iconimg Friday, August 28, 2015

Khurram Habib
New Delhi, March 23, 2013
Who wants to see a dead rubber, sandwiched between the IPL and an India-Pakistan ODI? A cop at a roofless stand answered, "Those who have no work", rude enough to point at a middle-aged man who explained how he had escaped his wife's wrath to turn up in chappals. "I haven't missed a match in 25 years. I have seen a thousand people in first-class. This is sad," he said pointing to the empty stands.

And who still loves VVS Laxman with local boy Virat around? A courier boy, who had assigned his cousins with the task of holding a placard that read, "We love you VVS Laxman". The kids did it without complaining as their tickets were funded by the elder brother.

Tough security
The flagstaffs were thrown out and only the fabric allowed. Friday morning though gave little reason to wave them. Post-lunch, it changed as the Aussie wickets fell.

A wry smile emerged though.

"These Aussies are all T20 players. The IPL is destroying their cricket," said Hari Gidwani.

Cricket writers would recognise the mellifluous voice of Gidwani, a former first-class cricketer, who played for 20 years.

He and other Ranji and Test cricketers had been invited by the local association; however, he was the only one to turn up. "I am coming to watch a match after years and only because it is Test cricket," he said.

All for fans
Just then, someone ordered DomDT, an anti-nausea tablet from a first-aid counter behind Gidwani. There were rehydration salt sachets, digestive tablets too. Few turned up because the weather held, which also meant that fans didn't have to shell out Rs. 50 for a cold drink or Rs. 150 for food cartons, which had been kept for the cricketers, who didn't turn up.