Thiruvananthapuram

Cricket fever grips Thiruvananthapuram as men in blue pad up to face off with the Windies

Cricket fans at the Greenfield International Stadium during a Twenty20 match between India and New Zealand in 2017

Cricket fans at the Greenfield International Stadium during a Twenty20 match between India and New Zealand in 2017   | Photo Credit: M VEDHAN

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Greenfield International Stadium at Karyavattom hosts India vs West Indies day/night T20 match on December 8

The stage is set for fireworks of boundaries and sixes as India take on the West Indies at the Greenfield International Stadium tomorrow in a day/night T20 match. Cricket lovers in the city are leaving no stone unturned to partake in the jamboree and catch a glimpse of their favourite sporting stars up close.

While many make do with the live telecast in the comfort of their homes, there are others who plan to catch the action unfold before their very eyes. Like techie Nithin Sasi, who has made it a point not to miss any international cricket match taking place in the city.

“Rain proved a dampener in the first one, back in 2017, between India vs New Zealand, which was a T20 game. Last year’s ODI between India and the West Indies felt almost like a T20 match as we bowled the Windies out for just 104 and quickly wrapped up the game with a victory. This time, I hope for a nail-biting encounter,” says Nithin, who’ll take to the stadium with his friends, all wearing the Team India jersey.

Cricket fans at the Greenfield International Stadium during a Twenty20 match between India and New Zealand in 2017

Cricket fans at the Greenfield International Stadium during a Twenty20 match between India and New Zealand in 2017   | Photo Credit: M VEDHAN

For cricket buff S R Suraj, a BSNL employee, it’s his maiden game at a stadium and he’s uber-excited. “My friends and I plan to whoop it up for very boundary and six. India’s current ICC T20 ranking, which place it in fifth position, does not bother me. I’m keeping my fingers’ crossed for a comfortable win for us,” says Suraj, a self-confessed fan of Rahul Dravid.

As the atmosphere turns electric, team spirit on the field spills over to the gallery and fans gear up to soak in all the camaraderie. Mexican waves and flash waves on cue will be sights to behold, even as selfies, group photos and status updates are all part of the package. Football fanatic Mahesh Venkatraman says with a chuckle that he’s willing to be “cricket fan” for one day.

“After all, how often do you get to see professional players in the city? It’s going to be a photo opportunity,” says Mahesh, a software developer.

With the International Film Festival of Kerala also on, movie buff Anjana SS confesses that she faces a dilemma. “So I plan to watch the movies till evening and then scoot off to Karyavattom,” she says.

Fans during an ODI match between India and West Indies at the Greenfield International Stadium last year

Fans during an ODI match between India and West Indies at the Greenfield International Stadium last year   | Photo Credit: B JOTHI RAMALINGAM

As ticket bookings for Sunday’s match opened, Premsankar Chakkingal, a guest lecture at the Government College, Karyavattom, had put up a post on his Facebook page urging his friends and students to book seats in the same pavilion that offered a vantage point in order to catch the game together. “Since we have a green protocol in effect at the stadium for the game, we will explore options available in and around the stadium at the time such as eco-friendly flags, face painting and so on as part of cheering the teams. Of course, we’ll be donning the blue jersey,” Premsankar says.

Rooting for Sanju Samson

Many point out that the fixture falling on a Sunday has helped the cause.

This time, working professionals do not have to worry about “applying for leave” or getting caught in traffic snarls in the rush hour.

The late evening schedule also comes as a respite from the sun. However, perhaps, the biggest excitement is the inclusion of local boy Sanju Samson in the squad, and cricket lovers from the city eagerly hope that the wicket-keeper-batsman will make the playing eleven on match day.

“My all-time favourite cricket player is Sachin (Tendulkar). Since his retirement, I have been rooting for Virat Kohli. This time, I wish to see Sanju setting the stage on fire with his bat. What a sight that would be for Trivandrumites!” says Vipin EP, a techie.

Howzat!

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 1:24:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/cricket-fever-grips-thiruvananthapuram-as-men-in-blue-pad-up-to-face-off-with-the-windies/article30212314.ece

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