A group of eight friends made their way to Chennai from Kadapa (Andhra Pradesh) just to witness the IPL final on Sunday. Must be die-hards of either Knight Riders or Super Kings, we assume. Turns out that it's not the case.
“We are in the business of selling mobile phones. We have closed our shop for the day just to come here and watch the match. Firstly, we are fans of cricket and so we aren't supporting any team in particular,” says Sheikh Mushtaq.
What's, however, hard to miss is that the majority of people in the group are wearing the purple-and-gold jersey of KKR. “Just for the heck of it. Everyone here is supporting CSK, so we thought we will balance things a bit,” smiles Mushtaq.
Azeem is an exception though; he is clad in CSK's yellow. “I am supporting the team for Dhoni.” Mushtaq sums up his group's agenda for the evening. “We don't care who wins. We just hope it will be a good game.”
People with whacky costumes and whackier hairdos have been routinely sighted at stadiums during this year's IPL. The most commonly seen accessory has been the Malinga-inspired multi-coloured, fuzzy wig. Another oddly-crafted wig, seemingly modelled on Sunil Narine's hairstyle, comes a distant second.
But there were a couple of regally dressed gentlemen — quite literally — who cornered all the attention as they were standing in the queue to get into the stadium. Decked up in a princely attire, complete with an armour and a crown, they flaunted their paper mache maces.
On the field, though, it was the commentators who stole the show as they walked around the field dressed in sherwanis. ‘Mad Max' Danny Morrison and birthday boy Ravi Shastri were the star attractions.
The Chennai crowd has had a longstanding reputation for being a gracious lot. The standing ovation accorded to Wasim Akram's side after Pakistan edged out India in that famous Test match in 1999 is a recurring image.
That image took a bit of a beating when the crowd booed actor and KKR team owner Shah Rukh Khan whenever his face was flashed on the giant screen. There was no denying that it was in bad taste.