Of course, the best way to experience a cricket match is to watch it in a stadium. But although the Indian Premier League (IPL) now takes place in many cities over many days, it’s still not possible for many of us to watch a match in a stadium unless we’re Vijay Mallya or Shah Rukh Khan.
Clearly, the next best thing is to catch the game at home, with a bunch of equally enthusiastic friends. But there’s no reason why this option should be a downer. With a bit of imagination, you can make watching a match at home every bit as exciting as sitting in the stands at Mohali. Here’s how to do it.
Frisk all guests when they arrive
Okay, so your home isn’t exactly Wankhede or Eden Gardens. Still, you can easily make your friends feel they’re at the gate of a stadium by meeting them at the door with a stern look and taking away their phones and all the loose change in their pockets. This can serve other purposes too – depriving them of their phones will mean that they will be forced to be as passionately interested in the match as you are, and will not be distracted by work emails, BB pings about other parties, spam messages about hair loss and lovey-dovey calls from girlfriends and spouses. And all that loose change will come in handy when you need to tip the delivery boys from whom you’ve ordered stuff.
We’re not asking you to ask your friends for money. But there are other ways in which they can ‘buy’ themselves a good seat. They can bring over a particularly desirable bottle of booze for one thing, or a large packet of your favourite snack for another. They can promise you uninterrupted time with their Playstation or Wii the next time you go over to their house. Or agree to let you win the next game you play in front of a girl you’re looking to impress. The options are endless – get thinking! Ask pretty-looking friends to double up as cheerleaders
One thing that no one complains about at the IPL (other than the right-wingers, and who cares about them) are the sexy cheerleaders that always bring a smile to the face of every fan even when their team is losing. So make sure your guests are similarly enlivened by asking good-looking female friends to dress up in sexy cheerleader-type outfits. Don’t be afraid they’ll beat you up for suggesting this either – all you have to do is persuade them that it’s an honour to be chosen – as it means that they are in the best of shape.
Hand out 4 and 6 signs, plastic wickets, gloves and posters
Half the fun of watching the IPL in a stadium is the chance to wave around stuff whenever something dramatic happens. So be ready to hand out hand-painted ‘four’ and ‘six’ signs and posters celebrating and abusing the two teams to rival fans. Plastic wickets and gloves are a good idea too (they can be found at sports shops), and make for a nice take-home souvenir after the game is over.
Keep one couch aside as the VIP box
Did you see the president and prime ministers of India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan sitting pretty at the recently concluded World Cup matches? Then it can’t have failed to escape your notice that they were doing so on very comfortable chairs indeed. In the same tradition, set aside your comfiest perch for yourself (and your best bud or significant other). This way, you can make sure you have the best seat for the game.
Bet on each over or wicket
Yes, betting is illegal – but not if you are using wafers or chocolates as the wager. Keep a stash of candy handy and conduct a lively session of predicting what scores will be made, the number of boundaries that will be hit, and when batsmen will get out. This will make the match a lot more interesting than just sitting around and watching events unfold.
Appoint a waterboy
The most exciting thing about the IPL is that things can change from over to over. So you clearly don’t want to be stuck making yourself a drink or grabbing a snack while the game is on. That’s why you need to appoint one person to be your waterboy (after all, all the teams have one) to be in charge of handing out drinks and water and serving out platefuls of food to the other guests while the game is on.
Play snatches of music in between overs Even if you’ve never watched a match in a stadium, you’ll know that they play snatches of rousing music between overs. That’s a good idea for home too, and creating a match playlist for your iPod is a good way to get guests boogieing between overs (and as a bonus, it helps drown out the irritating ads too).
Try and get somebody famous to attend
These days, a cricket match isn’t complete without a gaggle of celebrities goggling at the match from the stands. You can add some cachet to your party by catching someone remarkable and asking them to attend it. Even the next-door Bollywood struggler will do.
Have a ‘rocking’ after-party
Game over, all the owners and players head to an equally interesting party at one of the city’s liveliest nightspots. That’s your cue too. After the game, rather than tamely saying goodbye to friends, drag them out to a nearby hotspot to celebrate a victory or drown your sorrows. Here’s to the next game then!
Pigeon Hole them!
Our very own list of the IPL players
Mumbai Indians’ Kieron Pollard left mouths agape with a fantastic leap to prevent a late six by Kochi Tuskers’ Ravindra Jadeja. Even though it didn’t prevent a Mumbai loss, the 6’ 5” Trinidadian should provide some inspiration to his portly sub-continent counterparts.
In an unofficial yet authoritative survey taken by HT, Kiwi Ross Taylor emerged as the sexiest player in the IPL. The Bangalore Royal Challengers wielder seems to be a big hit among girls (the only ones we surveyed), presumably for his ability to swing the wood with élan and his cool on-field avatar. He does break his bats now and then.
Gautam Gambhir has always been a feisty one but the Kolkata Knight Riders skipper is yet to lose it in front of the public eye so far. Once an overseas forte, the Indian contingent is counted among the more volatile today, with the others in contention being Zaheer Khan (RCB) and the evergreen Bhajji (MI)
Illustrations by Jayanto
- From HT Brunch, April 24
Follow us on twitter.com/HTBrunch
Connect with us on facebook.com/hindustantimesbrunch