The consistently poor record of Pune’s sport franchises notwithstanding, Pune’s sport facilities did give the city’s sport fans something to smile about. Almost…
So The Punekar witnessed the city team, Rising Pune Supergiants’ latest debacle in person. At the MCA’s International Stadium at Gahunje. While we shall refrain from commenting on the team’s on-field performance (uninspiring, unplanned, and mechanical), we will list down what worked and what didn’t as far as our overall experience goes.
That view of the stadium as you’re walking towards it is a sight to behold. With pink and purple lighting up the exterior, it did get the fan in us going and keen to stick it to the Mumbai Indians’ fans. One in the stadium, it’s quite a spectacle; perhaps the best we’ve seen in India. Spacious, clean and a great view from long-off (or Fine Leg for a right-hand batsman).
There was plenty of noise and a lot of excitement and despite his best (juvenile) efforts, the DJ couldn’t bring it down. Unless he wasn’t trying to!
With the whole stadium seating setup, there is always a worry that one may not be able to witness the action up-close (blame TV!) and would miss out on key moments. But there are enough big screens showing replays that you won’t miss a thing. These could have been bigger, but they aren’t half bad.
Also good is the politeness of the staff at the venue. Handling 30,000-plus people is not mean task and they do it with a smile. Kudos!
I have some questions:
- Why did organisers run out of water for the fans (South General Stand) around 10PM?
- Why isn’t parking better sorted? We parked about a kilometre away (at least) and walked with 4 kids and a senior citizen over unpaved farmland. What could have taken 10 minutes, took 30.
- When will we stop being treated as animals? The main gate 3 entry was a mess. Yes, fans were as much to blame for this, but let’s be clear – nothing will teach us Indians discipline like physical restraint. So let’s make iron rows for smooth entry.
- Flagpoles were not permitted to be taken inside. About 40% of the crowd managed to take them inside. So why bother the 60%?
Of the above, I’d rate the parking issue as the gravest. We would strongly urge the organisers to plan parking around the stadium for ease of access. This, in turn, would also ease traffic issues when exiting post-match and the push and shove when entering the stadium. Well, maybe not the push-and-shove since it’s almost essential for Indians to do so.
Enough of the cribbing!
On the whole, we would rate the experience as an 8/10 and would recommend fans to definitely experience it whenever cricket returns to Pune.
Till then, let’s hope the Pune team can notch up some wins and move us to at least the middle of the table.