Here are the snippets from the England-India 2nd Test match which is being played at the Wankhede Stadium.
Cricket spawns a cottage industry
Cricket has spawned a whole cottage industry. Outside the Wankhede, hawkers did brisk business selling the Indian tri-colour in various sizes (Rs 80-200). Face painting: Rs 20-50; assorted whistles and trumpets: Rs 50-250; merchandise like T-shirts with Indian insignia: Rs 200-1,000; colourful synthetic wigs: Rs 200-400. Gone are the days when paper visors, placards showing '4' and '6' and the like were distributed free of cost by marketing-savvy sponsors.
Original Paaji remains a hero
During the lunch break, Kapil Dev, looking dapper in a beige suit and flanked by Ramiz Raja and a white commentator, strolled on to the turf for a TV interview. As he walked back with the crew later and neared a stand, spectators erupted in cheery, raucous greeting, which he acknowledged with his toothy smile and a wave of hand. Heroes remain heroes, ever popular, despite greying hair. Don't they?
Mumbai can't but love its Master
The loudest cheers and applause were reserved for, who else, the local 'boy' Sachin Tendulkar. Every move, each piece of his fielding, a simple glance, a wave of hand – anything and everything was greeted with a maddening, deafening roar of approval and adulation. So much so that when the Little Master stepped back on the field after a break, with the giant scoreboard suggesting (wrongly) the last over of the day was coming up, the seemingly dead crowd sprung back to life instantly.
Just to show how clued in they are about cricket, the Mumbai crowd raised the loudest cheers for Pujara, Ojha, Harbhajan and Yuvraj. Gambhir's brilliant reflexes on the field were well appreciated. Sehwag was greeted with mighty applause whenever he stood near the western stands. And the brilliant batting displays by Cook and Pietersen again evoked all round applause, as if to underscore that Mumbai's crowds are discerning and non-partisan.
Mangola makes way for cola
Mangola, Mumbaikars' preferred soft drink, seems to have made way for cola. New generation, new tastes, new styles. Big screen replays, it seems, are encouraging some spectators to take it easy. Very few were seen watching each and every delivery with attention. Some were seen losing focus on on-field cricket, and appeared more interested in personal conversations, newspapers, mobile chats/texting, clicking mood pix with smartphones, leaving the stands during play for refreshments. To give the devil its due, the MCA deserves some credit for making available a host of refreshments at reasonable prices. What's more, samosas, sandwiches, vada-pavs, pizzas, colas, ice-creams, crisps, chaklis... all were delivered to the seat. Thank God for small, delicious mercies.
Woes of cops on cricket duty
Asked if the policemen on special duty at the ground get any special allowance, a cop smiled sardonically first, said no, and then shared a sob story with a woebegone look. “Forget special allowance, we have to put in 12- to 14-hour shifts. The MCA assures payments to the government for providing security, but talk is, they owe a lot of money. Even the IPL bills are pending apparently. We have to reach the ground by 6:30 am, three hours before the scheduled start of play. To do that, some of us have to wake up at 4 am to get ready in oder to catch the first local. By the time we leave the ground, it's usually 8-9 pm. We barely get a few hours of sleep at home.”