Last week, I had the chance to watch the T20 match between the Chennai Super Kings vs the Delhi Daredevils. I was only half interested in the game (mainly because we were losing) and so spent the other half noticing around things of interest.
Disaster Waiting to Happen: The MAC stadium, the biggest cricket stadium in Chennai, is also the WORST stadium when it comes to safety. There are no emergency exits. All the exits have a swirl gate which means only one person can get out at a time. The bamboo barricades makes it even worse. It took me 25 minutes just to come out of the stadium. I had to inch forward in a long dusty queue. Felt like I was in a Tirupathi Tirumala Devastanam queue.
If an emergency evacuation had to happen, there’s bound to be deaths by the thousands as more people will die out of stampede and congestion. It’s the most ill-prepared stadium and I guess the authorities will only change after a disaster happens.
Crowded cafeteria: Ok, my grouse continues. The cafeteria area is quite pathetic. Overcrowded and heavily under-managed. First, the give out a rule that outside food should not be allowed inside the stadium. Second, there’s only a 10 minute break between the innings. Third, very very few food counters. The result: A maddening rush and flying tempers. The powers that be did not realize that the 9:30 pm break is right at dinner time and they should have food counters that offers food. Biscuits, Cadbuyrs chocolates and Cashewnuts are fine but they aren’t dinner food. Pathetic organizing.
No Mexico in Chennai: Chennai crowd may be the most knowledgeable cricket crowd in India but they don’t know what a mexican wave. There was a group of people who would start the wave and it would quickly die out as the folks in the next stand wouldn’t take it up. It took about 20 tries after which the waves caught on. But by then, the chennai team was losing and the crowd quickly lost interest.
Indian Flags: The vendors have not wisened up to the concept of IPL. The bulk of them were selling Indian flags and there were hardly any buyers. You can’t blame them. All the international matches so far have been against different countries and there’s a reason for showing your partriotism. I guess it’ll take a while before they realize that its time to change. But these guys are quick to adapt and I won’t be surprised that by the next tournament, there’s be yellow coloured bandanas, flags and Tshirts.
Scoreboard Laggards: Both the electronic and the analog scoreboards do not show the required run rate. They do not show the number of balls a batsman has faced. They don’t show the number of balls bowled in an over. The boards are still stuck in the Test era.
The Wind-Shadow Area: If you are booking a ticket at the M.A.Chidambaram Stadium at Chepauk, make sure to book your ticket in one of the four stands E,F,G,H. Why? Because that’s where the sea wind blows into. Book any other stand and get prepared to sweat profusely.
Thankfully, I was in the F stand, and I could see the folks in the opposite stands of the stadium fan themselves crazy trying to keep themselves cool. Even at night, without any wind, it can get quite sultry and uncomfortable. Interestingly, the folks who paid the highest for the Pavilion Terrace seating, suffered the worst.