Cricket - India Premeire League Hyderabad vs Delhi

Trip Start Mar 29, 2007
Trip End Sep 30, 2009

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Flag of India  ,
Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Just a quick update today to show you some photo's from the first India Premiere League cricket match played in Hyderabad at Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium.  I won't go into details on what the India Premiere is (you can read here for more info on the IPL) but essentially it's an attempt to take the best of the best cricket players from around the world, "sell" the players off to the 8 largest cities in India who will have IPL teams and then compete against each other over the course of two months with the top 4 teams participating in a winner take all tournament.  It's based on the 20/20 format of cricket which means an average game lasts as long as an average American baseball unlike other forms of cricket, a match doesn't last an entire day or longer for "test" match cricket.  As cricket is so popular in India (more so than another other country in the world), it makes complete sense for India to try this.  I was able to secure primo seats (2500 rupees each) for the opening game of the Hyderabad team...The Deccan Chargers.  The Chargers spent the second most money on bringing players to play for them...and has a roster consisting of a couple huge stars from Australia (Symmonds and Gilchrest)
The match on Tuesday night started at 8PM and as the stadium is completely on the other side of town, my friend from the U.S. and I left my flat at 6PM for the journey.  Thank gawd we did as we used up the entire two hours to drive basically 20 kilometers.  At the parking lot for our ticket holders, we hopped aboard a bus for the journey to the stadium.  Once there we were looking for Gate #2 and received incorrect instructions that sent us completely on the other side of the I was nice and pissed off at the staff by the time we walked back to the entrance and our appropriate gate.  Our seats were basically field level just behind the Deccan Chargers bench...and when each "over" concluded, a television camera on a long boom would sweep over the audience right on top of us.  I got three text messages from different folks watching the match on TV that said I was on television more than a few times (being the only white guy in a sea of Indians tends to make one stand out).
The game was very entertaining as were the Australian cheerleaders the team owner had flied in the shake their stuff during the season.  As I write this several weeks into the IPL season, the cheerleaders hired by many of the IPL franchises have caused a major uproar in India amongst the conservatives (google IPL and cheerleaders and you'll find many news articles on it).  The stadium itself is very nice...but the IPL has a lot to learn in terms of fan comfort.  Getting a coke to drink or a Deccan Chargers jersey was either very difficult and/or impossible given the lack of booths selling those items.  We stayed and watched Hyderabad bat and not do much damage at all.  When Delhi was up to bat and it became obvious that Hyderabad had no chance of winning, we took off to avoid the traffic nightmare.  Ended up being a good thing as it only took 40 minutes to get home.  Since going to this match the Hyderabad team has performed awfull winning only two matches out of eight.
All in all it was a great experience...but I don't know I'd go again unless I was in a VIP box or was with a large group.  I think IPL has a chance of being a huge success...but the team owners need to take a lesson from other stadiums in other parts of the world when it comes to access, instructions and crowd services.
Enjoy the pics!
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