Off The Field

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Introductory Take

Cricket is always a celebration in India. And, a tournament of an international calibre is just an icing on the cake to this festival the world calls, Cricket.

The stage was set. The tournament was returning to the sub-continental country after a long time. A young team and a young captain were ready to host 9 more nations. All the countrymen were ready to get behind their country. Every match was already a sold out. Tourism was on a drastic rise, as people traveled to the host country in flocks to witness a showcase tournament.

The sponsors were ready with their advertisement campaigns, which were planned around the Championship. The official broadcasters had left no stone unturned in order to promote the tournament and make it's market value bigger than anything else. The streets, bus stands, shops, shopping malls, railway stations and all the other important public places in all the cities around the country, were crowded with posters, hoardings and banners reminding people that, the carnival of Cricket is here. It had all become the talk of the town.

All the participating teams had arrived to the country. All the players and their managements had kicked on their preparations for the tournament. The players were all pumped up to fight hard and put their hands on the winning trophy.

The ‘World ODI Cricket Championship Trophy' was in it's 14th successful edition. The tournament had been trimmed to a 10-team competition, consisting of two groups of 5 each. Every team was required to play each of the other 3 teams of their group once and the remaining one team twice in the first level of the tournament. The top two teams from each group would qualify for the semi-finals. Then, the big final would conclude the tournament.

It was the opening game of, ‘The World ODI Cricket Championship Trophy' . The stadium was fully packed up. It was another blazing afternoon as the summer in the country had just kicked on. Despite that, the fans weren't short of energy, as they awaited the start of the first match of the tournament. They were all dancing and jumping in the stands as thumping music on the loud speakers reverberated throughout the stadium. Some of the audiences were in their team merchandise and some others carried their national flags.

There was a separate stand for sports and government delegates. They had travelled from all over the world. They were all suited up. They quietly rested in their chairs, awaiting the start.

The organisers had given top priority to the security of the stadium. There were officials from the city police as well, to help the security of the stadium. The police officers and the stadium security personnel covered the whole ground. Nobody was allowed to enter without a thorough security check.

The players were out to the centre, some were running around the park and some others, exercising, in order to sink in some energy before the game. One of the teams' captain was busy assessing the pitch and getting an idea of what must be his decision at the coin toss. A few of the other players were near the stands, clicking photographs and giving away autographs.

“And the battle has just begun!" announced the commentator, as the first ball was sent into the stands for a huge six and the crowd erupted in a huge roar…

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