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Hockey with Sachin, match fixing and what not

by Gaurav Sethi

I made it to the National Stadium for the India-Spain game, with a Spanish friend, and then another Spanish friend. So it wasn’t just in the middle that we was outnumbered. It’s so easy to love hockey, even the fulltime scoreboard Aus 12 SAF 0 made me gleeful. Was I having another of those euphoric sports’ moments, or had Sehwag and Sachin pulled on my heartstrings too?

Then the Pak England game. It was clear the crowd was behind Pak, and that puzzled Tito more than me. Part of me still thinks the crowd surprised themselves, but this is Delhi – and the Punjabiness of the city will always lay claim to a bizarre sense of bonhomie, one that often defies logic.

What did it for me though was, one when Pak scored, and we all went nuts – almost like India had scored against Pak. And secondly, when the Poms went crazy scoring, the chants of, “match fixing, match fixing!” There was this point when an Englishman went down, and there was a repeated call for an “undertaker”.

Next, the India-Spain game. I was happy to be there, right up in the people’s pavilion, in the 100 buck stand – what atmosphere, who needs hooch, we was high on ball possession. And that’s the tricky bit, first fifteen minutes were it for India – sweeping interceptions, dazzling stick work, almost too much, too early.

I expected, if we don’t score now, we’ve had it. The backing vocals were in good voice, “Sachin! Sachin! Sachin!” Only in India. There was even a mention of Saed Anwar. Clearly some guys were having a damn good time.

Before the game I was thinking, our hockey needs to take a leaf out of the cricket. Maybe even smoke it. But they will be well served if Indian hockey lays claim on some home advantage too – abandon the Astroturf. Get the good old grass back. Better still, move the games to the Kotla. Then we’ll see who are World Champions. You'll be lucky if the game goes on till half time.


crownish said...

only in India!

Gaurav Sethi said...

Yeah man, was thinking just that.