India domestic cricket

Jenny Thompson

OK, so cricket is everywhere in Mumbai. Further proof – every morning, just metres from my apartment, I pass nets for 30 or so juniors. The national team are superstars. You can’t move for cricket. Brilliant.

But what never ceases to surprise me is how little anyone cares about domestic cricket. In a cricket-mad country – arguably the cricket-mad country – you’d expect domestic matches to be a sell-out. But the recent Ranji Trophy final, the showcase event, drew crowds of – and I kid you not – 100 to the 45,000-capacity Wankhede Stadium.

Why? Well, it’s just not glamorous for a start. My colleagues tell me that only the big names count in the sport. They also say that in cities such as Mumbai, who get their share of internationals, domestic cricket by contrast has a lesser appeal. Hmm, that still doesn’t stack up for me. Sure, we all love to watch the big boys at play but me, well, I’d watch any type of cricket and I know I’m far from alone in that.

But then, there’s the experience of going to a game. It’s just not comfortable to sit in the stadium, on the concrete slabs, without water, much shelter and limited toilet access. When the temperatures are sweltering at around 40C – and the shade isn’t much better – well, it all adds up to, erm, not much fun, really. Yet, even so, there’s still something that’s not quite right…

If anyone else knows why domestic doesn’t do it out here then do leave a comment.

Jenny is my colleage at Cricinfo and is out in our Mumbai office pretending to work. In fact, I doubt she’s even pretending…

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