Friday, March 4, 2011

Dream !!!

well, someone called it patience and someone called it passion, but watching test cricket live at stadium was a dream for me, and this dream came true on ninth day of October, 2010 at Chinnaswamy Stadium of Bangalore !!!

I was born in 1986 and had an usual childhood playing gully cricket (but in my case it was mostly terrace cricket) and following international cricket always on TV. I feel very lucky that I came into this world during special era of cricket as none other than great Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar made his debut in 1989 when I just started going to play school and now when I am done with my education, he is still showing his class on the pitch. But let me not write about this great person (as already so much have been written and spoken about him. I have already read two of his biographies and also I have word document containing more than 200 pages full of articles written about him over the time).

India is a vast country. It is full of diversities. There are so many religions, so many regions, so many castes, so many political parties, and so many different things which don't allow Indians to unite. But there is only one thing which unites all the Indians which is "Cricket". Cricket isn’t just a sport for our nation, it isn’t just a game between a bat and a ball and the 3 wickets on each side of the 22 yard strip. It’s more, it’s much more. For some it’s a religion, for some it’s a stress buster, for some it’s a source of revenue, for some it’s life.

In India, there is a separate religion called "Cricket" and "Sachin" is god, and there are millions of people who follow "Sachinism", and not "Hinduism" or "Islam" or any other religion. And I am also one of those millions.

I am really mad about cricket since my childhood. I love this game and really love to see classic cricket which can be seen in the toughest form of the game i.e. test cricket which is the longest form of the game. Many people feel it boring, but not me. If I am at home, then I rarely miss watching test cricket regardless of which countries are playing.

One day all of a sudden a thought came to my mind that I should watch test match live at stadium. This thought process happened in around starting of 2010. I do follow regularly and read almost all articles on it. In May or June 2010, I saw news on cricinfo that Australia are coming to India in October to play 7 ODIs. But, it was also mentioned that BCCI was negotiating with Australian Cricket Board to convert these 7 ODIs into 2 tests and 3 ODIs, and I decided not to miss this chance. India vs Australia is the great contest to watch. After few days (Mid June), I read confirmed news on cricinfo that Australia will play 2 tests in India, first in Mohali from 02/10/10 to 06/10/10 and second in Bangalore from 10/10/10 to 14/10/10, and I immediately made my mind to go to Bangalore.

This all happened in the month of June and there were still almost 4 months left for the actual day. But I didn't have patience. I searched about the Chinnaswamy stadium on google and found out the contact number. When I called at the stadium and inquired about the tickets, they were not still aware of any such match (:D). So, I called again after few days and by then they asked me to inquire in the first week of October.

By this time, I already made my train bookings to and from Bangalore. I was supposed to reach there on the morning of 10/10/10. Though they asked me to inquire in the first week of October, I called them in last week of September and they told that tickets will be available from 1st October. Real surprise came then.

Online tickets were supposed to be available on from 1st October, but those were to be delivered only in Bangalore, and one of my friend agreed to book them for me and to collect them at his place. When tickets were supposed to be booked, I saw that day 1 of the match was 09/10/10, and not 10/10/10. Tour was preponed by a day and thus I was to miss first day which I never wanted. I decided to go by air on 9th morning. I left from Pune at 07:30 am, reached Bangalore airport at 08:45 am, reached my friend's place at around 11:30 am, put my luggage there and immediately left for stadium where I reached at 01:00 pm. So, first session was already missed, but was lucky that Australia were batting. Though I reached stadium at 01:00 pm, my dream came true when I entered in the stadium at around 01:45 pm after many troubles in finding my entry gate.

It was just awesome to be a part of around 40,000 people crowd cheering for their nation. Many of them came just to watch "God - Sachin Tendulkar". Well, its pleasure to watch him bat on the middle. Indian batting came on 2nd day. Sehwag played for around 30 minutes, but almost everybody was standing on the feet for those 30 minutes before he was caught at square leg boundary. Then came Dravid, but he also fell early.

Nobody in the stadium really felt bad when Dravid fell as it made way for Sachin to come in the middle when only few overs were left on Day 2. Truly speaking, I went to see this match only because of Sachin. I wanted to see him batting live in the stadium and he really made my entire trip. He came to bat on 2nd day, carried his bat on 2nd and 3rd day. He made is double century (I would have been satisfied with century also. :D) and got out on 4th day. India got all out and Australia gave India just few more than 200 runs to chase on last day. Well, Sachin did come to bat on 5th day also (so, I saw him batting on all last 4 days) and hit the winning shot also.

I was just so happy for all these 5 days. Even, I was lucky too. This match was played from 09th to 13th October, and it rained on 8th October and it rained very heavily on 14th also. So, those 5 days were really really special.

And, I don't want to miss one special incident which happened during 2nd innings of India when Sachin was batting. It goes like this. In the first innings, Sachin hit 2 consecutive sixes over long on boundary off Hauritz's bowling and immediately Ponting set a fielder at long on. This happened when Sachin went from 89 to 101 in first innings. This fielder was there in 2nd innings also when Sachin came to bat. But during one over, I saw that fielder up at mid on. Sachin was on strike and immediately these words came off my mouth - "Sachin, long on nahi hai...maar utha ke....six". And, it was like he really listened my words or what...but he again hit two consecutive sixes over long on and immediately fielder went back to long on. :-)

Australians do net practice !!!

These cameras provide the live telecast on TV !!!

Sreesanth bowls !!!

Me at Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore !!!

Sachin Tendulkar raises his bat after finishing 49th test century !!!
Me at Chinnaswamy stadium, Bangalore !!!

Sachin Tendulkar raises his bat after reaching double century !!!

A view of stadium !!!

Me looking at close contest !!!

My poster - "Bharat Ratna Sir Sachin" !!!

A view of packed stadium (its fun to be part of crowd of 40,000 people) !!!

Team India run through ground after winning the match and series (2-0) !!!

Happy moments after India's win !!!

P.S. : Thanks to my friends Krishnan, Prashant (P. K.) and Varun for all the supports during my week long stay at Bangalore !!!

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