Thursday, November 27, 2008

Cricket in Cuttack

I've never been into to cricket but when Ryan said he had some tickets to watch England play India in Cuttack I jumped at the chance. The first challenge was to sort out transport. The easiest way to get to Cuttack is by bus and, whilst obtaining a ticket for the outward journey was straightforward, getting a return ticket turned out to be a challenge. The people in Bhawanipatna refuse to liaise with their colleagues in Cuttack because "they not good peoples" so I had to rope in my erstwhile friend, Baijayant, who spoke to a friend, who knew someone, who had a cousin, who would arrange a place for me on a bus coming back – no ticket but I was assured it would be OK - so off I set. The overnight journey takes 12 hours but some of the buses have a row of beds above the seats so you get to lie down and at least try to sleep. The only problem was the rather narrow beds didn't have any form of barrier to stop you falling off so I spent the night clinging to the bars on the windows petrified I'd be jettisoned 5 feet to the floor by one of the numerous jolts and bumps. I managed to arrive unscathed however and by 7am I was sitting in a hotel having breakfast with Ryan and his wife Claire. After several cups of rather disgusting coffee – I really must remember to stick to tea – and some cornflakes served with hot milk – it's how they like them in India – we made our way to the match. It was easy to find an auto-rickshaw – one look at our white faces and the driver set off to the Stadium without needing to ask where we wanted to go. On arrival we stood, for a couple of hours, in one of the most orderly queues I have seen anywhere in the world before we finally made it to our seats. We'd decided to go for the full experience so had bought the cheapest seats on offer – about £4 each – which turned out to be a concrete step. It was great fun sitting amongst the entirely Indian crowd. There were about 22,000 people and we appeared to be the only English people our side of the stadium although we did spot a lone Union Jack on the other side. The "Barmy Army" was noticeable by its absence. Everyone was fascinated by us being there and, in a truly sportsman like way, the whole crowd clapped when our batsmen made a good hit – not very many I'm afraid – and stood and cheered when Petersen scored the first century by an English player in India for over 6 years – Millwall v Tottenham it certainly wasn't. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see India bat as I had to make my way back. Somehow, I managed to find the right bus and, although nobody actually asked who I was, they all seemed to know – ticket or no ticket – that one of the seats on the packed bus was reserved for "madam" and I made it back to Bhawanipatna this morning with just enough time to have a shower before I went to work. Click here for more pictures.

1 comment:

Sri Prabhat said...

Good musing ;next time please,watch India batting here.