What inspired me to write today is not something so significant for a layman but it means a lot for a cricket enthusiast and a genuine well wisher of the sport. It’s the crowd that turned up at the Wankhede on Saturday.
It is the first test match being played at the infamous MCA cricket stadium in the south of Mumbai, the first test in the last 40 years without a Mumbaikar in. Even then, there were over 20000 spectators witnessing the finest form of the game all day in a stadium which has a maximum capacity of 30000.
The way the crowd cheered when The Indian batsmen achieved milestones just resembled the atmosphere of a limited over game at the Wankhede.
With a lot of emphasis on limiting the sport and catching up with the trend of shortening games to attain peak entertainment in a very less period of time has been a threat of the classical form. And this gesture from the so called busiest people in India, the Mumbaikars is very much appreciated.
The city has a rich culture of the sport starting from the Bombay Gymkhana in the early days till the present day record breaking and always contending for the crown Mumbai Ranji side.
The sport has been carried well by a lot of stars and the fact that there has always been a Mumbaiker in the test side when India played in Mumbai shows how much the city has always contributed to the sport.
The most legendary one from the city being The Master himself, Sachin Tendulkar, the sport has risen to different standards and with regular games of different formats being played across different grounds in the city, the city is constantly put intact with the sport.
Putting all this aside, the present scenario where test cricket is on the verge of being extinct, at least in the way people view it, this is something to cheer for all the genuine cricket lovers who would wish to see the true test of talent, character and patience of the players. The format is one where the game and the players are given utmost respect throughout the match.
There has already been pink ball Cricket initiated by a lot of countries just to encourage and attract masses to the longer format of the sport. But with regular occurrences of such incidents (similar turn-up in the second test in Vizag) of great love for test cricket, I don’t think the BCCI needs to ever compromise on the classical standards of the highest format of the game just to enrich pockets.
And to the people across the globe, test cricket as it is, is the best form of the gentleman’s game which gives immense pleasure when watched with an empty mind and love for the sport.
Once again thank you Mumbaikars!
You love cricket! We love you!
What do you love most about Wankhede? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo by Andrew G Thomas