Watching the Cricket World Cup Final at Hotel Ashreya in Tiruvannamalai

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India is fanatic about the sport of cricket. While I have heard some Westerners describe cricket as ‘about as exciting as watching paint dry,’ I have become a real fan since moving to India. Before I came here, knowing that men everywhere talk about sports, I decided to learn about cricket. I spent about six months learning the rules and some of the language of the game. When I had questions, I would ask an Indian friend in the US who played the game. The first year we were here was also the first year of the new IPL cricket league, putting the best players from all over the world on teams with Indian players, playing Twenty/20 cricket, which is an exciting short form of the game. Watching this first IPL season, my wife, Carol, and I became real fans.

This year the big event in cricket was the World Cup, played every four years. India has not won this in 28 years, and the Indian team recently has been resurgent, with top players winning big games and series in all forms of the game. The other added ingredient in this year’s series was Sachin Tendulkar. He is undoubtedly the greatest batter in the history of cricket. He has won everything possible in the game, except the World Cup. Team India dedicated themselves this year to winning the Cup for Sachin, called “the Little Master.” (Because he’s only 5 feet 6 inches tall.) At 37 years old, it’s likely that this will be Sachin’s last chance to play for the World Cup.

Last Wednesday, India played Pakistan in the World Cup semifinals. India vs. Pakistan matches are almost like war between these two countries, and are one of the biggest rivalries in sports worldwide. The game was watched on TV by more than one billion people. India won, and on so Saturday played the Sri Lanka team for the title. Naturally Carol and I watched both games.

Next to our house is the Hotel Ashreya. They recently installed a projection TV, and after dark, show the World Cup games on a big screen in the courtyard outside their bar. Below, I post a few photos from this to give you a flavor of the rabid India cricket fans.

We started to watch from our house. The game began at 2:30 in the afternoon, and Ashreya Hotel’s outside big screen cannot be viewed until after sundown.

As the game was getting ready to start, there was much fan action shown on TV. Here a man runs with an Indian flag.

The Indian team huddles before the game, saying last words before the start.

The game begins. Sri Lanka is batting first. India will chase, that is, bat second, with the total runs having been set by Sri Lanka. We’ll watch The Chase on Ashreya’s big screen.

Sri Lanka got off to a good start. About the end of their innings it was time for us to claim our spot in front of the big screen.

Here is Carol wearing her Team India cricket shirt, Number 7 for MS Dhoni, for the event. Not only was she the only woman there, but the only person in “proper attire” to cheer on the team.

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The Indian men love to see Carol in her Dhoni cricket jersey.

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We walked to the Hotel Ashreya early to make sure that we got a good table.

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The big screen is in the courtyard at the far side of the bar. I entered through the bar.

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It is not dusk yet, and already a number of tables are taken. There is one at the front right. I go there to claim it before the crowd arrives.

Early viewers, sitting in the nice grounds, watching the last few overs of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is doing too well in these final overs, and end up with 275 runs, a good total.

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It gets darker. Looking back towards the bar building. Still there are many empty tables.

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Now India comes up to bat. One of their batting aces, Virender Sehwag, goes out on the second ball. Ouch! He is one of the most feared of India’s batsmen, and already Sri Lanka has claimed his wicket.

Here is the Sri Lankan bad guy, one of their ace bowlers, Lasith Malenga.

His locks are dyed blond at the tips. It is his usual ‘look’. Even without this, he bowls so well, and with such an unusual sidearm motion, that we wouldn’t forget him. 

Now already he also gets Tendulkar’s wicket. Now 2 are gone for India! Our best batsmen! Bad start! Will the rest of India’s great batting squad be able to step up and get what is needed? Already staunch India fans are talking about leaving and not watching the rest of the game.

Below, a Sri Lankan player exults. Something bad must have happened for India.

Now Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir have to step up, gets runs on the board, and not get out, not take unnecessary risks, not get more early wickets.

Looking at the screen and tables from the back of the courtyard.

India is starting to do better. A man dances in front of the screen.

The fans cheer a good shot from MS Dhoni.

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Another good shot, a boundary. Two men dance in exultation.

Yet another good hit from India’s MS Dhoni. It is looking like maybe they will come back and win.

Another good shot! Getting close to victory. More people come up on the stage to celebrate.

People stand, giving rapt attention to each moment of the game now.

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Another boundary by Dhoni! India is going to win, everyone thinks now.

At the last ball Dhoni hits a giant six into the stands. The game is over and India wins the World Cup for the first time in 28 years! We do not see what is happening on the screen since it is blocked by all the cheering fans.

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Happy fans celebrating the victory.

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We had a great time, and the energy of the Indian cricket fans was fantastic, and fun to watch. Good game India! MS Dhoni was  given the “Man of the Match” award for his outstanding batting late in the game that really pulled India over the mark to victory.  Here is a BBC report on the aftermath of the game in India and Sri Lanka.

Hotel Ashreya is, I have heard, going to keep using their projector TV for more events. Next fall, in the tourist season here, they will show English football (televised on Saturdays by ESPN). They will also have American movies to enjoy in an outdoor setting. With a full menu of veg and non-veg food and a bar that offers cocktails and cold beer. While not of interest to many of the serious spiritual seekers who flock to visit Tiruvannamalai, there are many who will enjoy this break in their week  here.                         

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7 Responses to “Watching the Cricket World Cup Final at Hotel Ashreya in Tiruvannamalai”

  1. ghariharan Says:

    In the past, Malinga’s bowling action would have been called “chucking”, and would not qualify as “legal”. Rules seem to have been changed, or overlooked, to make his “sidearm” throw as “bowling”. Technically, in the past, bowling would have to come from an overarm action rising above the shoulder. The idea was, perhaps, that in such a movement it would not be possible to impart the power to the ball that can normally be found in throwing or flinging. In baseball the ball is pitched with maximum force, but in cricket it is bowled overarm. Anyways… I too enjoyed the game you have included in your blog. Now I can accept you as having settled down in India for good.

    • richardclarke Says:

      I heard a cricket umpire say that he thinks every ball Malinga bowls is illegal, but that no one calls him on it. I wonder why?

  2. pumdv Says:

    Dear Ric
    I appreciate your hard work and dedication and you have covered the most of the Arunachala but you must also read the original scripts in the temple and bring to light the wider aspect of Arunachala that connects the life of individuals.
    I have seen your google pictures of the sacred mountain and you must have notice the shape of the mountain that has been described in the original script written in the relics kept in the library. YOu must also work out the angles of the temple at Tirupathi and you will realise the relation of siva vishnu.

    I was also sad when I saw your pictures of how Mr Bowley who calls himself Govinda has used the name of Ramana to ask for donations and how the mountian has been broken down to build a structure that destroys the very purpose of what the mountain stands for.

    I further resuest you to find out why this Bowley was arrested by the police and what is he doing in the property that belongs to Dharmaraja temple and why they are not allowing the high priest similar in status of Sankarachari to worship or maintain the temple.
    I will be happy if readers are educated about the history of Dharmaraja and SriKrishna who protected Draupadi and the sacredness of the Yudister pond and the palakothu and its history of how the evil spirits were tackled by the maya of Krishna.

    I also request you to throw light on the sri chakra enthram which was fixed at tiruvannamali in the ancient period which is what makes the land so powerful as it is now and why people are not aware about this in order to get the full powers when they circumbulate the mountain.

    • richardclarke Says:

      Thanks for your suggestions. However I am not a reporter, rather I write about our life here in Tiruvannamalai and India. Maybe if you want these subjects written about your should start your own blog and write about them.

  3. richardclarke Says:

    We also have been told that the original owner, a guy who lives in a beautiful house on the other side of the bar, sold the business a year or so ago. The new owner comes from Chennai.

  4. pumdv Says:

    Dear Ric
    Nice pictures I noticed in your picture that the hotel Asreya claims they do not serve non veg food and there is a prominent sing showing Veg Hotel. Whereas your blog claims that non veg is served?
    The hotel belongs to one of the relatives of a politician who’s money is from the 2G scam and the same used for this hotel I am sure you are not promoting this hotel.
    Maybe it is just a blog and you are not involved in anyway with this hotel who’s owner stays few meters away alongwith his second wife and doing the real estate business and promiting Ganesh nagar in the name of spiritual path.

    Words must match the deeds

    • richardclarke Says:

      They have two places to eat, each with their own kitchen and cooks, separate. One is veg and one is non veg. We have nothing to do with the hotel, other than enjoying sometimes what they provide. And, by the way, for this blog, I receive no money or other financial benefit from anyone. This blog is done purely as a service to the readers, and to Arunachala.

      What others do is their own business. The principle I operate on with regard to others is what Ramana instructed when people gossiped about others to him. He told them to ‘remember why they came’, that is, to pay attention to one’s own practice, and not to concern oneself with that of others.

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