Ranji final: MCA stadium's dog squad have Bollywood character names

Pune: The names of some of the canine guards being inspired by Bollywood action films make the 24-member dog squad that protects the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium extra special. For example, while one is called Zanjeer, another is Don and a third Veer. One is called Teja, inspired by the Bollywood villain.

Maharashtra Cricket Association's dog squad in Pune
Maharashtra Cricket Association's dog squad in Pune

"The idea was to keep their names short because the trainers can call out to them easily – the other examples are Prince, Flash, Axis, Rex, Bruno, Lucky, etc," Kishore Naware, the boss of the dog squad, told mid-day yesterday.

The squad has six breeds - Malinois, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Labrador, Doberman and Rottweiler - who are accompanied by trainers when on security duty. The maintenance of these dogs costs the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) approximately R5 lakh per month which includes food and vaccination.

The idea behind having dogs as part of the security set-up was to avoid erecting metal barricades on the boundary. "We did not want any obstruction of view for the spectators. To curb indiscipline from the crowd, we thought of deploying these dogs near the gates and boundary line. It is not to scare the spectators, but they know they are being watched by these dogs," MCA president Ajay Shirke said.

Clapping away to a superstition
Saurashtra's players made Day Two of the Ranji Trophy final played at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Gahunje here more exciting with their unique way of cheering their bowlers.

The XI on the ground, the reserve players and the support staff members all clapped in sync till the bowler reached his mark. Their clapping pattern was, "clap clap (pause) clap clap".

Saurashtra have been practising this from the first match of the season. They do it quite often as they believe it also fetches them wickets. "We have been doing it in every match of this season. It is just to build tempo and team spirit," Saurashtra's assistant coach Niraj Odedra told mid-day yesterday.

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