It began with a tweet from a popular fan club in Mumbai, the “North Stand Gang – Wankhede”, who posted this early on during India’s ODI against Australia: “don’t wear black colour tshirts, entry restricted due to some security reasons…” The tweet went viral, and the suggestion was that a security directive banning black clothes had been given to prevent anti-CAA protests at the venue. Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) denied the allegations and soon issued a clarification. “There have been no instructions given by us or by the police authorities. There is no such ban or restriction.”
This correspondent saw many spectators in black in the stands. It could not be independently confirmed if there was a specific instance where a spectator was asked to remove a black cap or a black t-shirt, or if anyone in an all-black ensemble was turned back. There were though protests in the stands, with people wearing t-shirts that read “No NRC, No NPR, No CAA.” The spectators wearing those shirts were not removed.
India vs Australia 1st ODI: Live score and updates
Earlier in the month, during the India-Sri Lanka T20 international in Assam, the police authorities had taken additional security measures by banning even placards reading “4” or “6” and banning marker pens from being carried inside the stadium.
Two friends catch up
Steve Waugh and Sourav Ganguly’s relationship go back a long way. Back in 2001, the Indian captain (in)famously kept the Aussie captain waiting for the toss during an ODI in Vizag, something that rankled Waugh for years after. Later, during the famous 2001 Kolkata test match, Ganguly dropped Waugh in the second innings and Waugh told him, “you just dropped the Test, mate.” As it turned out, Australia were shot out in the dramatic final session of the match.
The two great competitors were seen enjoying the match together at the Wankhede, sitting side by side—not inside the air-conditioned comfort of the President’s box, but in the open air of a hospitality stand. Waugh is in the city on a work assignment for his charitable foundation, and Ganguly, now the president of BCCI, was happy to play host.
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The Indian batting did not do too well, and one wonders what one-liners Waugh had for Ganguly today.
Free water at Wankhede
Spectator comfort is generally at the bottom of the priority list at Indian cricket stadiums. Spectators gaining entry well after the match has begun, despite arriving and queuing up hours before the start time is a common occurrence. It was no different at Wankhede, as many would have missed seeing Mumbai man Rohit Sharma perish to a loose shot in the fifth over. On second thought, maybe that’s a sight they were glad to miss.
One thing everyone could agree on was that the MCA arranging free drinking water across stands was a sight for sore eyes, or a relief for parched throats.
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