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ICC World Cup: Mumbai's cricket fans are gearing up for 2015 edition

With the cricket World Cup just two days away, Mumbai is changing its daily schedule, buying TVs and making plans for big matches, for a slice of the action

Early to bed and early to rise, will be the mantra from this weekend for many Mumbaikars. The change in schedule is not a sudden health concern in the city, but it is the cricket fever that has gripped most.

Indian fans cheer during the ICC Cricket World Cup warm up match. Pic/AFP
Indian fans cheer during the ICC Cricket World Cup warm up match. Pic/AFP

Jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand the tournament will commence on February 14 and will end on March 29. For a month and a half, most people will have early mornings and very few late nights.

Before sunrise
With some matches scheduled to start at 3:30 am IST (Indian Standard Time) lovers of the gentleman’s game will have to be up early morn. Chris Rodrigues, (16), who is a huge fan of the game, is set to be up before the crack of dawn.

Indian fans will cheer harder at the opener against Pakistan on Sunday morning. Pic/AP
Indian fans will cheer harder at the opener against Pakistan on Sunday morning. Pic/AP

He says, “The first match of the series is set to be a thriller with co-hosts New Zealand taking on Sri Lanka. This exciting match is at 3:30 am. Since it is the first match of the tournament, I will surely wake up early to see it.” With exams round the corner, the standard XI student is hoping to juggle studies and the matches along with college. 

“I am hoping India defends the World Cup, fortunately all our matches are at decent hours and on weekends, so I will surely watch those. The other matches, I will pick and choose to watch. But I will check the score regularly,” says Rodrigues.

Bhavan’s College, Andheri student Leo Crasto will also be waking up early to watch the matches. “I love playing cricket and watching the game always gives me a thrill. More than a fan of a particular player or team, I am a fan of the game. I love watching the exceptional fielding and batting. The 50-over game has a charm of its own which cannot be taken away by 20:20 games.”

Special merchandise
Marketing executive, Tassavur Shaikh will be buying the 1992 cricket kits. He says, “That was the first year when coloured clothes were worn in the cricket World Cup. This makes the kit very special. It has a lot of nostalgia related to it and is also a great way to cheer the teams in the ‘original’ colours in a way.”

Shaikh adds, “When I am at work, I am going to use social media and online channels to watch the matches. At home in the evenings, I will surely watch the highlights to get a feel of all the action that I missed. Over the weekends, I will watch all matches and am hoping to catch all the early morning matches as well as the first half of the 9 am games.”

Virar resident, Silvon Lopes has bought wristbands of the various countries which he will wear as he cheers them on. The college student says, “I am supporting South Africa. I think 2015 will be the year when they finally win something big. For me, even a few hours of sleep is fine. I love the way AB de Villiers plays and so I have bought his South Africa jersey No 17 which I will wear when I watch them play.”

Mark the dates
Travel professional Bhavik Doshi who was supposed to go on a trip to Goa with friends for the carnival in Goa over the weekend, has cancelled his plans. The Sion resident says, “The cricket World Cup for me is time to devote all my energy watching India play. For the last four World Cups, I have watched all the matches religiously. This year too, I plan to do the same.”

Doshi plans to buy a smaller TV to watch the matches, so that his family's television (TV) serials do not stop him from watching them. He says, “There is always a TV war as my family cannot forego watching their favourite serials. I have ensured that I am in town for the 1.5 months of matches. I do not want to miss a single minute. My own TV will surely be useful.”

M.Com student Steffi Gomes will be watching the matches with her father. She says, “The cricket matches are a great time for me and dad to bond and spend some father-daughter time together. We will watch all the matches by waking up early. Both of us are huge fans of South Africa. This year surely, is their turn to lift the trophy. My sisters and mother only watch India matches, but my dad and I both love cricket."

The Andheri resident adds that she always paces up and down during the nail-biting finishes. “I get too excited when the game nears the end. In cricket, that is the crucial time when anything can happen. My exams are scheduled for April, so I am glad that I will be able to watch the World Cup without much tension.”

Screenings and more
Commercial photographer Sagar Prasad has invested in a special projector so his friends and he can watch the matches. The Vile Parle resident says, “All my friends are hoping and praying that India retain the World Cup.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (MSD) is a very shrewd captain and even in Australia-New Zealand, I am confident he will help India win even though currently many are saying we are playing badly.”

There will be breakfast rather than popcorn at the special screenings. Prasad says, "We are planning different types of breakfast from South Indian to North Indian to Italian, English and Continental.The coming weeks are set to be a big party for my friends and me."

Afreen Khan is planning to watch the matches with her family. The Andheri resident says, “The India-Pakistan clash on Sunday is the match I am most excited about. I am a huge Virat Kohli fan. I want to see him smash a century in that match. My one-year-old niece will be wearing a special India jersey that I got her for all the matches.

I am sure that she will be a lucky charm for the team. I am so confident of an India win that I have already told my mother to make biryani for lunch so we can have a celebratory meal.” As the tournament advances, Khan plans to watch matches with her friends as well.

She says, “There was a family wedding in Bhopal over the first weekend in March. Since it clashed with the World Cup, I have decided not to attend it. For me cricket is first. While my family is away for the wedding, my house will become a cricket match screening venue as I plan to invite my friends to watch the matches.”

Some superstitions
While watching the matches, Khan always keeps the volume on an odd number. She says, “I always pray for the team I am supporting, so that they win by a massive margin. Very often, my prayers are answered.

I have noticed a correlation between the volume being on an odd number and the team I am supporting winning, so I stick to this ritual of sorts.” Shadrach Carvalho, 16 who will watch the matches with his family says, “Whenever I watch the matches, I always keep all my snacks and drinks ready so that I can sit in one place and watch the full match.

The break between overs is washroom time for me. I hate missing even a single minute. I have noticed that when I am not watching the match India loses. I will try to watch all the matches as I want MSD and team to bring back the Cup.”

Obviously, with the clock ticking to countdown, the adrenaline is pumping not just in Australia-New Zealand, but here too. Fans will be cheering the team on from their TV sets here in Mumbai. The love of the game of cricket is set to eclipse Valentine’s Day weekend for many. Cupid kayoed by cricket.

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