Tuesday, 17 March 2015

When The Gentlemen Jaunt...


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Cricket.

The Gentleman's Game.

Cricket.

A game which is not so gentle anymore.

A game which is fine-tuning its pursuits by the day and improvising on its abilities by the night.

~~~

Cricket, as a sport has transformed its image, from a mere sport to a passion in its own right. As a game, it has seen many illustrious individuals attempting to start from a rough patch in life to scale the greener pastures on field while some had to retreat while biting the dust. 

Cricket, as a sport, sharpens skill and mentors a person to balance his physical, mental and emotional self. As a game, it had established its foot in the Indian subcontinent, with the advent of British oppression and with Indians attempting to acquaint themselves with the mannerisms, etiquette, routines, and playful interests of the Englishmen. 

From the lanes of monochrome in time, Cricket as a sport, has sprinted past its bland imagery of the past numerous centuries, to emerge as a zealous, energizing and engrossing pastime. Gradually, it has gained the status of a well-formed and well-received profession by the masses.

Cricketers today, have been fortunate enough to enjoy the celebrity status and the limelight too. Why shouldn't they, now that the boundaries between genres is diminishing. Any talented individual is by all means eligible for an applause for his effort, ain't he? And, why not if he's a part of the playing eleven, and an individual who is a part of a team that is representing the nation, across the globe! :)

~~~ 

We've seen higher benchmarks of performance being set year by year, series by series, match by match, and format by format. We've seen how a sense of competition has balanced itself with a healthy team-work spirit, over the years, without fail. :)

Having said  that the cricketing fraternity of today is no less than celebrities today, we've also seen a revamp of the wardrobe, an upward trend in consciousness of the self and its imagery among the masses. and an improved sense of style. Why not, when they're raking in, the green by endorsing a multitude of brands too? ;)

The game of Cricket has also wholeheartedly signed a pact with its partner in sportsmanship - Technology - in order to embrace an improved standard of playing - on the field and off it too. ^_^ 

Cricketers lead a fascinating life. Following their passion for the sport, basking in the pride of representing the nation. Not only that, they also get to set foot on the soil, where their inspirations, the past cricketing legends have previously played. Such soil profiles are spread all over the world! :D

All in all, cricketers are a unique species, who live their dream with each passing day. One can't help but look up to their performance, attempt to ape their style, marvel at the technological advancements in their game and aspire to set foot on the same soil which they've graced, some day in the future. <3

~~~ 

What happens when celebrities travel? 
The paparazzi follow them, don't they? 

What should happen when the gentlemen jaunt?
The great cricket holiday destinations must be revealed, isn't it?

And, these holiday destinations ought to be unique.
For, each one of them is introduced to us, by a gem in the precious Cricketer's League! ^_^

Let me tell you one more thing. We Indians are not mere Cricket fans. We are pure fanatics. We consider ourselves as devotees and Cricket as our only religion. And, this comes from a lady who has been your quintessential cricket lover, ever since the beginning.

It is the duty of every devotee to make a pilgrimage, is it not? ;)
There are places around the world where history has been made, legends have been equated to heroes from folklore and records have been shattered. The World of Cricket abounds in such revered places of pilgrimage.

~~~ 

So, would YOU like to know how we set sail to some pilgrimage spots for cricket fanatics over the globe? 
Let us embark with the Gentlemen to give us company, then! :)

~~~

It is today, one but the last day of the month of March, with the Cricket World Cup 2015 having successfully drawn to a close. 

Who won?  
Who lost? 

That is for you to find out through your morning daily.
But for now, its time for us to set out on the first of our multitude of destinations.

~~~ 

Fifteen Places Around The World. 

Fifteen Gems, Cricketers, Commentators Et Al. 

~~~

It is said that we must always pray to Lord Almighty, before setting out on a journey, in order to seek his blessings so that we may not encounter any troubles while we are at it. 

Which is our first destination, then? 

This, without a doubt. 

And, even though, it needs no introduction, we have this illustrious location waiting to welcome us. 

The Mecca Of Cricket.

The  Lord's Cricket Ground and MCC Museum, London.


Founded by and named after the gentleman above, with a smile on his face, Thomas Lord, Lord's, situated in the capital city of England, is undoubtedly, the Mecca of Cricket. Find its foundation being laid in 1814, by Lord.

The stadium is also home to another first in the world - the oldest sports museum - MCC, which was established in 1953, by the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Marylebone Cricket Club Museum too houses a collector's delight in the form of some invaluable memorabilia, which include the Ashes Urn.

~~~

Now that his name finds a mention above, let us visit the Duke's place to get a taste of his royal lifestyle while in London.



Surprised?

Well, don't be.


We're referring to this Indian entrepreneur, Dilip Jajodia, who bought the Dukes Cricket Factory in 1987.

This factory was first established in 1760, at Tonbridge, Kent.

See, we even witnessed the making of the Ashes Ball, by Dukes, in the first person!



For quality cricket equipment, come to none other than Dukes! 

After all, witnessing the making of the quintessential cricket ball possesses a charm of its own. 

~~~ 

There's one last place left to visit before we depart for West Indies. 

Fancy visiting the only cricket pavilion in the world to be separated from the ground by a road? ;)

The Mitcham Cricket Green, London

Probably the oldest cricket ground, being utilized since the days of  yore, in 1685. 


We were told of this gem by the gentleman below. 

The person who is a former England Test cricketer and Test team captain, and current cricket commentator. 

Ian Botham. 



~~~

Let's leave for the Caribbean, shall we?

Our next destination is Grenada, to be precise.

We're to visit The West Indies Cricket Heritage Centre, Grenada.


West Indies is respected for the fact that they were the first nation to be awarded the title of World Champions, holding the first two World Cups, to their credit. WICHC is the only museum dedicated to their entire history of cricket.

Located in Beaulieu, Grenada, the museum houses the best memorabilia of Windies' history and is a part of the Spice Basket Museum.

The World is also thankful to West Indies for having given the cricketing fraternity, illustrious individuals of the likes of Clive Lloyd, Brian Lara and Vivian Richards.

We were introduced to this house of heritage by none other than Whispering Death.

Michael Holding, who gives us a 'How do you like it?' look...

~~~

Off to South Africa, now.

Tag along, people! :)

How about being overlooked by a Table Mountain and a Devil's Peak at Cape Town, while you enjoy witnessing your favorite game from the stands?

The Newland's Cricket Ground, South Africa. (officially, Sahara Park Newland's Cricket Ground)


We were led onto this beauty by a cricketer from South Africa, who has taken his bow. 

Shaun Pollock. 

And, he asks us if we find the backdrop scenic enough. 

How picturesque is your view? 

You tell us. 

~~~

But, for now, we're taking off for India! :D

We'll go from North to West to South to East.

Six of our cricketing destinations out of fifteen are located in India.

Our fanaticism is deep-rooted, you see. ;)

Picture snow-capped peaks and a surreal ambiance to surround you, paired with an unbelievably high altitude.

People, you're now in The HPCA Stadium, Dharamshala!

Situated at a height of 4780 feet, surrounded by the Dhauladhar Range, this stadium gives stiff competition to WACA, Perth, or even Lord's for that matter!


And, who awaits our presence at this scenic location? 

None other than India's most illustrious cricket commentator, Harsha Bhogle. 


We Indians believe that - If our Cricket is a religion and Sachin Tendulkar is the God, then Harsha Bhogle is the high priest of cricket. ^_^ 

~~~ 

The Dukes from London have a distant cousin here in India. 

Surprised?

Well, don't be. 

The Dukes have not exactly set their work in India. 

Instead, we have our indigenous cricket equipment manufacturing factories. 

Where? 

Cricket Ball Factories, Meerut


With due permission, you could witness the making of cricket equipment, just like at Dukes! 

We were accompanied by a native sportsman, Umesh Yadav. 

He is all smiles to lead cricket fanatics to witness this treat to the eyes. 

Will you be visiting this factory to witness the effort and time which goes into the making of leather balls? 

Some day, you must. 

At least, an Indian cricket fanatic must. 

~~~

Wait a minute. 

If you've come to the land, where a sport is a religion, how could you not pay your respects to the God of the sport? 

Advancing to Mumbai, to visit the place where a boy honed his skills, to become a player. 

A player who became the God of Cricket. 

Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. 


A God whose aura motivates young cricket enthusiasts with dreams in his eyes to diligently visit the Shivaji Park, Mumbai to practice every day. 


Youngsters who aspire to debut as a player with the Indian team also come and play in the hope of good luck. 

~~~ 

When we've payed respects to our God, can his inspirations stay far behind? 

Do you fancy the Little Master accompanying you while you take a stroll down the Wall Of Fame at The Blades Of Glory Museum, Pune


Everyone's all smiles as we marvel at some of the cricket kits, which various players utilized at the time of breaking records and setting new benchmarks. 


Wouldn't you want to be left awed, by a sight as inspiring as bats signed by all the World Cup-winning teams till date and also by the entire Indian and West Indian line up that was part of God's last match? 

Well, who wouldn't? 

~~~ 

Shouldn't we head South if I told you that we have a temple dedicated to Cricket AND Lord Ganesha? 

Excited, aren't you? 

So was our Cheeka, when we told him that we were heading for his state. 

Hop along, people! 


See, Kris Srikkanth is all pepped up to visit The Cricket Ganesha Temple, Chennai, with Tilak on his forehead! 


Imagine visiting a thirteen-year-old temple, which houses two different idols of the chief deity, one posing as a batsman (on the right) and the other as a bowler (on the left). 

How cool is that? ;)

If that weren't enough, there is also a deity with eleven heads depicting the 'Playing Eleven' on the field. 

The temple sees devotees who come to pray for their team to do well. 

~~~ 

If you've come to India, and not witnessed the energetic crowd at the largest Cricket Stadium in India which is also the second largest in the world, let me tell you, you're no cricket lover. 

The Eden Gardens, Kolkata


And, who better than The God of the Off-Side, Sourav Ganguly, to accompany you on this sojourn to Eden? ;)

See, he also knows that you're bowled over by the energetic atmosphere, here. 

Don't forget to call on Dada, when you visit Kolkata next! 

Next on the map - Australia! 

~~~ 

Which is the first cricket destination which comes to mind at the utterance of the word, 'Australia'? 

The Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australia


Undoubtedly. 

Established in 1854, MCG was the first stadium to introduce a color scorecard with instant replay displayed on the ground. 

And, who better than Shane Warne, to guide our way to the world's largest cricket stadium! 


Fancy posing with Warnie, with the MCG forming for a classy backdrop? 

Come over, some day! :) 

~~~ 

How about touching down at Perth, folks? 

Western Australia. 

What does that remind you of? 

The WACA Ground, Perth


Boasting of the quickest pitch and fast outfield, it also houses items from cricketing history, as well as memorabilia from histories of other sports at the WACA Museum. 

At WACA, to welcome us, we have James Brayshaw, a former cricketer representing Western Australia, who is now, an impressive cricket commentator.

Next, we'll be leaving for New Zealand.

~~~

Our destination here is Wellington.

We're here to visit The New Zealand Cricket Museum, Wellington.

The Basin Reserve is home to the New Zealand's historic Test venue and the New Zealand Cricket Museum.


It features cricketing artifacts from the 19th century, exclusive and unique memorabilia such as the large cricket boots of Sir Richard Hadlee. 


For introducing us to these cricketing artifacts, former NZ Captain, Jeremy Coney has come over! :) 

The Basin Reserve is a must-visit for the time when you jaunt to NZ. 

~~~ 

We had begun our journey with The Mecca. 

We'll draw a close to it by paying our respects to The Don. 

Which is the final lap of our journey? 

Well, the buck stops at The Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame, New South Wales



We are now paying respect to arguably one of the best batsmen to ever grace the game. 

Apart from Sir Donald Bradman's glorious legacy, the Museum now also exhibits the growth of cricket as a sport over the many years.

The museum incorporates interactive touch screen displays and state-of-art facility.

~~~ 

We've now come to the end of our globe-trotting pilgrimage. 

Or, have we? 

I'm sure we haven't. :) 

For A Sport. 

For A Religion. 

For A Fanatic. 

~~~ 

For An Improved Performance. 

For A Better Style. 

For An Advanced Technology. 
For A Zealous Traveler. 

For a passion which is as timeless as the sport and these cricketing legends too. :)

~~~

All images have been edited by me and are the blog's copyright.

This post has been written for #BloggerDreamTeam, a campaign which aims to bring to the masses, the best of both worlds - Cricket and Blogging - at a time when we're all pumped up by the Cricket World Cup 2015. 

The campaign also attempts to showcase the prowess of the best bloggers in the nation by presenting their posts to ace cricket commentator and journalist - Mr. Harsha Bhogle - who will make his choice regarding the 'Harsha Certified Blogging Eleven',  to form his #BloggerDreamTeam. 

4 comments:

  1. Loved it..Nice... :)
    Do visit my latest post:

    https://www.indiblogger.in/indipost.php?post=452573

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love the cricket travel Poonam. Though a colonial legacy, cricket keeps the nation together and makes us breathless:)

    ReplyDelete

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