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Sports and Kolkata, a heady mix of memories

posted on 2018-06-05 21:23:45
posted by Aman Misra


An account from the Kolkata diaries



 


It was the 2016 T20 World Cup game between India and Pakistan. Rain tried to play spoilsport, but the crowd was having none of it. Packed somewhere deep between friends at the Eden Gardens, I watched as Mohammad Sami (yes THAT Sami) was on a hat-trick after sending Shikhar Dhawan and Suresh Raina back. 


Sami did have a bit of a reputation for hat-tricks, one in Tests and another in ODIs. The crowd that had been buzzing upto this point in India’s run chase suddenly went silent. It was a unique moment. My uncle who had been there when Sri Lanka knocked India out of the 1996 World Cup Semi-Finals, said the silence was comparable. 


Pin drop. You could hear yourself breathe as Sami came in for the hat-trick delivery. Bowling at 145 kmph, Yuvraj Singh managed to fend it off, as the crowd heaved a sigh of relief.


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A few years earlier, I had the chance to head over to St James School to meet the F1 racing star Lewis Hamilton who was here to promote his NGO. A largely private affair, Hamilton barely had a few minutes to speak to anyone after news of his arrival spread thick and fast. 


The only thing he said was that if he had to drive in Calcutta traffic, he probably wouldn’t have been able to on a daily basis!


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Cut to the Royal Calcutta Golf Club, Winter of 2017. 

Shubhankar Sharma had been the toast of the golfing world with his twin wins in Asia and Europe. Calcutta hosts one of the marquee events on the Indian Golf Tour at the end of the season, and Sharma made the trip. 


Coming down the stretch, he fought for the win mano-a-mano with Rashid Khan, an Asian Games silver medalist in the sport. As the afternoon progressed, the crowds swelled from all across Tollygunge to watch the arrival of the next big thing in Indian Golf. He didn’t disappoint, holding off Khan for yet another victory. 


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These are just a few experiences of a heady sports fan who grew up in the city of Joy. It took a few years away from the city to realize the staunch passion people in the city have, and that's not even recalling any football stories!




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