City wears almost deserted look as Team India chase Oz

City wears almost deserted look as Team India chase Oz

The city saw light traffic through the daylight hours of Thursday as several office-goers called in sick or took planned leave to be able to watch the Cricket World Cup semi-final between India and Australia.

A Delhi Traffic Police official told Deccan Herald that there were about 150-170 fewer calls than usual till late evening of traffic jams. On a routine weekday, the traffic police receive anywhere between 450 and 500 complaints of jams.

Vehicles, however, returned to the roads after hopes of winning the game diminished by late afternoon. Many people who had taken leave earlier in the day chose to convert it into a half-holiday.

Shubhendra Prashant, an IT employee, cancelled his leave sooner than most others like him. “I knew by 2 pm that India would require a miracle to win the game. So I reported to office, albeit two hours late,” he said. Driving from his home in west Delhi’s Hari Nagar to his office in Gurgaon usually takes him about an hour. It took him less than 40 minutes on Thursday.

But not all cricket enthusiasts needed to stay at home to be able to watch the game. Several offices in Delhi and neighbouring cities had made arrangements for employees to be able to watch the match at office itself. That inadvertently helped save attendance on the day.

“Ours is not a typical corporate office. Our CEO had arranged for projectors and loudspeakers at the office itself. He said we could watch the match while it lasted and then get on fiercely with our work,” said Mahendra Yadav, who works for a mobile app developing company.

Several other private companies had arranged for free refreshments for their employees. “Food and beverages were provided for free at our cafeteria which had arrangements for watching the game. All of us had come dressed in blue, the theme for the day,” said Dhiraj Mahindra, who works for a PR firm.

Some others, meanwhile, tried to make the most of the cricket fever prevailing through the early part of the day. Two young men Sunil and Rajesh set up a stall to sell cricket paraphernalia in west Delhi’s Mukarba Chowk. They expected good sales irrespective of the winner.

The mood, however, turned sombre as the match came to an end. Unable to bear the loss, a few dozen cricket enthusiasts took out a procession against the players in east Delhi’s Krishna Nagar.

They chanted slogans against the BCCI, cricketer Virat Kohli and his girlfriend Anushka Sharma.

The celebrity couple came under fire on social networks for the batsman’s poor performance.

They also broke a few TV sets. Later, they briefly obstructed traffic in the area.

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