Yes, I am an Indian and have grown up watching cricket just like my kids do now. And yet, I had never watched a match live in the stadium! Our first experience of watching a cricket match live in the stadium was spectacular. Here are some memories from the fun we had and my thoughts as the day unfolded.
The Indian cricket team was going to be in town to play their 2nd test match against Sri Lanka. My daughter had been pestering Daddy for a long time to take her to a cricket match. Nagpur boasts of one of the best stadiums in India and has been seeing more and more cricket matches take place.
But my visits to the place have only been to attend elaborate weddings. So Daddy decided to give us a surprise by booking season tickets for the match.
We decided that little sis would probably have more fun at Grandma’s than sitting in a chair all day. So, the four of us were all set. We gathered together our jackets and our caps and the kids made no effort to conceal their excitement from two days before.
Entertainment At it’s Best
Cricket was always interesting to watch but never has it been more entertaining than it is presently. I am no longer the school or college girl who took it to heart when my team lost or when heard news of match fixing, betting and the likes. I am a tolerant person now who understands that it is a game and meant to provide entertainment. And I appreciate that the cricket fraternity has grown too.
The fun begins on the way as you see other cars and vehicles rushing towards the same destination. All along the roadside, shops selling cricket tees have popped up. And when you reach the stadium, there is everything from face painting and tattoos to T-shirts and cheering placards.
You aren’t allowed to carry anything inside – food, water etc. We just had a few candies in our pockets. Everything else was taken care of inside the stadium. And none of the food was overpriced. Multiplexes please take note!
The players know that the audience need a good show – and they deliver! The pace of the match changes when the stars arrive. The crowds have fun cheering and having a gala time altogether. And we witnessed the DAB!
Fabulous Arrangements by BCCI
And the cherry on top is the entire arrangements on the cricket stadium. The officials were super friendly and helpful. While they ensured strict decorum, they did not bother anyone unnecessarily in the name of rules.
Take my own instance for example. I wanted to get some Frankie rolls for the kids during lunch break. The stall selling the rolls was situated on the other gate. My ticket was stamped to come and go from a different gate.
I was trying to explain the case to a guard when an official walked in, asked what the matter was, and allowed me to go. I mean, I had a valid ticket to be in the premises and they were okay with letting me having a good time as long as I was there. They did not sour my experience in the name of rules.
When some of our seats came under direct sun, another official gave us better seats. In short, as long as you have entered the stadium legally, BCCI will make sure their guests have a good time. No bickering about policies and such.
The Pet Peeve Though
Although the arrangements were A class from the food to the padded seats, I did come back with one complaint. And it doesn’t involve the BCCI. The toilets – ah, the dreaded zone to review – were good enough but people still need to learn a lot of etiquette.
It was disgusting to see a diaper – a baby diaper – disposed off in a commode! Really? We have learned to use diapers but not how to dispose them? Or where NOT to dispose them at least. I believe educating the people in general is going to take a long time.
From waving the tricolor and cheering with slogans, the cricket fever in the stadium is contagious! And when the kids cannot contain themselves in their chairs anymore, there is plenty of free space and legroom to wander about a little. And the highlight of the 2nd day was meeting a Fan who has become as popular as the cricketers themselves: Sudhir Kumar Chaudhary.
We have seen him on TV in almost every match and knew him as the ‘Greatest Fan of Tendulkar’. He was nice enough to pose with everyone and spoke very kindly to my little duo who went up to him. And when they wanted to take a selfie with him, he was kind enough to take their phone in his hands and click the perfect selfie to bring back.
They had a question for him – whether he preferred M.S. Dhoni or Virat Kohli. The kids were smart enough to leave Sachin out of the question as that would give them a predictable answer. The question was smilingly deferred which I would have done too lol. And of course, by the time we left, the kids were referring to him as ‘Sudhir Uncle’ 🙂
Girls Day Out
On one of the 4 days, I decided to forgo the match and my daughter got to take her girl gang on our tickets.
Now Fabulous Daddy is already popular with all the kids for being a fantastic cook. He earned even more brownie points that day when he drove the girls to and from the match!
A test match is really the fun and relaxed way to enjoy cricket with the family. The stadium isn’t over-crowded like for ODIs and the tickets are not overpriced like for the T20. And it is fun to watch the men playing in white jerseys like the good old fashioned days :). To say that the kids had fun would be an under statement, but going beyond kids, let me tell you that I had fun! The preparations, the anticipation, the drive, the game and the experience – everything was fun from the start to the end!