A bit of a damp squib!

A bit of a damp squib!

Caterers doing business.

The comparison may sound odious. But that cannot be avoided as Karnataka Premiere League (KPL) sought to replicate the Indian Premiere League (IPL), on a much smaller scale though. And, naturally the KPL has turned out to be the poor cousin of its precursor.

 Blame it on poor publicity, marketing or even very few known players, the KPL hasn’t drawn in as much crowd as expected. Even the low priced tickets didn’t attract people. “It’s nothing compared to the IPL and there are no known faces except for Robin Uthappa and Manish Pandey,” was the most common refrain among the sparse crowd.

The KPL had taken off to a roaring start but the enthusiasm fizzled out in no time. Even for the few who came to the matches, it seemed more like a venue to pass time. They were curious to know what the KPL had to offer. Young boys and girls, families and even older couples were there. But each group had devised
innovative ways to make the event a habba of sorts, as the happenings on the ground were not so inspiring.

Provident Bangalore had its own band of boy drummers who drummed out every time a batsman from the side crossed the ropes. Shamanur Davangere Diamonds grabbed the maximum attention by roping in cheer girls who danced and pranced around whenever the team did well.

Pooja Gandhi and sister.Petra Francis working in Calypso, an event management company, had taken time off to cheer for Provident Bangalore. She, along with a couple of her friends, who had volunteered to cheer on had bought 25 flags and 140 posters, all screaming good wishes. “Our team won four of the five matches, so we’re happy. This has become quite a rage with us. We have roped in more people to come and cheer for us,” she says.

 Wiproite, Murali Chinnappa took time off his busy schedule and decided to watch and cheer his friends who were part of some of the teams. A cricketer himself, Murali says he’s excited to be at the KPL for third day in a row and whenever the players hit a six or a four, he can’t contain himself from wanting to get out on to the field and play. “The KPL serves as a great platform for young players who want to make cricket a serious option,” says Murali.

It’s entertainment all the way and fun for college-goers who either bunk classes or come in after college hours to witness the match. Examinations didn’t deter either the school or college goers to come and watch the match. They’d head straight for the KPL after their exams. Chitra B, a second year student of BBM of Vasavidyaniketan Degree College in V V Puram wanted to bring in her whole class of 50 students but she just about managed to gather a handful of her friends. “I follow the match everyday and read about it as well. Apart from some great entertainment, the KPL has offered Bangalore a chance to witness its own team perform,” she says.

M Ankush thinks there isn’t enough talent among the players and if the organisers had done better publicity, a lot more people would have come in. “The stadium is empty for most of the day. It’s only toward the evening that the crowd starts coming in,” he says. Priya G Naik, a student of M S Ramaiah, was eager to watch the KPL just to know what it was all about. She says that she’s crazy about cricket but the KPL turned out to be a dampener because there aren’t any familiar faces and the players don’t have an aura about them.

But the chai wallah and the bajji anna who brought in steaming hot coffee, tea and snacks at regular intervals during the matches made brisk business, “We make rice bath, chilli bajji, vada and change our menu whenever possible. We make close to Rs 2,000 or Rs 3,000 depending on the crowd turnout,” said Narasingarao, a hotelier.

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