The Jaypee Twenty20 Mahasangram has made into the Guiness Book of World Records as the world's largest cricket tournaments. The statistics it boasts of are unbelievable. Consider the following: A total of 1,406 teams, 19,684 players, near about 2000 matches, 77 grounds on which 150 matches were played daily.
I had never heard of anything like this before. And when I did hear about it, I could not resist attending the final match of the tournament. The match was also attended by Mr. Anurag Thakur, MP Lok Sabha who is also the President of Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association and a Member of the IPL Governing Coucil.
This is the cricket stadium of Dharamshala situated height of 1,457 m above the sea level. With such beautiful backdrop, how do players manage to concentrate on the game? Even the stalls are so pretty. More matches should be played here. During this event, it came to know that 3 matches of upcoming IPL will be played in this beautiful Stadium...
Here are the HPCA and Jaypee officials talking to media. A tournament of the size of Jaypee Twenty20 Mahasangram takes a lot of courage and co-ordination to organize. These men and their teams have been instrumental in taking the cricket scene in Himachal Pradesh to greater heights.
Here is one of the finalists, the team from Mandi posing for a photograph with Mr. Anurag Thakur. I love their uniforms. I did not know red and grey could look so good together. The second finalist was the team from Una.
Mandi team got to bowl first. Here is there wicket keeper grasping the ball.
Here is a batsman from team Una walking back to the pavilion after being given out. Notice the dress again. Excellent combination. I think a few of the international teams can learn from the designers of these dresses.
Another batsman going back to the pavilion. The excitement was increasing with each passing minute. This is the advantage of Twenty20. It is like a quick adrenaline rush. Each moment is so full of action and tension.
The Umpire in the field and the HPCA and Jaypee officials sitting in the stall in the background.
Superb bowling action. The wickets are black though. I don't think I have ever seen black wickets being used in cricket before this. But I may be wrong.
HOWZZAAAT!! Well it's clearly out, No need to ask the third umpire for this one.
And the ball is out of the bowler's hands. What is it going to be this time?
Drinks break. I am fascinated by the colours used in the stall. Green, yellow, blue, pink so far. Very vibrant, very happy.
Seems like good leg movements. At the far end, the other batsman is ready to make a run for it already. And the bowler is getting ready to stop the single.
Kinley - I cannot imagine how many bottles would have been consumed during the tournament. Perhaps if they have kept a count, it can be another record broken in the Guiness Book.
It is always good to pad up and to don the helmet. Just like riding a bike, cricket is a tricky business too.
Very athletic. I am so glad I managed to catch this bowler in the air. He was always on a move.
Looks like a fast bowler because of his height and a long run up.
Another agile movement by a fielder of the Mandi team.
Good fielding is as important as good bowling and good batting. It helps in restrict runs and batsmen. An agile fielding helps put pressure on the opponent team and leads them into doing foolish things.
And here is one of the men behind the official cameras. He covered most of the matches of this tournament.
The view from the chief guest stall. All players seem so far away and then there are those magnificient mountains in the backgroud. A perfect view.
It's now Mandi's turn to bat and here is a quick singles. Just like good fielding puts pressure on the batting team, quick singles put tremendous pressure on the fielding team. It's like psychological warfare.
Running behind the ball to save the boundary. I have seen this situation in many international games but things are far more exciting in a Twenty20 match with fielders on their toes. Right now though, the batsmen of Team Mandi seem to be making them run all over the field.
And its out. Team Una celebrating after one of Team Mandi's batsman is given out. HiFives, Hugs and jumping around makes the entire environment charged. Who can say that these are grown-up men?
While the batsmen from Mandi were playing shots all over the field, the fielders from Una are leaving no stones untered and are throwing themleves on the ball.
A bowler getting ready for a run up.
Some of these fielders were so agile that I was wondering why they were not in the Indian Squad. And also the passion. It was amazing to see.
Brightly coloured stands. Even if you look closely you cannot see the paint chipping from anywhere. Seems like everything was prepped up for this tournament and has been maintained really well. Kudos to the authority that maintains this stadium.
Good leg movement there. And the ball is clearly visible against the green ground. Another achievement for the authority that maintains this ground. I would have loved to play on this. Though I am not much of a cricket player myself.
Did he get it?
A good attempt. These men seem to spend as much time in air as on the ground.
Another good attempt. But this one made it for a four.
Is this another catch?
This is one active picture. The bowler just finishing his action, the batsman hitting the ball, the runner just starting his run between the wickets, and the empire standing around. All this happened in a matter if seconds. Hard to believe, isn't it? A good answer to people who say that cricket is a lazy sport.
Is he going to get this? All three pairs of eyes are on the ball at this moment.
And it is out. Love the tension. No wonder cricket is such a popular game in India. HPCA and Jaypee are doing a great job in making sure that young talent from HP gets enough exposure.
The team from Mandi gave away their last few wickets in a quick succession resulting in the team from Una winning the tournament.
It must mean so much to come on top amongst 1406 teams.
And here is Mr. Anurag Thakur giving his final speech. His speech gave me answers that I was looking for. Why aren't more matches held in Dharamshala? because there aren't enough hotels and facilities that are up the the standard to host international guests. He mentioned about the huge amount of investments that are being made into promoting cricket in Himachal Pradesh and how one good stadium is already been built. He also mentioned about the fact that whenever new stadiums will be planned they would also plan to upgrade the fascilities in the area. He mentioned about one five-star hotel being built in Dharamshala. He revealed that some (three) matches of IPL will be played in Dharamshala this time and requested people and fascilitators to co-operate so that in future, more such matches can be hosted here. This was a true sportsman speaking.
I am happy to see that so much of emphasis is being given to sports in Himachal Pradesh. If it is cricket now, it'll be some other sport later. But as long as we realize the importance of sports in our lives, we have really come several step ahead. Gone are the days when our elders would tell us "Padhoge likhoge banoge nawab. Kheloge Koodoge banoge kharaab." We Indians are waking up at last. I love it.
And here is the team from Mandi with their cheque of Rs 2 Lakh for being the runners up for the tournament. Well played.
Mr. Anurag Thakur getting ready to present the tournament cup to the winners.