….because where else can you jump on the chairs when Zaheer Khan is on a hat-trick that has singlehandedly brought India back into a game….where else can you can listen to 38,400 people scream ‘All is well’ in cohesion as England need 2 runs off 1 ball to defeat your team….where else can you can you stand in queue for three hours and still not get inside in time to see the first ball…..nowhere else.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Sachin Tendulkar
‘The Sachin factor’ was everywhere on Sunday and looking at the support he garnered you could have been forgiven for thinking it was the Wankhede. Following his 47th ODI ton, Sachin’s demigod status was well-adhered to. When he came close to the boundary to field, it caused more than a flutter in the adjoining stands. His every shrug, every save, every stretch, every gesture - was cheered on. An English fan nearby initially thought the buzz was because of a flock of birds flying above the stadium. Ahem.
Attention Messrs Kumble, Srinath, Prasad: H2O please!
The biggest complaint from the fans (even bigger than the serpentine queues to get inside) was about the complete absence of drinking water. Like most other Indian stadiums, water bottles aren’t allowed in at the Chinnaswamy - in order to prevent unruly crowds from throwing them onto the field when disappointed. This time however, there was no water inside either. The only beverages on sale were soft drinks. Humph. There is only so much cola you can drink after all.
The Barmy Army
An India vs England encounter can’t be complete without the English fans. Most of them who were at the Chinnaswamy, had booked their tickets online when the match was slated to take place in Kolkata. The change in venues meant cancelling hotels and flights, adjusting travel plans and somehow making it to Bangalore to catch the game.
Among them were - James, an IT consultant from Surrey and a member of the Barmy Army, who is here for all of England’s league games and will then head back. Chided him with a “that’s probably because you think they won’t make it to the quarter-finals” (Note to self: don’t speak so soon).
Grace, a dietician from London, is in India for two weeks to watch a few of England’s matches. She claims to have fallen in love with the game of cricket on a vacation to India several years ago where she by chance landed up at an India vs South Africa ODI in Kochi. That by virtue makes India her second favourite team. She's been travelling to see England play ever since and was their loudest supporter at the Chinnaswamy.
Also spotted: Munde de Kudiya Midland de – a group of British Indians here from the UK to cheer on the Indian side.
The Buzz on Twitter
Spin king Shane Warne turned soothsayer predicting that the match would result in a tie before the game had even begun, with a tweet that said - "Looking forward to the game between India and England today should be a cracker.. My prediction a tie !"
Lalit Modi followed up with some advice for Warnie - "My good friend Shane Warne should become Paul the Octopus"