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David Warner and Bengaluru, what could have been...

Last updated on 21 Oct 2023 | 04:42 AM
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David Warner and Bengaluru, what could have been...

Warner would have been adopted as the city’s own

The shenanigans of watching cricket live in the country are true. Each venue offers its own wide-ranging variety of pre-match entertainment. Chinnaswamy’s offer was unique; it asked its fans entering Gate 2 to wait a lifetime. 

While other venues allowed the crowd to get in before the toss, for unknown reasons, a line stretched across the road, nearly 700m, like how a snake would be on the last leg of its life in the pixelated game. 

All of this despite paying a good price for the tickets. 

That’s when something interesting happened. There was a huge roar from the few thousand people who got into the stadium. Normally, you would know what transpires inside the venue based on the city and the crowd. But it was a game for the neutrals; you wouldn’t know if they were cheering for a wicket, a six, or a four. 

The long line outside quickly opened Hotstar on their mobiles and were glued to the screen in groups. David Warner was dropped. It was a catch that Usama Mir would look back and go, “Pakkad hi leta yaar,” but it wasn’t meant to be. That response made me think. 

What would have happened if the local Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise, Royal Challengers Bangalore, had bought David Warner? 

It was like a deal that would have fit the agenda either way - Warner could have been Bangalore’s poster boy, and RCB could have had a package that the IPL might never see. It was a thought that I had walking into the stadium. 

While Warner has played at the venue, he would always be the second best to the fans cheering for their local favourite - Virat Kohli. There was never a doubt. But on October 20 (Friday), the crowd had an unhinged opportunity to support Warner - the entertainer. 

Let’s be honest: runs, fours, and sixes sell like hotcakes. Especially in a city that has been so accustomed to seeing the ball fly. That’s the only prerequisite for entering Chinnaswamy Stadium, apart from not wearing a Black shirt or tee. 

Because that’s a mandate. 

With people slowly getting a chance to enter, all their eyes were fixated on watching Warner do his business. The Australian opener nearly whacked a six off Haris Rauf’s first delivery before eventually clearing the ropes off the next one. 

It was Warner-mania, a writing that would make the best of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) writers go jobless. The southpaw couldn’t have asked for a better venue to vent his frustration from the last game when he was given out in a rather controversial manner. With every hit, he looked ferocious, like the CGI-ed hyena from the new Tamil hit on the block, Leo. 

You can almost visualize it now, can’t you? 

Imagine waiting in line for nearly two hours, and the first sight you get is Warner hitting an effortless six. For someone with a forgettable physique, Warner ensured that he would never be forgotten by the 25-odd thousand fans at the stadium. 

It was that sort of a feeling at the Chinnaswamy. Even when Mitchell Marsh, who only knows one way of playing, started blocking, there was an evident irritation that could turn into frustration on the faces of the fans. That’s when Warner decided to step up. 

Effortlessly, the southpaw walked down the track and cleared the boundary against Mir, reminding him what his drop meant to the clash and to the crowd inside the stadium. As the runs started drying up more from the other end, Warner kept the crowd going, with one boundary after another. 

It reached a point where one young kid shrieked in the fullest of voices, “Beku Beku, sixer beku (Want a six).” Perhaps that kid would have been six or seven, but his priorities coincided with the ethos and pulse of the crowd. Warner was on 98, then. The crowd swayed their way to look at the only giant scoreboard at the venue to confirm the scores. 

Then came the swanky smartphone cameras out from the pockets. It was as if who could get the best shot, an iPhone or an Android phone. Hasan Ali ran into the bowl, only two were needed, and Warner got to….. Errrrr, 99. 

The crowd goes silent yet again—content with having to watch Marsh till then. Marsh had the golden opportunity to get to his own century with him on 96. That’s when he takes a single, frustrating the crowd further. 

Nawaz, Warner on 99, and the phones out. You could almost visualise how this would have gone, don’t you? Warner knocks for one and takes off for a quick single, jumping before doing the ‘Pushpa’ celebration, which made the crowd go ‘mental’. 

“Pushpa ante flower anukuntiva, fireu”

I’m 100% sure you are now trying to do it just like Warner. There aren’t too many players who could fulfil the hunger of the Bengaluru crowd as quickly as the Australian, and it was almost like he was batting on the crowd’s demand. The crowd wanted more. 

32 overs into the run-fest, they wanted more. They had already seen 226 runs being scored. Yet, it wasn’t enough. In came Mir bowling his fifth over, and out went the ball, marching towards Cubbon Park metro station. Despite wickets falling at regular intervals, Warner didn’t stop. 

Cause, “Pushpa jhukega nahi”.

By then, he had already crossed several landmarks, including a 150, an astonishing feat at the World Cup level. When he was finally dismissed, the crowd stood up and applauded him thunderously. 

Remember a question that I had floated in the beginning? 

What if Warner would have played for RCB? 

Warner for RCB in Bangalore would have been this day in and weeks out. Imagine him pairing up with Virat Kohli match after match in a short three-month window. Crowds would have gone mad, and the stadium would have erupted every nano-second, cheering for every single Warner shenanigans. 

It perhaps will be the biggest what-if in the Chinnaswamy folklore.

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