Bangalore, April 12 -- Outside the team hotel it's more of a divide, a partisan crowd of red and gold easily outnumbering the ones in purple.
Inside though, it's a different world. If you are lucky to get access to the interiors of a hotel four hours before a high-voltage match, you would be surprised to see how none of that buildup affects the players.
You are not allowed upstairs unless you happen to be someone special, but take the right position and you could get a ringside view of all the action. The only way you gauge that a match is due to happen is when you see the umpires chatting animatedly on rules; match referee David Boon wears a stern look as he lights a cigarette next to you.
For the players, it's business as usual - hanging out with friends and family, chilling at the swanky lounge, sipping tea or typing away on their iPads.
Teams in hotel
Opposing teams normally stay in the same hotel. And more often than not, it's a chance for birds of the same feather to flock together. Former NZ captain Daniel Vettori spent a good part of the morning with compatriot Brendon McCullum over breakfast.
RCB captain Virat Kohli played the role of a caring brother, helping his family around and making it clear he wasn't to be disturbed. Even Gambhir dropped his guard, agreeing to pose for a quick picture. Gayle was again the centre of adulation as he made his way from the lounge to his room amid requests from one and all asking him to bat like he always does. All Gayle did was nod. A few hours later he made that happen.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.