Crowds, sponsor and the Surya factor
India kicked off their international cricket schedule in 2023 with a money-spinning T2O International. BCCI’s cash register will ring thanks to the broadcast deal, but the Sri Lanka tie didn't fill the stands.
India kicked off their international cricket schedule in 2023 with a money-spinning T2O International. BCCI’s cash register will ring thanks to the broadcast deal, but the Sri Lanka tie didn't fill the stands. Some sights and sounds from the Wankhede stadium.
Hardik Pandya’s team fails to fill Wankhede
The national selectors, to infuse energy in India’s approach to T20, have gone in with a new-look team. But it didn’t seem to strike a chord with the Mumbai crowd. Sans Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and Jasprit Bumrah, the Wankhede was only half full when the match began. Skipper and ex-Mumbai Indians all-rounder Hardik Pandya and local star Suryakumar Yadav’s presence weren’t inviting enough. A few more people came in later, carrying subsidised tickets in black.
Call it the IPL effect, people may have preferred to save for the many MI matches to come in three months. It didn’t help that the match was on a week-day with a 7pm start. “Aaj match hai, kya?” a Mumbai local train traveller asked as the train neared the Churchgate station, a stone’s throw away from the stadium. Train travellers in the metro have a pulse of what’s in. Bilateral cricket is not.
Surya not ‘at home’
He may have been India’s T20 superstar in the year gone by, but a dream home debut it wasn’t to be for Suryakumar Yadav. Coming in with a reputation of being the best 360-degree exponent in the business, he only managed to sky the first no-look ramp he tried against Chamika Karunaratne’s medium pace to be caught at short-fine leg for 7.
At the Wankhede, he’s smashed many a hundred in red-ball cricket for Mumbai. Playing in the India blues for the first time before friends and family, Yadav couldn’t make the match a memorable one with his bat. This is only the first T20 of the year though. His T20 skipper Pandya has tipped Yadav to play all-format cricket for India soon.
What’s in a sponsor's name?
Pandya and his team stepped out wearing the new sponsors logo on their shirt. Apparel makers ‘Killer’ have replaced MPL, who wrote to the Indian board that they wanted out of the contract that ran till 2023 end.
The new sponsors had their selling kiosks inside the stadium selling official merchandise. But most of the spectators had come wearing the old MPL jerseys, some even the older Nike (earlier sponsors) ones. What’s in a sponsor's name, so long as the colour is blue.