surviving the twenty20 cricket in mumbai
Day 119: The highlight of our stay in Mumbai was our trip to the Twenty20 cricket game between India and Australia, keenly anticipated by local cricket fans (and that means just about everyone) and the first international Twenty20 game ever played in India. Getting into the stadium itself was possibly the biggest achievement.
Clutching our scalped tickets, we joined a mass of some thousands in a queue for Gate 7 which ultimately became a mad, unticketed, rush to get inside the iron gates before they slammed shut. I had brief nightmares of being crushed underfoot in the melee and at one point had to be tugged out of a mass of collapsed bodies by a security official holding a stick. Very undignified.
(I foolishly assumed that the utter mayhem, characterised by danger and a complete breakdown of order, would be reported and analysed in the newspapers the following day. Nothing of the kind happened, from which I can only assume that the disorder and panic that we witnessed was par for the course for the cricket in Mumbai.)
Once we were inside Bradbourne Stadium, we were caught in the middle of what would formerly have been described in Australia as “The Hill”, with locals to a man and woman booing Andrew Symonds and carrying on with monkey chants. It was hard to construe this as anything other than racism, despite the efforts made by local media to explain it otherwise - with the exception of the highminded broadsheet The Times, which called a spade a spade.
Australia proceeded to lose the game, which wasn’t the best finish to the tour, but probably guaranteed our own personal safety.