Mumbai is famous for many things like the Arabian Sea, Gateway of India and grounds like Azad Maidan and Shivaji Park, which has produced players like Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Rohit Sharma and numerous other cricketers that Mumbai has given to us.
Delhi has a different culture of cricket than Mumbai and Delhi Daredevils’ captain Gautam Gambhir shared his experiences of visiting a maidan of Mumbai to observe the cricketing culture of the city This happened when DD was in Mumbai to face MI in IPL 2018.
Mumbai is special to Gautam Gambhir, who scored a match-winning 97 against Sri Lanka in the finals of the 2011 World Cup, an innings that has gone in the annals of cricket history.
36-year-old Gambhir wrote about his experience in Times of India.
He wrote, “A journalist friend of mine from Delhi is freelancing for a foreign sports channel. They are putting together a documentary on history of Mumbai cricket. My friend is a ‘pakka Dilliwala’. You know those who actually fantasise drowning in a tub-full of butter chicken and shahi paneer on Tuesdays, those who can use cuss words even between ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’ and cricket-wise those who hate Mumbai because of their record 41 times Ranji Trophy title wins.”
Gambhir, coaxed by this friend visited Azad Maidan to view the cricket culture of the city.
He writes, “There were eight or nine matches going on. A fielder who was at third man for his match was at silly point for another game and at long off for another one. Tents were being used as ‘dressing rooms’. Amidst this chaos the game went on with romance and determination, may be carefully constructing another Tendulkar or Rohit Sharma. A glass of sugarcane juice and vada paav later I was on Azad maidan.”
However, he noticed the lack of girls playing cricket on that maidan and then explained the sad reason behind it.
“There were only boys or men playing cricket. Not that things are any different in my home state Delhi but I expected better from Mumbai. I looked around and realised even if girls did play here there were no toilets or decent changing rooms for them. As a father of two daughters I can understand why parents in Mumbai could be reluctant,” he noted.
He wrote, “Standing there I couldn’t help but wonder a sad paradox. While Wankhede Stadium was all decked up for our IPL game, these maidans, which are nursery of Mumbai cricket, were searching for their proper toilets. Apart from this the grounds breathe this great game.”
Delhi Daredevils play RCB next and signed off with a cheeky take on Virat Kohli’s nickname ‘cheeku’.
“If all goes well, I will be going for Cheeku flavour in a waffle cone,” he signed off.