Fans pumped for ODI at Seddon Park
A sea of passionate Indian cricket fans is set to make waves at Hamilton's Seddon Park today.
The scene of the second one-day international between the Black Caps and India will be a colourful affair, with the fervent Indian spectators adding a big part to the spectacle.
Expect to see plenty of the visiting side's flags draped around the boutique venue, among the blue hue of the replica kits, as well as plenty of dancing and chanting.
In India, cricket is more a religion than a sport. The players are superhuman and worshipped. Major stadiums feature huge wire fences to keep the crowds back.
In New Zealand, and particularly at Seddon, the fans can get within touching distance of their heroes.
One of those eager cricket followers is 30-year-old Mayur Makheri, who is likely to work half a day in his marketing job at Wallace Corporation in Waitoa, so he can make the most of today's occasion.
"I'm quite excited," said Mr Makheri who moved here from Mumbai two and a half years ago and now coaches a junior Hamilton Old Boys team.
Makheri's cricket-playing days in India are a classic tale, as he rubbed shoulders with arguably the world's finest player, Sachin Tendulkar, and was coached by the same man who coached the legend. "His school was next to mine," Mr Makheri said. We played at the same ground. He was in my senior team, we were at the same club, I was just a ball boy.
"He was always playing for India and used to come on and off to visit his coach."
Between the Indian fans there'll be a smattering of Black Caps supporters and the distinctive tint of orange, as punters don the Tui T-shirts in the hope of taking a one-handed catch and netting $100,000. Remember, it's Hamilton which has proved the one lucky venue so far, when Michael Morton snapped up the cash in the West Indies One Day International.
So for the all important question for Mr Makheri: Are India going to fight back for 1-1 after going down in Napier on Sunday or are New Zealand going to go 2-0 up in the five-match series?
"It's a tricky question mate. Do you want a pretty generic view of the game or a very technical view of the game?"
Well, a bit of the latter.
"In the subcontinent the pitches spin a lot, but here, they just don't spin as much.
"And the Kiwi bowlers are pretty zippy, and considering there's a lot of moisture, the ball's bound to swing a lot.
"We have trouble against speedsters and short balls."
Fortunately for India, the Seddon Park pitch is set to be on the slow side.
The match gets under way at 2pm, with gates opening at 12.30pm.