Lost action heroes
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For an occasional visitor to Bangalore, once projected as the city of green hues and the smell of flowers, the grey concrete and stench of carbon monoxide can be unsettling. The Information Technology boom has given a lot to the city — expats and fat CTCs — but robbed the intersection of MG and Brigade roads of its old-world charm. It's in the heart of this nouveau-foreign township that cricket's new world order will be born tomorrow.
The Chinnaswamy Stadium is a hub of activity a day before the so-called revolution. There are huge stacks of speakers lying at various corners of the outfield. At short mid-wicket, a drum-kit takes pride of place on a tailor-made platform. Deep third-man has a troupe of young performers walking on stilts. At long-on, there are Washington Redskins cheerleaders in tank tops and bridal veils practicing an expansive jig. Behind fine-leg, a stage adorned with the red-and-yellow stripes of the Bangalore Royal Challengers is lording over the proceedings.
Totally ignored, in the middle of all the excitement, is the pitch — bright green in colour — the vitality of its grassy composition visible even from 80 yards away. At any other time, on the eve of any other match, all the attention would have been on this 22-yard-strip, especially in a country obsessed with pitches. But today, no one cares. And why should they? If first impressions are anything to go by, cricket is only incidental to the IPL.
The feeling changes somewhat, however, when the teams finally troop in. Rahul Dravid, the captain of the Bangalore Royal Challengers, manages to make his way past half-a-dozen dancers and gets a look at the track. But his team can't practice in the stadium — the rehearsals for the opening ceremony are more important.
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