Be careful! Volunteers warn unsuspecting cricket fans at Asiad

Asian Games volunteers warned spectators to beware of sixes as opening batsman Yashasvi Jaiswal smashed his way to a 48-ball century, helping India to a 23-run win over Nepal in their debut in the men’s cricket tournament on Tuesday.

India are mad about the sport but it is barely seen in China, hence reminders to the locals to keep a watchful eye during the Twenty20 international at the picturesque university ground in the Hangzhou suburbs.

Volunteers walked through the terraces shouting, “Be careful of the ball,” and carried signs in Chinese saying: “Take care to avoid.”

As well they might, with Jaiswal clobbering seven sixes before falling for 100, helping India put 202 for four on the board.

Nepal number five Dipendra Singh Airee, who scored the fastest fifty in T20 internationals against Mongolia last week, then got in on the act, smashing three sixes in as many balls in his 15-ball 32 during the team’s chase.

Soon after, a message rang out from the loudspeaker repeating the warning, adding: “Don’t catch the ball.”

India’s best players are at home preparing for the 50-overs World Cup, still the sport’s most prestigious trophy despite a decline in interest in the format.

Yet there is pride at stake for the second-string squad captained by Ruturaj Gaikwad and representing superpower India for the first time at the Games.

India’s women cantered to gold last week, putting pressure on the men to follow suit.

“Of course, I’m really glad and happy that our girls won the trophy and the gold,” Jaiswal told reporters.

“We are just trying our best. We will keep trying and working hard for it and we will do what we can.”


Having skipped cricket at past Asian Games, India’s debut has been a coup for Hangzhou where the sport has returned to the programme after being dropped for Jakarta in 2018.

Though only a few hundred spectators were present at the Zhejiang University of Technology venue, the match was beamed live into India on digital and TV platforms.

There is no shortage of quality in the Indian squad, either, with 21-year-old lefthander Jaiswal among a slew of players with international experience and form in the Indian Premier League.

Having set several records against Mongolia, Nepal went down with all guns blazing — Karan KC smashing Shivam Dube for a six with the last ball.

Whether supporting the underdog or any team that is not India, a nation China has long had fraught relations with, fans chanted “Add oil, Nepal!” — “Come on!” in the local parlance.

It was all in vain, though, as India bowlers Avesh Khan and Arshdeep Singh took five wickets between them, combining to tear the heart out of Nepal’s innings and set up semi-final against either Bangladesh or Malaysia.

It was not the dominant win some Indian fans would have hoped for, and ragged fielding gave up cheap runs to the Nepalis, but the India skipper was happy enough with the result.

“It’s a slightly new experience for everyone and not much information (compared) to Nepal, who knew how the pitch was playing,” said Gaikwad.

Cricket is bidding to join the programme at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics and a decision is expected soon.

Gaikwad said his players were enjoying their first major multi-sport Games as athletes and fans.

“We are not really used to going into the stands and watching other sport in India because of the popularity cricket has,” he added.

“It’s great fun and a great experience to watch as fans of our country.”

Source: Read Full Article