Team India tees fly off capital shelves

A one day international and 10 matches of Hockey India League ' Ranchi has much to celebrate over the next three weeks ' and cashing in on the festive fervour are shops selling paraphernalia like Team India t-shirts and wine shops getting into the spirit of the season with sporting d�cor.

Nearly all sports goods outlets have stocked up on Team India jerseys for the benefit of cricket-crazy Ranchiites who will cheer the home team at the international cricket stadium or in front of the television. Priced between Rs 150 and Rs 300, the t-shirts are selling briskly.

"The Team India t-shirts are in great demand. We have more and more customers coming in looking for them," said Jaswinder Singh, proprietor of Raj Sports on Main Road.

According to sports goods dealers, they are also waiting for the Ranchi Rhinos jerseys to arrive, and their sales are expected to peak closer to February 10, the day the HIL final is played.

For many of those watching the matches at home or in restaurants and clubs, liquor will be an accompaniment. And to lure more customers, liquor outlets in the city have decorated their shops with posters of India Team with its captain, city boy M.S. Dhoni.

"This is our way of promoting sports," laughed Arun Chawla, a liquor shop owner at Overbridge. He added that once the ODI was over, he would promote hockey in a similar manner too.

Irrespective of the goods they deal in, shopkeepers were unanimous in their verdict that the real impact of the sporting events on Ranchi would only be felt later.

"If Ranchi Rhinos does well, hockey will regain its lost glory in the city. The city had been known for it since the days of Jaipal Singh. It would be good for us shopkeepers as well," said Singh.

After the HIL matches, the state capital is in the running to host the World Cup qualifier to be played in December. Thus, the year is important for Ranchi as far as sports is concerned.

"We have every reason to think that Ranchi Rhinos will perform well. We are also carrying out road shows tomorrow in the city to promote hockey," said Sunil Goenka, media coordinator of Ranchi Rhinos.

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