Literature boasts of the tales of Elizabeth and Darcy. Cinema effuses with stories the likes of Rose Bukater and Jack Dawson (the Titanic), while closer home, panning the pages of history, Shah Jahan’s Taj Mahal stands strong as it professes love for Noor Jahan under the moonlight.
And then there is cricket. A game devoid of such passions, yet arousing passion amongst a nation of more than a billion. A sport where the mere willow is enough to create ripples equivalent to the ones experienced every time a Raj runs across the mustard fields in search for his Simran.
There has to be some spark when Virat ‘Messiah’ Kohli takes the field for India in almost all the matches. A deeper story exists in VVS Laxman’s fancy for the Australian bowling attack. An unexplained comfort level arose when Brian Lara milked the bowling at St. Johns, Antigua. And well, when Sachin Tendulkar faced Shoaib Akhtar, it was pure carnage. A ‘love story’ it has been termed. A cricketing love story.
Yesterday, Eden Gardens played host to its favourite son (ok, after Sourav Ganguly of course!) Rohit Sharma, as the fifth match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) got underway between Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians.
A quick browsing session, made easier by the Jionet Wi-Fi service, revealed how Sharma has made the turf his own in recent years, overtaking Laxman’s records at the same venue, which were expected to stand unchallenged through the test of time.
A redirection to the Jionet homepage after connecting the Wi-Fi on one’s smartphone asked for one’s mobile number. The insertion of the OTP (One Time Password) and we were connected. On the field, it was Manish Pandey and captain Double G (Danny Morrison style!) who wowed a near packed stadium, connecting the leather with the middle of the bat, propelling the purple brigade to a healthy total of 187. Or so one thought until Rohit decided to script YET another Man of the Match winning performance at his favorite hunting ground.
It was a field day with the secure Jionet’s blanket coverage of high-speed internet at Eden Gardens.
Seeing the horde of spectators rushing towards the food counters during the innings break, the moment was effectively cashed in on by the sensible few, who chose to put the 15-minute break to a better use: to update the various applications on their phones or tablets. With the Wi-Fi providing unbelievable download speeds, who latches on to any secure connection with breathtaking speeds – much like Jonty Rhodes latched on to the ball in his playing days – had a great success.
…not so much for the Knights, however.
The green turf soon portrayed a familiar story. Keeping intact their brilliant track record in Kolkata, the defending champions eloped to a glorious win by 6 wickets, courtesy a fine knock of 84 by none other than Captain Rohit Sharma.
As Russel was being peltered away for runs and Piyush Chawla looked on haplessly at his bowling inadequacies, even against Mitchell McCleneghan, cricket enthusiasts were seen embroiled in heated discussions on topics ranging from MS Dhoni to Sarfaraz Khan, Sourav Ganguly to newbie Ishan Kishan.
Mobile Internet connections, which were previously absent due to heavy traffic at the historic Eden Gardens, leading to a wave of frustration from spectators, got a new lease of life with the Jionet Wi-Fi, helping the confused with facts and figures. Also heard is that it may have caused a few rifts among a group of friends, who used the easy connection to prove their points.
By the time the match was over, it had become more about the experience which Edens had to offer than the thrills that Yusuf Pathan was expected to deliver.
Selfies were clicked and instantly uploaded, the number of envious ‘likes’ on the mandatory Facebook status were constantly checked and more importantly, a single WhatsApp message convinced the dear ones of one’s safety after the earthquake that shook Kolkata minutes before the match was to get underway.
Although the Knights had an off-day, cricket resumed normal services after witnessing a lull in the previous four IPL encounters.
It was Rohit, who once again scripted his own story at Eden Gardens, taking away the game from the Knights.
Last seen, the Indian opener, using the Jionet Wi-Fi on offer, updated his Facebook status as well. It read, “feeling at home, with 65,000 others at Eden Gardens, Kolkata!’
About the Author: Sarah Waris is an English graduate from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata. Being an avid follower of sports, she enjoys documenting her experiences as she keenly observes the pros and cons of Indian sport.