle). 5th wicket fell as I entered.

I was thinking there will be some reserved seat for me for the ticket I had (like in movie theatres) but there was no such thing. People would have laughed at me if I had asked: where is seat number 002108?
The stadium was jam-packed. I quickly noted nearest exit points, managed to get myself a seat and started observing the gathering.

The view was good, but it was not easy to identify what is going on. Players’ face was impossible to identify from such a distance and there was no running commentary. Most of the time I could locate the ball but that is no fun. Where I sat the sun was directly on me, forcing me (and others) to cover my face. You will have to watch everything from only one angle of view which is quite boring.

Suddenly someone wearing red shirt started dancing in the middle of the ground- kind of balle balle stuff. I was clueless why he is doing that. After few seconds both his hands went up and I realized that he was doing all those circus to tell everyone that it is a six. Watching this umpire dance was the only thing I enjoyed throughout the match. Unfortunately the other umpire wasn’t dancing at all and I missed some possible entertaining moments. If you ask me, IPL should penalize this other umpire for not properly entertaining the crowd.

Few police constables on duty were during an Ukkaro, Ukkaro (tamil for- sit down, sit down) at regular intervals. Spectators in front would act as if they are settling down but would get up next moment...After sometime, these cops abandoned pursuit and repositioned themselves in a slightly elevated position.

A group of spectators started to make some strange sound-everyone around turned to see what that is-These people were trying to get the attention of Kolkata team’s cheerleader girls. How pathetic. The group settled down only after those girls turned towards them, gave a smile and danced a bit.

The music was loud and unbearable. Add to that, several spectators had bought this locally made whistle like noise generating device (I don’t know what to call them- in childhood we used to call it Pee-Pee in Kannada, for the sound it makes. Look at the image.) Blowing that thing every now and then, creating and irritating experience to ears.

The digital score card didn’t work during second half- from their desktop which was displayed on screen at times, it looked like they are using Windows 98.

It was written at the back of the ticket that camera is not allowed, hence I didn’t carry my digicam. But several spectators were carrying their digicams and clicking all around. (Last year, a journalist cum blogger was suspended for live blogging the cricket match on his blog)

I could identify several places where they could have displayed advertisements, but was left untouched.

Had a closer look at some international players but it was more interesting to hear girls in front row yell-Ganguleee.
Thank god it was a T20. The whole match would end within few hours and only 10 min break between the innings. I certainly don’t want to spend whole day watching cricket this way. TV would be more convenient.

About the match I don’t have much to write-you might have already seen in TV or read in newspaper. Chennai team defeated Kolkata team by 9 wickets. Btb no one spotted me on TV? (How sad, I thought I would be a celebrity by now)

Finally I present a true Knight Rider-Everyone else are FAKE.
Btb, don't you think IPL may have some impact on National cricket-dressing room secrets of Indian Cricketers will be shared with international players by fellow team mates, which may backfire later. Any comments?

Similar: Kiruba Shankar writes his observations on MAC * Sandesh writes what he feels about IPL commercial *


hari said...

I agree, the sound of the little horn blowing almost continuously is extremely annoying to me too and it's something that seems unique to Chennai.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

No it is not unique....I have seen such things being sold in Hyderabad as well...

Raveesh Kumar said...

Hi Nidhi,

You went to the cricket match, must have rained in Chennai on that day(just kidding).

Anyway, nicely written with funny phrases. IPL is creating several controversies, you can expect the unexpected too.


Shrinidhi Hande said...

No Man, unfortunately it didn't rain, though we desparately need a rain here...Chennai is so hot these days...


Manoj said...

Sharing dressing room has no effect on cricket. The point is you have to keep updating ur plans for every match. Otherwise the teams with so much technology can easily study it. Every match has different situation.

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

The prospect of watching a match live in a stadium is one of the things I want to do -- but I agree, nothing matches the fun of experiencing it on TV-- live commentary, best views, action replays, statistics.

Shrinidhi Hande said...


Ok. Agreed.

Thanks for finally deciding to add me to your blogroll..

Yes, TV is far better...

Prakash said...

I googled to find out whether I wld get parking in Chepauk for todays match and bumped into ur page.

I had been to the same match and just wonder how different are the views of an die hard cricket fan and an bypasser of the game...

Intersting.. ;-)

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Hi Prakash,

Thanks for the comment.