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Indian flavour rocks on

cricket Updated: Feb 25, 2009 22:28 IST
Anand Vasu
Anand Vasu
Hindustan Times
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The Indian public has had much to be happy for in the manner in which grounds have improved over the last year, especially since the introduction of the Indian Premier League, but you have to go to a Twenty20 match outside the country to realise just what those marketing men are bleating about.

The atmosphere at the AMI Stadium was so charged up even with 16,625 in the stands that it's hard to imagine what it will be like when the Wellington Hurricanes roll into town to take on the Canterbury Hurricanes in a rugby match.

For those who made the trip to the Twenty20 match though, it was an evening of fun, the kind that makes the trip worth it even if your team loses.

There are no pot-bellied constables rudely frisking you as you enter, there's more variety in food than the average Indian food-court and the beer flows uninterrupted. What's more, everything is priced so that the average family can take in the experience without having to make it a once-in-a-season experience.

As is fast becoming the case all around the world, there was sizeable Indian support. "It was like a home game for them," Daniel Vettori would joke, after play. When the Indians walked out they would have felt the same, not just because one stand was still under construction.

Bollywood numbers from Rab ne bana di jodi and Rock On blared in the background and advertising hoardings ranging from Chaini to Ultratech Cement and Servo encircled the field. The number of Indian flags present ensured that the Black Caps uniform of the same colour was pushed to the background in a sea of saffron, white and green.

In one crucial manner, though, this was not at all like a home game. Even after India had lost, and suffered the merciless yet good-natured leg-pulling of the Kiwi fans, there was no animosity. With 24 sixes the public had got their money's worth and went home happy.