Thursday, February 04, 2010

The big shots

The magnitude of the event first struck me when I saw the coverage in the papers. In a country where we jump with joy if cricket gets a 1" x 1" piece in a hidden corner in the last page of the free newspaper, it was amazing to see the extensive media coverage. The event in question was the IA T20 Super Challenge (Olam Cup). Based on the concept of the IPL, it was a 2-day T20 tournament involving four teams - Eastern Riders, Western Challengers, Northern Spice Devils and Southern Kings (Viv's team).

They had some sort of a quota system and each team comprised three Singaporeans, three players from the region in India that the team was named after, three 'foreigners' and two Under-19 players.

"What do they mean -- 'foreigners'?" I asked.

I was so not prepared to hear the answer. In recent weeks, Atapattu had been the only celebrity cricketer who had come to Singapore (he's the National team's new coach). He was not playing this tournament. But Sanath Jayasuriya was! And so was Upul Tharanga. In the Eastern Riders team.

I went with Viv for the opening ceremony dinner and who did I see seated 20 feet away? Sunil Gavaskar! Holy cow, the man is still so handsome! Apparently, the high Commissioner was going to bowl the first ball of the tournament to Gavaskar! We were joking about how the High Commissioner must have been practising like mad for the last few days, and what would happen if he really got Gavaskar out for a duck.

As our friends Reghu and Aathira are in Singapore, we decided that the three of us would go for the second day's matches. The supporters had been asked to wear the team's colours. Unfortunately for me, Viv's team's colour was a jhataak yellow! Why why why? Sheesh. I did not have any yellow clothes. So we went shopping on saturday. I found a yellow dress but no, no no no. No. I did not buy it. It was too jhataak. I did not want to buy something that I would have no use for after the match. So in the end, I decided on a jhataak yellow bandanna instead. I think I pulled it off okay, at least compared to Viv who actually came home on Saturday looking like a cross between Govinda and Rajanikanth. He had his team yellow pants on and a sky blue T-shirt. Ahem.

On Saturday, Viv's team won the first match against the Northern Spice Devils, but lost to Jayasuriya's Eastern Riders team. Jayasuriya made 102. But I was thrilled because Viv had taken Upul Tharanga's catch. I can only imagine the elation of the guy who got Jayasuriya out. Stuff to put on his cricket resume!

The Western Challengers also beat the Northern Spice Devils, so they were in the semi-finals with the Southern Kings. Now I have two good friends in the Western Challengers team, and though both of them are supremely talented (one is the record holder for the second fastest century in T20, while the other is the record holder for scoring a double century in T20), for some reason they believe that when I turn up for their matches, it brings them good luck. So the semi-finals on Sunday morning was a weird one. I was there in my yellow bandanna, supporting Viv's team, but the Western Challengers were happy to see me because "Sayesha always makes us win". Gulp.

The organisers had proudly displayed a newspaper at the venue on Sunday. It was the Straits Times article about the event, and the photo was from the Southern Kings vs. Northern Spice Devils match. And... the wicket-keeper in the photo was Viv.

If you didn't believe how jhataak Viv's yellow was, I bet you do now.

My friend Reghu is an avid photographer and he has one of those giant cameras which just don't go with the whole "The world is trying to make things smaller" campaign. He took some really awesome action shots of the semi-final. I had my tiny digital camera on me, which also has a huge superstition attached to it. Every time I switch to video mode, Viv's team gets a wicket. It proved true in this match too. And just when I decided to keep it permanently on video mode, the battery died on me. :/

The Western Challengers had a huge group of supporters, while we were only a handful. In fact, the announcer joked, "We welcome the team and the five people in the stands". Thunk thunk thunk.

We were a bit perplexed because one of the Western supporters (the most violently passionate one I'd say) kept yelling "SIXER! SIXER!" whenever the Southern Kings scored a single. After a while, we realised she was actually yelling, "SINGAL! SINGAL!" Sheesh.

Every time the match turned in the favour of the Western Challengers, the song "Chale chalo" from Lagaan would start playing, and every time the Southern Kings did well, the song "Naan adicha thaanga maate, naalu maasam thoonga maate" would start playing. I had no idea what that song meant until Viv translated it for me later. "If I hit you, you can't withstand it. You won't sleep for 4 months". Double sheesh.

Anyway, we were in for a disappointment as the Southern Kings lost the semi-final to the Western Challengers. I went over to congratulate my two friends and inform them that from now on, ahem, I would be charging for every appearance.

And so it was the Western Challengers vs. the Eastern Riders in the finals. The Western team managed to get Jayasuriya out for real cheap, but Tharanga blasted his team to victory.

T20 really is my kind of cricket. I can't wait for the tournament next year. Erm, I hope they get Shane Bond.

And more importantly, I hope that Viv's team gets a better colour. :/


Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Gold, unbelievable!! :)

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Aare wah, Silver bhi apna! :)

Bhai autograph liya ke nahi sabka? :)

manasi.mulye said...

Nahiii.. Silver mera..

nits said...


Revs said...

All taporis are becoming greedy. Sab sirf gold silver chilaate hain, comment nahi karte hain :P
You saw Jayasuriya and Viv played with him????????
Wowwwwww!! how cool is that!! :)
And that yellow.. Hmmm!! Not bad. but did Viv manage to walk on the streets of Singapore without scaring the children and old ladies? :P
Kidding!! :)

Angelsera said...

Great foto! Please send my congrats to Viv, he looks awesome in the foto

jennifer said...

i was hoping to see your picture in that yellow bandana.
i guess u once said u liked a yellow dress worn by katrina kaif in singh is king?

btw been reading ur blog for a long time. never got around to commenting.

rt said...

the yellow is fabulous!!!
bole to ekdum chakachak aankhein chamka dene wala.....i hope they dont change the team colours next year :P

Taurus Girl said...

This post brought back some memories for me.. like when I met Gavaskar.. the man is a legend!!
And how exciting it is to watch a live cricket match!!
Congrats to Viv.. it is an achievement for sure...
N even i hope they don't change the yellow... :P

~ Lopa said...

Ohh wow that's a amazing pic.... Who would not feel proud seeing it !

And come on that yellow is not that bad, ya but really jhakash, really comes out in the picture :)

Nishith Prabhakar said...

good going Vivek!

What's wrong with the color, they are wearing the Aussie Golden!

Technofun said...

Nice pic...Viv must be flying this days.. playing with all Srilankan stars :)

Arun said...

Gold, silver are all faaltu.


Sayesha said...

Naah, I am not into autographs. :)

Hahaha! Hema Malini! :D


Can't agree more! Laalchi bewdas! :P

I am more worried about how he came back in the Govinda outfit! :D

Thanks! I'm sure he's reading this and grinning away. :)

Oh yeah! That awesome dress in Singh is Kinng where she slaps Akshay. Wow. :D
PS: Welcome (formally!) to the bar. :)

Hahahahaha! :D

#Taurus Girl,
Why why why? Why does everyone want to keep the yellow? :O

It was SO jhataak my eyes hurt when I first saw his outfit!

Thanks! It was SO not Aussie golden. It was totally Rajanikanh-Govinda yellow! :O


Hehehe! Sounds better than what someone had yelled out once -- scrap iron! LOL! :D

Tejal said...

I think all colours look fab on Viv. Thank you very much.

Sayesha said...

LOL! President HAMESHA end mein aati hai aur ek dhinchaak statement maarke jaati hai! :D

Porkodi (பொற்கொடி) said...

WoW!!!!!! bhai and Viv are celebrities in every sense! :D

Shekhar said...

ROFL !!! Ha ha ha... bhai, I think they got their 'yellow fever' from the colour of the uniform that Chennai Super Kings wear for the IPL.

Lekin bhai, Gavaskar Sir ke saath photo khichvai ki nahi?? ~worried look~

Arun said...

Long long ago, in an Indian town far away from where I am now, I have a vague recollection of having seen Gavaskar - there was an exhibition match against Sri Lanka. Must have been the early 70s.

B. S. Chandrasekhar had definitely come. I recall him much more clearly. I vaguely remember E.A.S. Prasanna.

Anyway, one reason this post got "Unobtainium" from me, is because that sort of Gavaskar connection over a huge gulf of time.

Anonymous said...

the yellow is so bright it blinds the opposite team's players so they wouldn't be able to play properly :P

Stone said...

Hidden coach inside me says 'Good technique Viv' :-)

Anonymous said...

what a pity he didn't get captioned, hee hee!

champagne all round! (maybe the next uniform will be toned down to 'champagne')

Jass said...

wow! Viv played with jayasuriya et al? awesome!
P.S: Actually, i think yellow is kinda cool. ;-)

N said...

Hey what wrong with this yellow?? i had these track pants (very similar to what Viv is wearing) and I used to gym out in them. Very smart I must say :D

And Viv...does that stand for Vivek?

This picture is better than the ones you have uploaded earlier...or did I miss seeing the good ones?

日月神教-任我行 said...