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Oh, it’s also about cricket

The cup of beer I'm sitting with on a corporate box seat at the Ferozeshah Kotla stadium must be champagne, writes Indrajit Hazra.

cricket Updated: Mar 18, 2010 01:14 IST
Indrajit Hazra

The cup of beer I'm sitting with on a corporate box seat at the Ferozeshah Kotla stadium must be champagne.

It’s not because 13 runs have been scored off Zaheer Khan’s first over that’s started the Delhi Daredevils run chase against the team from that town. It’s not even because after finding no parking space anywhere near the stadium at 8 pm, and driving all the way home to take the Metro till Pragati Maidan and then hopping on to an auto, I finally reached the grounds just as the Delhi innings was about to start around 9.30.

The cold beer in my plastic cup tastes splendid under the muggy stadium lights because I’m in a war zone that smells of a circus on Diwali night.

Surrounded by hyper-kinetic clusters of schoolboys posing for their cellphone cameras with the field down below as a background, imposing t-shirted management dudes looking around to see that their enthusiasm is registered by other imposing t-shirted management dudes, and a smattering of fists-pumping genuine ‘krikket’ fans, there’s a risk of missing out the fact that a game of cricket — oh, ok Twenty20 — is also happening.

You know that cricket is a good excuse for a full-blown late evening party when Virender Sehwag is dismissed and everyone in Kotla is still having a great time.

The same guys cheering wildly a few deliveries ago when Delhi despatched the ball to the boundary are now cheering — to be fair, with a touch of delirium — at the fall of ‘their’ mighty Veeru.
I can see the cheerleaders (one mandatory blonde) below me — are they in Superman costumes? — try and keep up with the bunch of beer-friendly guys in front of me when two sixes come from the blade of... Well, it doesn’t really matter.

The stadium, a mixture of hormonal human roar and a giant radio show RJ-ed to strictly funky music, is having a blast. If cricket is being used as an excuse to party harder than a Sachin batting milestone, who am I to knock it?

As Delhi’s eighth wicket falls, a young guy wearing a NYPD t-shirt falls off the iron divider on which he was perched to the great mirth of his college friends. Delhi’s losing to that town tonight.
But who cares in this town? I’m certainly enjoying the loudness of my champagne as Harbhajan scalps the last wicket and I bottom-up to go home.

No success sans right bowlers

Bowlers win matches. Twice, two teams have scored 200-plus runs and on both occasions it wasn't enough. Two good opening bowlers and a quality spinner in the middle are almost essential for any team with serious ambitions. Irfan Pathan and Sreesanth are hurting the Kings XI prospects, while for the Royals, Shaun Tait and Dimitri Mascarenhas look like an odd pair. Shane Warne, that old fox, will surely get better.

Teams who are getting this combination right are building up good steam. The Delhi Daredevils have
Dirk Nannes and Farveez Maharoof to go with Amit Mishra. The Kolkata Knight Riders are riding high on Shane Bond, Ishant Sharma and Murali Kartik.

The Mumbai Indians too have awesome firepower in Zaheer Khan, Lasith Malinga and Harbhajan Singh. The Deccan Chargers have potential with Vaas, RP Singh and Ojha in their ranks.

Bangalore evoke envy because they have Praveen Kumar, Dale Steyn, Jacques Kallis and Anil Kumble. Chennai need to pull up their socks, for, despite Muttiah Muralitharan's brilliance, Albie Morkel and Sudeep Tyagi aren't your definition of an arsenal.

It would be disappointing if the Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab were to lose steam so early, for, in Yusuf Pathan and Yuvraj Singh, they have two of Twenty20s essential charmers. They are names big enough to fill up stands, but the bowlers could derail their campaigns.