india pakistan match: Cricket festival like never before: India-Pakistan fans light up MCG
Among the 90,293 people on the ground, at least 60,000 were Indians and the “Jaya He” choir created an atmosphere like never before.
It was even humiliating for Indian team skipper Rohit Sharma, who looked a bit emotional as he stared skyward, struggling to keep his emotions in check.
“I’m opening my first restaurant in Bangkok and there’s a lot of pressure due to logistical issues. My visa was canceled once and I had to reapply and got it in the second round.
“I bought a plane ticket worth Rs 1 lakh one way to arrive on the day of the match,” Kolkata-based Samiran Chowdhury couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear as he proudly displayed his match ticket.
There was no such tension for his friend Dipanjan Ghosh, a software professional, who has called Melbourne home for the past 12 years.
“I never missed any of India’s games in any format at the MCG. I also watched Ashes but nothing beats that atmosphere,” he said.
Two Pakistani fans, Abbas and Azaan, had traveled from Sydney and plan to follow the team to all cities.
From the very morning, the bustling CBD (Central Business District) of Melbourne was literally besieged by Indo-Pakistanis.
In the famous Federation Square, Indian and Pakistani fans danced together and shouted at the top of their voices, easily exceeding the allowed decibel limit. But who cares when emotions run high.
The most hilarious scene in Federation Square was when Pakistani fans outnumbered Indians at one point, and even when the chants of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and ‘Vande Mataram’ made an impact, the tone of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ and ‘Jeeve Jeeve Pakistan’ was slightly higher.
A Sardarji picked it up and shouted ‘Ganpati Bappa Maurya’ and in unison the whole Indian lot joined in. Parity has been restored.
There was a group of people who had come from the UK and were dressed like saints. An enthusiastic Indian journalist (I don’t know if from a channel or a YouTuber) asked the old man “Baba ji, kya aap Indian team ko Ashirwad denge”.
But the most remarkable aspect was the bonhomie. There was no meanness, no aggression as they enjoyed every moment together.
Many of them, in fact, know each other, having lived in the same localities or worked in the same organization in Australia, and this game was like a big party for them.
The MCG at night was glorious and even more spectacular, when the spotlights were turned off for a few minutes and the whole crowd turned on their cellphone lights.
An Indian intruder wanted to shake hands with Bhuvneshwar Kumar but was quickly apprehended. He will pay a fine of AUD 9313.20.
A few brought loudspeakers and about fifty people immediately joined in the rhythm of “Amritsari Chudiyaa”. It was very difficult to control the urge not to groove while forgetting professional obligations.
The ICC must have realized that systematic cricket tourism in the years to come could turn into a commercial juggernaut. The economic potential is staggering.
Sport indeed brings people together. Supporters from both nations, who share a common border, also share their common love for the game.
On Sunday, they celebrated their love for the game and left everyone wanting more.