New Zealand fast bowler Shane Bond has described his off-field experience during his stint in the Indian Premier League (IPL) as “a real eye-opener” towards how passionate Indians are about their cricket.
“Crowds of people would be in the lobby before games and there was always a party and fashion show afterwards at the hotel with models and Bollywood people,” The Independent quoted Bond, as saying.
“Hundreds also paid to come and they were filmed for a show called IPL nights which was shown the next day on MTV. So, you would have a quiet beer and walk out only to face enormous crowds in the lobby. Then you’d turn on the telly in your room and the news channels would be talking about the game.”
“In the end, you get used to people taking your photo and asking for signatures at breakfast and lunch. Everyone wants a piece of you all the time, but you realise how passionate Indians are about their cricket,” he added.
Bond further said that he soon realized he was getting off lightly after observing his team owner Shah Rukh Khan, and former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly.
“Shah is one of the biggest Bollywood stars. He lives with bodyguards and an entourage around, but did come into the changing room after games to have a chat. I enjoyed his company. He was a sociable guy, passionate about his cricket,” Bond said.
“I also spoke to Sourav about what it was like to live there [in Kolkata]. He said normally people leave him alone but once it gets to IPL time, the level of interest goes up massively. I can’t think about any time when I could compare it to New Zealand. It’s the most intense competition I’ve ever played in,” he added. (ANI)