V. V. Subrahmanyam

Crowds get their money’s worth at the ODI

HYDERABAD: Hyderabadis responded in spectacular fashion. Defying security concerns and sharp morning showers. A jam-packed crowd at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium lustily cheered every moment during the India-Australia ODI on Friday. As the gloomy weather paved the way for pleasant conditions, there were smiles not just on the faces of the 40,000 fans but also on the HCA officials too for an in incident-free match.

The crowds gave a wonderful exhibition of the famous ‘Mexican Wave’ repeating the cycle across the stands .

Vendors cash in

The vendors too cashed in on the craze – ordinary water bottles were sold for Rs. 50, snacks at double the market price. Be it the belligerent batting by Andrew Symonds or Yuvraj Singh, or the brilliant sliding efforts by the Australian fielders near the fence, each of those efforts got a truly sporting acknowledgement from the huge crowd.

Lending glamour

There was a touch of glamour too as Tollywood stars including Venkatesh and Chiranjeevi were present. The decibel level was unusually high. “It was very noisy but that is the way crowds are in India. Definitely, I had difficulty in getting the bowlers’ attention on the field,” said Aussie captain Ricky Ponting.

Like always, the biggest cheers were reserved for Sachin Tendulkar when he fielded in the deep. Next big hit was Irfan Pathan. The roar of applause when Saurav Ganguly walked across to hand over a pair of gloves as substitute to Tendulkar was another pointer of their support for the ‘Prince of Kolkata’.

Well, even the Australians seemed to have enjoyed the wonderful ambience.

Hayden dances

For Mathew Hayden was seen displaying his dancing skills to the famous tune of ‘Chak De India’. There were contrasting gestures – like the sporting one by Ricky Ponting walking across to pat Yuvraj Singh after his century and Brad Hogg provoking Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The sporting spirit of the city too was evident. No sign of frayed tempers when India eventually lost the match. What mattered to was a high quality match, the result being secondary.

In the end Shivlal Yadav, secretary of HCA, had every reason to smile. It was also a tribute to the efficacy of the police and other related agencies in ensuring it.