Indian Premier League Season 6, Match No 7 – Sun Risers Hyderabad vs Royal Challengers Bangalore
Stadium – Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal (Hyderabad)
Date – 7th April 2013
Team supported – Though I am a big fan of Gayle, it was surely Hyderabad that night.
This is the 6th season of the IPL. But this was the first ever cricket match (any format) I watched live in a stadium. As is the case with Hyderabad, there was total chaos on the roads, hours before the match began. People had parked their vehicles where they found some space. The roads were choc-a-bloc with trucks, buses, cars, scooters, three wheelers and what not. It seemed as though everyone was heading for the stadium. Though we were about 10 minutes late, there was still quite a lot of chaos at the entry gates.
My first feeling as I walked into the stands – It was reminiscent of the scene from Kai Po Che when Ali comes out to bat. With over 40000 people yelling at the top of their voices, it felt like one was entering a cauldron. For a moment, I just looked around at the stands, at the people and at the field. It all looked so surreal, so beautiful, so awesome. I could just wonder on what it must feel for a cricketer to make his debut in front of such a vociferous crowd.
Dampener – I had come to watch the Gayle vs Steyn battle. But I soon realized that Gayle was already back in the pavilion. The rest of the game was relatively slow with just a few fours and a couple of sixes. Though the bowling was good, but generally in a T20, you expect some batting fireworks :).
Atmosphere – Before this game, I always used to wonder what’s so special about watching a cricket match in a stadium. But now I know. There were people hooting and yelling all around. After every over, the DJ used to play some song or the other from Party Abhi Baaki Hai to Lat Lag Gayee to even Jumping Japang Jampak Jampak much to the delight of the crowd who were dancing as if it were a party. And then there was also the Mexican wave which the whole stadium did almost 8 times with such amazing coordination across different stands. It felt like a carnival. Truth be told, cricket was just a small part of the puzzle.
WOW cricketing moment – Though there were a couple of good batting and bowling performances courtesy Hanuma Vihari, Ishant Sharma and Moises Henriques; for me it was the super over. It was a dream come true to see Steyn face off with Gayle in a nerve wrangling last couple of minutes. And the two sixes by Cameron White when it mattered the most were brilliant.
What could be improved – The entry and the exit could be more decently maintained. There was a lot of hassling, shoving and pushing all around. The food stalls as usual were selling stuff at exorbitant rates looting people.
Though the cricketing purists may not like it, the party and carnival like feel of an IPL game is sure to keep it popular among people of all ages for years to come!
Akshath ReddyAmit MishraAndhra PradeshAshish ReddyCameron WhiteChris GayleDale SteynHanuma VihariHookah BarHyderabadIshant SharmaJaidev UnadkatKumara SangakkaraLat Lag GayeeMexican WaveMoises HenriuesParty Abhi Baaki HaiRajiv Gandhi International Cricket StadiumRoyal Challengers BangaloreSun Risers HyderabadThisara PereraUppalVinay KumarVirat Kohli
Here comes the IPL season. People who generally don’t watch cricket are also found glued to the idiot box, watching the star-studded IPL match. Saas- bahu serials and reality shows have taken a back seat with women ready to taste the masala cricket IPL for a change. Men can finally breathe a sigh of relief over this fortunate escape from remote control fights with women.
With the introduction of IPL, the viewership of cricket has gone up incredibly. People are also noticing an interesting phenomenon this time. According to internet reports of media research by Television Audience Measurement (TAM),the female viewership of IPL has skyrocketed. The research reports that 38% of all IPL viewers are female this time. The male viewership has however dropped slightly from 66% in IPL-2 to 62% in IPL-3.
What is it about IPL that is driving people crazy? Is it the glitz and glamour associated with cricket that is attracting more crowds or the actual game being played?
Entertainment and star quality has surely got a part to play when it comes to charming the crowd. The IPL broadcasters are collaborating with entertainment channels and film stars. People are heading to the IPL stadium in flocks, to watch Business tycoons like Mukesh Ambani,Vijay Mallya and celebrities like Shahrukh Khan, Shilpa Shetty, Preity Zinta leading their respective teams along with the cricket stars. Not to forget the dazzling cheerleaders who brighten up the whole atmosphere. There are post match events like IPL nights and Fashion shows with top models walking the ramp with grace and vanity. One can have a VIP treatment in the stadium by opting for IPL Club Lounge package tickets where you get an official IPL nights invite. Here you can wine and dine with the coveted cricket celebrities. You can enjoy the IPL fashion show and meet the famous designers showcasing their work and top models walking the ramp. You also get free merchandise kit containing team T-shirt, cap and a miniature bat. But as everything comes with a price tag, this special ticket would cost an exorbitant amount of Rs 35,000- Rs 40,000.Ardent IPL lovers are however not hesitant to buy this expensive ticket if it gives them an opportunity to be a part of the grand IPL event.
Media has also taken some bold steps to mint money from IPL hullabaloo. Internet has taken a lead over TV by covering the entire event through online live IPL on various websites. Now there is a new plan of beaming the matches live in 1,000 multiplexes and cinema halls spread across the country. This initiative would let the fans staying in far flung places enjoy the excitement of the stadium by watching the match on big screen.
IPL is a complete package. It has cleverly managed to attract the attention of the avid audience and not so avid audience by combining the two major craze Indians have ie Cricket and Bollywood. Men attend the matches to watch the game while women usually come to the stadium to have a good time watching the stars and gossiping about them with their buddies.
“IPL is a way to encourage young aspiring players” says MS Dhoni. In IPL budding players get to rub shoulders with experienced national and international players. It is a good way to groom young talent. They get to learn a lot from the veteran players. Cricket would no longer be a far-fetched dream for someone who is passionate about pursuing it as a career. IPL also creates a good team spirit when the Indian players play along with the International players in a single team. By bringing together players from different cultural backgrounds, it creates unity in diversity. When the match is extended to over 5 days, not everyone is able to watch it from start till end. But IPL being only for a short duration of 3 hours gives everyone the advantage of following the game completely without missing any part of the event.
Not everyone is happy though with cricket becoming a glamour game. With its high entertainment quotient some feel that IPL is not cricket at all. It’s more of a money making business. Over million dollars are poured into promoting the teams, making the advertisements and holding various events in the stadium. With all this money in mind, the players would lose their focus on the game. Former India Captain Rahul Dravid said recently “Young players of today lack love for test cricket. They don’t have the pressure we had to do well in test cricket. The cricketers of today are more than happy showcasing their talent in IPL”. An aspiring player should not take IPL as a short route to fame and success. A successful cricketer needs to have strong foundation and year long experience to learn the details of this art. IPL is all about scoring runs faster and hitting the ball harder. Everything is so quick that attention to detail is lost and the players don’t get the deeper essence of the game. The quality of the game also suffers to some extent. With big bucks spent on buying each player, IPL appears more like gambling.
Concentrating on the positive aspects of IPL, we can just hope that the real game of cricket doesn’t get shrouded in the game of glamour trying to satisfy our insatiable appetite for entertainment.
IPL is creating unimaginable ripples worldwide. So let us all enjoy sailing on this wave of verve and vigor.
Image Courtesy: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/67/IPL_T20_Chennai_vs_Kolkata.JPG