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At a feverish pitch

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OBSESSION unlimited Fans go to extremes to display their love for cricket
OBSESSION unlimited Fans go to extremes to display their love for cricket

The World Cup mania has gripped all and sundry J.R. SHRIDHARAN speaks to avid fans

Swollen eyes, sleepless nights and endless cricket talk. This syndrome has struck die-hard cricket fans in Vijayawada, thanks to the ongoing World Cup 2007 at the Caribbean Islands. For the next 40-odd days, the on-field performances of popular teams would simply set that adrenalin racing. This is also a time when every avid cricket fan becomes a commentator, dissecting every move on the fieldThe mammoth event, organised once in every four years, has created an unprecedented frenzy, especially among the youngsters, notwithstanding the odd telecast hours (the matches end at well beyond 2 a.m.) and the public examinations. In fact, the World Cup has led to a mini war for the remote controls at homesm where one section wants to catch the cricket action while the other is all for the popular soaps."I love to watch Sharukh Khan in KBC. But my son has usurped the TV," says Sudha Ravinder, a bank employee.Keen to cash in on the cricket hype the corporate companies and hospitality industries have pitched in fervently adding further to the cricket fever. Says Rajesh Berry, General Manager of Hotel D.V. Manor: "Cricket is the lifeline of India. The attachment towards cricket in India is mind-boggling. We have launched Cricket Mania-2007 in our Aromas-multi cuisine restaurant and Springs, our 24-hour coffee shop, which will be on till April 28, when the tournament comes to an end. To make it more interesting the entire hotel staff was seen in the Indian cricket team's blue attire on the inaugural day of the food festival. When the World Cup is on can the television companies afford to lie dormant? Festoons and billboards screaming tempting colour TV offers decorate the thoroughfares aplenty, flummoxing the gullible customers. Several commercial establishments have hung attractive "best of luck" placards for `Men in Blue', thus becoming part of the World Cup festivity. While there are die-hard fans who will go to the extent of body painting or styling their haircuts to the World Cup trophy, there are some who refuse to burn the mid night lamp to catch the live action due to the bizarre match timings. "I am not that obsessed to spoil my next day's schedule. I would rather look out for the result in the morning newspaper," says Sadiq of Dilip Opticals. For qualified National Cricket Academy coach S. Srinivas Reddy, his wards are more important than World Cup extravaganza. "I need to be at the nets by 5 a.m. and it will be difficult for me watch the entire proceedings till 2 a.m. I would rather watch the highlights the next day," says the coach. The World Cup was a God-sent boon for the politicians contesting for the council elections as a candidate Peddireddy Gopala Reddy added a dash of novelty to his campaign by performing a homam atop Indrakeeladri praying for India's triumph.

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