Bangalore Diary

Yahoo cricket editorial blogs

The World Cup has made cricket fans do some strange things, but this is something else.

Strolling down the road from the Chinnaswamy Stadium towards Hard Rock Café, you can spot an oddity — a large scoreboard that is not inside a cricket stadium but at a junction on the city's busiest street.

With me were Rahul Fernandes, a journalist-turned-MBA-turned-journalist-again and Akshay Sawai, who is always on the lookout for oddball stories. We decided upon a closer inspection of this peculiar hoarding.

Rahul, a marketing communications student, was impressed by the idea. Looking at its front end, we wondered aloud how this scorecard worked. We took a few steps ahead and saw a man precariously perched behind the board. We decided we had to meet this Brave Man.

We went into a house that supported the billboard. In front of me was a 10-foot wooden ladder with several broken steps held by wires. Having narrowly avoided falling off such a ladder recently, and being heavily under-insured, I considered cancelling my meeting with Brave Man.

I looked at Akshay. "What is your gut feel?" he asked. I looked at the ladder and my respect for Brave Man grew even more.

I decided to climb. Luckily the ladder stood steady. I reached the top and realised that going further up would mean climbing up the bamboo poles that held the billboard. I reminded myself of my under-insured status and decided to stop.

Nested below the hoarding was a perch shaded by tarpaulin. Another man sat there with a laptop connected to the net. His browser pointed to a cricket website with the latest scores.

He introduced himself as Brave Man's brother. Since Brave Man was perched high up and barely within earshot, I took his phone number from his brother.

Brave Man's name is Satish Ingankal and he is 23. He said he had been working on this billboard since the World Cup started.

I had to ask him the obvious question: where does he go when he has to go? He reveals he takes turns with his brother, whose name is Nagendra.

As we speak, Nagendra looks at his laptop and shouts out the latest score to Satish to update the board. Meanwhile, Rahul joins us on the perch.

The brothers have a billboard fittings business and undertook this risky assignment for the duration of the World Cup. After much goading he reveals it would get them Rs 26,000.

Nagendra reveals he is a regular at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, having attended the India-Australia Test last year. "But for the World Cup, they've started charging 2000 rupees for tickets that normally cost 200. So I did not go," he says.

He says this scoreboard job isn't easy but the money was fair.

Rahul and I leave them on the perch and nervously take turns to climb down the wooden ladder.

Outside the Chinnaswamy Stadium, I met Nitin. He is one of the kids who would escort players from England and India to the field before start of play.

He doesn't know which player he will walk out with but knows it will be someone from England.

The 14-year-old says his parents can't believe he has won the honour. "They are OK with it, but they were pleasantly surprised."

He's a batsman who participated in one of ICC's school tournaments leading up to the World Cup. His team won the match and that's how he was selected for the match.

Naturally, he's very excited. He says he will remember to take pictures and autographs.