Of Chance Encounters and ar’Ray’ of Surprises..
What started off as a casual cricket chat went on to become a full fledged tete-e-tete with two new found RCB fans. Read on.
Waiting for the players (not the RCB team for a change) to make a beeline for the IPL after party at the Trident, I was joined by two gentlemen Arrie and Ronald. Arrie, a South African and Ronald from England, both in their fifties were on their fourth visit to India. Curiosity creeping, I wanted to know if IPL had got them all the way to India. And surprisingly it had.
Both kickstarted their IPL 2010 journey from the opening game in Mumbai, travelled to Kolkata, Bangalore, Cuttack and now back to Mumbai. Being a RCB fan club blogger, I was more keen to know, which team they were rooting for, this season. And faced some disappointment when I received a unanimous "Our lips are sealed. We can't take sides." Still prodding a bit further I let them in on my fanfare for the Royal Challengers, hopeful that they would spill some beans or their take on RCB. And bingo...It worked
(l-r) Ronald Hope from England, Arrie from South Africa
Arrie, just couldn't stop raving about our coach Ray Jennings. Being a cricket enthusiast and having travelled around the world with the teams, he knew most of the players from close quarters. And Ray, he said, was one of the finest individuals and mentors a team could ever ask for. (No..his Protean connect has got nothing to do with the volley of praises for the coach)
"Jennings is a no-nonsense guy, a very tactical Coach and a hard taskmaster at that." he said, rightfully so "No wonder the boys are performing well" "I thought this team looked good on paper, when i first read about them during the Season 1 bid. But then they were disappointing on field. I'm hopeful of their second stint at the Champions League this time" he added.
Ron, on the other hand, was more of a football fan and was surprised about how we Indians follow cricket so ardently. He also wanted to see Ross Taylor join the team next month and couldn't wait to see his blitz.
It was my turn to fill them in about the fan club activities, Mighty14, the RCB going Green campaign, the FFC interviews et all. And they promised to log on to our site and go through all the action.
As the rendezvous was cut short by 'Captain cool' Dhoni's entry, I wanted to know, how long would they be staying here in India. And their reply startled me. Arrie said "I'll be off to SA on 14th April for a fornight break before I head to the Carribean for T20 World Cup" Quite an ardent follower if I may say! Read on to know who the 'fans in disguise' really are
P.S. Sir Arrie and Sir Ronald Hope, are the two ICC officials monitoring the tournament in India. They have seen our men in Red and Gold play IPL 1,2, the Champions league and were mighty impressed by their progress. And finally Sir Arrie did give in to my persuasion and admitted that 'HE IS ROOTING FOR THE ROYAL CHALLENGERS' Welcome to the fan club Sir.