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Matches are like Indian weddings

Both are joyous celebrations but what was once a solemn affair is now a carefully packaged event, writes Amrit Mathur.

india Updated: Nov 28, 2007 04:06 IST

Just as Indian weddings get bigger and fatter, cricket matches are growing in size and complex to organize. Weddings and matches are joyous celebrations but what was once a solemn affair is now a carefully packaged event. We notice the main players but there is much, much more that goes on which fails to catch the eye.

Weddings cost serious money (the cost for Laxmi Mittal’s Versailles binge exceeded the annual budget of most developing nations) but cricket matches create wealth. The Kotla made a substantial profit because cricket is in the Diwali mode.

One reason for this is cricket, like our shaadis, is rich with glamour and entertainment. SRK appears at matches, does not dance (as he does at weddings) but his presence is itself a source of excitement. A cricket match is a giant stage with lights, replay screens and DJ’s who belt out Daler Mehndi, Jassi — and Chakde India.

Putting a match together means attending to a million things, and making sure of the smallest, minutest detail. .There is, first, the essential business of looking after players who, in a manner of speaking, represent the bridegrooms party.

This contingent (comprising players, officials, guests) takes up 100 hotel rooms, dressing rooms have to be equipped according to the BCCI’s guidelines and the outfield sprayed with a chemical to control dew. Catering is another major priority because fussy team trainers have banished oil and sweets from the dining table.

The Match Referee and the ICC’s Anti Corruption Unit (ACU) stay in the background but both play an important role .The referee is tasked to ensure nothing happens during play that fractures, or threatens, the spirit of the game. The ACU installs CCTV’s to monitor movement of people to ensure there is no foul play.

Besides cricketers who perform in the middle, a cricket game actively involves other key players. Among them is Nimbus, the TV rights holder, and Neo, the production house, who create the images we watch. Covering a cricket match is a massive logistics operation as 100 technicians and tonnes of equipment are moved around the country in a chartered aircraft.

Equally important are sponsors who pay more than three crores per game to associate with cricket. But they are happy with this arrangement because cricket is good for business, whether for selling a product or for image building.

Quite often, putting all this together is a big challenge, which is why cricket matches and Indian weddings become messy and chaotic. But, with more planning and money going into organizing such events, ultimately things get done. There is, as SRK says in OSO, always a happys endings!

First Published: Nov 28, 2007 01:17 IST