IPL fever is not restricted to the plains of the east. It’s going uphill into lands that seldom show any love for cricket.
Three partners in an event management company based in Kohima dropped in to catch Tuesday’s evening show. “Leagues and inter-district games have started and IPL has become a primetime TV habit,” said Kevi Doze, with Kedi Kense and Alezo Kense nodding in agreement. “They have started selling T-shirts of the IPL teams too,” he said while informing that the demand for English Premier League jerseys is still unmatched.
Doze said that people in Nagaland have started identifying themselves with the teams. “Not diehards yet, but each one has his or her own favourite,” said the Chennai Super Kings fan. His partners were rooting for Kolkata Knight Riders.
They said Lajong Football Club of Shillong has more following than the Indian cricket team back home where football is by far the most popular sport. The cricket fraternity there, which is benefiting from the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s developmental plans, is very much the minority. Among them, a household name is Hokaito Jimomi, who played for the Bengal under-19 team and now plays in the Kolkata first division league.
“Cricket still has a long way to go but we have started noticing kids playing on the streets with tennis and even leather balls. It has started getting popular among schoolchildren and there is a sizeable number of female fans too,” said Doze.