'One guard will accompany you. What about the kid? He has to go?' 'Oh yes, he is in the campaign. You see, we are doing a coach and student theme.' The gates creaked open. The guards frisked us to the point of molestation. Finally, we made it to the enclosure. We walked through the posh, red fibre-glass seats and sat down in an empty row. We had the best view in the stadium. We came after the Indian innings had ended. Australia would bat now. Apart from the batsmen on crease, their team would be in the stands soon. 'Omi will be ok?' Ish whispered. I nodded. 'We will wait for the Australian team to come, ok?' I said to the security guard lest he became suspicious again. He nodded. 'Are you from Gujarat?' Ish asked him. 'No,' the guard said. He looked upset, as if a Gujarati girl broke his heart. 'Hey, look slowly five rows behind,' Ish said. I turned. There was a young Sikh boy in a burgundy turban wearing the Indian team dress. 'Sharandeep Singh, the twelfth man. He may be in the team noon. Should I go shake his hand?' 'Don't be nuts. One suspicion you are star-struck and they will kick our asses out of here,' I said. 'Can I take that?' Ali said as waiters in white uniforms walked a round with soft drinks. 'Pretend you own a two-hundred-crore company. Go for it Ali,' I said. Soon we were all drinking Fanta in tall glasses. Thank God lor sponsors. Murmurs rippled in our stand. Everyone turned back to see men in yellow dresses emerge from the dressing room. Ish clutched my hand tight as he saw the Australian team members. They came and sat two rows ahead of us. 'That is Steve Waugh, the Australian captain,' Ish whispered in my ear. I could hear his heart beat through his mouth. I nodded and a deep breath. Yes, everyone was there - Bevan, Lehman, Symonds and even McGrath. But we didn't come here to check out the Australian team like awestruck fans. We were he for a purpose. 'Ish bhaiya, there is Ponting, in the pads. He is one down,' Ali's scream ruined my effort to act placid. A few people noticed, but looked away as Ali was a kid. True VIPs never screamed at stars even though they liked to hang around them. A young white man, whom I did not recognise came and sat one row ahead of us. He wore the Australian team shirt, but had a pair of casual khaki shorts on. With curly hair and deep blue eyes, he could not be more than twenty. The VIPs clapped as Adam Gilchrist hit a six. In the general stalls, there was a silence of misery. Ish wanted to curse the bowler, but sense prevailed and he kept silent. The Australian team hi-fived at the six. The curly haired boy-man in f&nt pumped his fists. Ali finished his third Fanta. 'Go talk. I have done my job,' I prompted Ish. 'After a few overs, let the match settle,' Ish said.
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