India Celebrating Cricket: Foreigners Witnessing the 2011 World Cup

Posted by Helena Trapero • Tuesday, April 26. 2011 • Category: Crossing Cultures
I have been two months in India already and I thought I have seen crazy things, chaotic traffic, and incredible scenes. I didn´t realize yet that I didn´t know anything about cricket. I noticed that they were broadcasting several matches on TV, but I didn´t pay any attention really. Suddenly a Cricket World Cup semi final was taking place in the north of India and everyone was just crazy about it. Two days before the event everyone was talking about it and asking me who did I support: India, for sure.

Cricket dominates Indian sports, from the high Himalayas...
Photo by grabka dot org

Then THE day arrived. It was the 30th of March 2011: India versus Pakistan. It was not only a “sports” activity; it was also a big diplomatic issue. The President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan were both invited to see the match by Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India. WOW. Sounds like something big is going on. I started to realize how important cricket is in India and how much tension remains between the two countries.

All my friends (Indians and foreigners) were thinking about what could happen if India wins and what if Pakistan wins?

...all the way to the Indian Ocean!
Photo by LalitShahane

At the day of the match I went to a public viewing event at Jawaharlal Nehru University, where they had prepared everything outdoors: A projector, big speakers, a DJ, carpets all over the floor… there were loads of students everywhere. One could feel the big expectations in the air. Nervousness, anxiousness, and excitement were all around.

About the match itself, you can find the info all over the net, but what I am going to talk about here is what happened in Delhi after the match, because obviously India won.

Indian Cricket Fans
Photo by Matt Dawson

When me and my friends decided to leave the university right after the match ended we did not realize the importance of India winning. We were in the auto-rickshaw going back home when suddenly a huge group of happy-crazy Indians were doing funny things with their cars such as jumping ON them, leading to a traffic collapse on the roads. A nice Indian guy told to our auto-rickshaw-wala: “Please, go backwards, the girls don´t deserve this.” So instead of taking 20 minutes to go home, it took us almost an hour.

It was an awesome experience watching a rather chaotic country become “even more chaotic” because of cricket. Somehow it reminds me of Spain when Madrid plays Barcelona. The whole country is just going mad.

Ok, they made it to the finals. India won just once the Cricket World Cup. It was in 1983, against the West Indies so all Indians desperately wanted to win and repeat the history again in 2011 against Sri Lanka.

Impressions from the Celebrations
Photo by Eustaquio Santimano

2nd of April 2011: The BIG day. The Cricket World Cup final was going on in Mumbai. India versus Sri Lanka. This time I went to see it in a private environment: A friend of a friend’s house. 10 Indians and 4 Westerners. We started watching around 3pm, the match ended around 11pm. 8 hours watching a sport match, 8 hours in front of a TV, non stop. During the 30 minutes break we ordered food to be delivered home. Momos (Tibetan dumplings) spread all over the table. I have never ever followed a sport match for so long, not even in tennis.

The match was exciting until the very end. After 7 hours India team needed 52 runs required from 52 balls. Imagine: Second ball of the 49th over (8 balls left): Nuwan Kulasekara putting his ball past the boundary for a six. AWESOME. They won the final. They are the best team in the cricket world and I was in India enjoying the madness and craziness.


Again a funny story about driving home in an auto-rickshaw after the match: Two European girls and me, one auto-rickshaw, two auto-rickshaw-walas. The craziest country in the world gone mad because of their favourite sport, cricket. I think is much better to see than to read, so just have a look at this video:

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