Yes! We eat, drink, sleep cricket

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Last Updated 22 May 2013, 14:28 IST

Arrey madam lelo, Arrey sirji lelo’, ‘cold drink lelo, cold drink’, ‘T-shirt, T-shirt – Chennai, Mumbai T-shirt lelo’! If you think this chaotic and maddening scene is from a market place then you are absolutely wrong.

This stampede like situation where vendors jostled with fans and harassed cops tried their level best to control, was witnessed just outside Feroz Shah Kotla stadium when Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK) played Mumbai Indians (MI) in the first qualifier and Chennai dominated the match to reserve their place in the final.

Yes, we all know that India is a cricket crazy and cricket loving nation – giving a tough time to other sports – this kind of scenario outside any stadium was quite expected. And when two stalwarts, like Sachin Tendulkar and Mahender Singh Dhoni is playing each other, one can imagine the rush and the madness. And to make things worse, the visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang added to the chaos on road as half of the road were blocked in Delhi. 

Although the stadium has a capacity of nearly 50, 000 spectators, it seemed that there was nearly a lakh plus on the roads outside including some desperate mediapersons and exhausted police and traffic personnel. About half of the footpaths were taken up by vendors selling wigs, zoo-zoo headgears, over-sized glares, T-shirts and even tattoo walas who painted cheeks of fans with names and logos of their favourite teams. 

But, if you thought that the ongoing IPL controversy has left fans untouched, that is incorrect. For while the cops stay busy uncovering links and following the cash trails, the cricket lovers are keeping the game alive but not without some disappointment.Kanika Chabra, felt “devastated” when she “heard the news about Sreesanth. I loved him. But the fact of the matter also is that we can’t judge the entire game because of one person’s misconduct.”"

There were others who felt that this greed was unwarranted. Simarpreet, a professional said, “Sreesanth was already earning so much even through his domestic games. Where was the need to get into this spot-fixing, I don’t understand. Players are destroying their careers and it has definitely left a black spot on the game.”
But Heera Angom from Manipur spoke to Metrolife and shared his love for the gentleman’s game, minus the aberrations. “These controversies do not make any difference to me as I am committed to this game. I am cricket lover and here to support only the game.”

Since the match was between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, and Delhi wasn’t at stake it was easy for them to take sides. Simarpreet, was totally supportive of MI. “I am totally supporting Mumbai as Sachin is part of the team and it might be his last IPL.” 

Jayant Verma however, played diplomatic . He was seen sporting the CSK cap with an MI jersey to express his support for both the teams. “Both Dhoni and Sachin are my favourite players and I cannot choose either of them.” No prizes for guessing that this is the spirit which keep the game alive and kicking - and never mind a certain Sreesanth!

(Published 22 May 2013, 14:28 IST)

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