As a child, I was a cricket fan by association. I remember my parents being excited about the matches and that thrill ran through the entire family. Dinner would be had early if a final was scheduled, samosas would be bought if we won, and the birth-givers would allow things that they did not generally give permission for. I loved the sport for what it gave me. More kindness and more snacks.

In 2007, things changed. A young captain with long hair decided to give the last over of a World Cup final to an unlikely bowler, and it paid off. At the age of 13, it was my introduction to instincts and calculation. For the first time, I saw manifestation of a value I believe I was born with. If you feel something very strongly in your bones, it is best to keep it away from popular logic – and that your knowledge will transform into instincts if you have given enough love and time to what you do.

Credit – India Today

As a result of this life-changing event, I became a cricket fan and naturally, when it was time to decide a career, I combined two of my biggest passions – sports and writing. I have done some regrettable things in life, but this decision was a good one. There was just this small problem, I had never been to a stadium to watch a cricket match. Now, to call it a ‘problem’ felt like an exaggeration, until I actually went and watched a match in a stadium recently.

If one can afford it, they should definitely try to experience the physical, collective joy of thousands of people when their team wins. It is also important to experience the collective sadness of loss at times. The singing, the dancing, the commentary – all add to the excitement; and when I say commentary, I do not mean commentary by the commentator. I mean the child sitting behind you who dreams of becoming a cricketer one day and is not very pleased with the way KL Rahul hit that shot on that delivery.

Credit – India Today

One realises the true level of people’s investment in cricket at a stadium.

Also, when you are pretty much bound to one place for the entirety of the match, you start noticing things you wouldn’t have if you were watching the televised version. For instance, the amount of time the bowler is taking (or wasting) before the delivery, the beauty of the dive the fielder just took…and “oh, did that player just whisper something to the opposition?”. You can’t come back to the action at leisure and the pay-off of that is high.

The game that I went to watch was the World Cup game between India vs Afghanistan, thanks to – the Official Accommodation Partner for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup . Now, we all know what happened there. Afghanistan batted decently to give India a target of 273 to win, and while we did not doubt that our team will achieve the target, none of us were prepared for the show that Rohit Sharma put on that night.

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He scored a brilliant 131-run innings, that mostly comprised of boundaries. Every time he would hit a 6, the crowd would erupt and even someone as socially awkward as me felt it necessary to dance on the dhol because how could I not?! Also, because the little commentator behind me would have been really disappointed.

I was also a part of the now-viral moment that saw everyone singing ‘Vande Mataram’ – and I must tell you, it was as thrilling as it looked in the videos.

Credit – YouTube

All in all, being in the stadium for that game was an experience that I did not even know that I needed.

Of course I had samosas to celebrate the victory that night.