For all the McDowell’s No.1 Dhoni XI players, being mentored by the Indian captain, will in all probability, be the No.1 moment of their lives. Winning the game was just a perk they earned over the Royal Challenge Gayle XI team.
This was the biggest (tennis ball) cricket match of the year. Winners of an online contest – 22 of them – were flown in to Bangalore for the match. It was all about the experience - basking in the moment, sharing the dugout with the greats & getting to know them better.After meeting Dhoni& Gayle, these guys have certainly struck a couple of thing off their bucket list.
To make the experience more realistic, two regular Pepsi IPL umpires – Subrat Das & Rajesh Deshpande – were present to oversee proceedings.
Before the game started, the players had a Q/A session with the umpires and two of the biggest hitters of the cricket ball – Chris Gayle &Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The umpires spoke about coping with the pressure of decision making & their methods of counting deliveries, among many other things. One of the questions directed at Gayle was about the longest six he had ever hit. “119 meters” he replied. Questions to Dhoni were mostly about India’s World Cup triumph and his innings in that final.
Soon, it was action time! Gayle’s only tip to his players was simple. “Get in. Play like lions”, the big man said. Dhoni on the other hand spoke to his boys about bikes! “Have fun” is all he said. The ‘White Mischief Girls’, who were there too, were kept busy as the ball crossed the boundary on numerous occasions.
The event was all about getting a bunch of cricket fans together, getting them to bond & giving them a feel of what being a professional cricketer is like. An awards ceremony, where each player was presented a memento - a miniature bat autographed by both Dhoni& Gayle- made the event all the more savvy. The memento is definitely one for the showcase
The DJ took over at the end as the players put the match behind them & swayed to the music. There was a lot of clicking pictures too as everybody wanted to treasure what this unique day had offered them. “This is the best thing that ever happened to me. I can’t put my feeling in words,” one of the players said.
Well, this was one event these guys will never stop raving about!