From the US to West Indies, thrills of covering variety in the World Cup

Ishaan Shahane with Sir Viv Richards and Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma with the Trophy
Ishaan Shahane with Sir Viv Richards and Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma with the Trophy (PC: Debasis Sen and ICC)

Ishaan Shahane in Barbados

The ICC T20 World Cup has officially ended after an exhilarating month, and if I had to sum up the experience in one word, it would be “special.” Being my first international tour, and that, too, in the United States and the West Indies for the World Cup, I was initially unsure of what to expect.

I quickly realised that this was a tremendous opportunity to learn and enjoy the moments of covering a major event on an international stage. The journey was filled with memorable experiences, from the vibrant cultures of the host countries to the thrilling cricketing action that kept fans on the edge of their seats. Covering such a prestigious event allowed me to witness the behind-the-scenes efforts that go into organising a World Cup, the dedication of the players, and the passion of the fans.

The first leg of the tournament kicked off in New York, with three matches scheduled at the Nassau County International Stadium. Witnessing cricket in New York was surely an experience I will never forget. For the longest time, nobody could have imagined New York being one of the hosts of an ICC World Cup. The city, known for its rich culture of local sports, provided a unique and vibrant backdrop for cricket. It was a brave move by the ICC, which attracted a substantial crowd. The India versus. Pakistan match will undoubtedly be the biggest highlight of the New York leg. Witnessing two of the biggest cricketing rivals facing off against each other was exhilarating. The electric atmosphere, with fans passionately supporting their teams, created a great spectacle.

However, more effort could have been put into targeting the local diaspora by reducing ticket prices to promote the game further in the US. Video shoots at iconic locations like Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, and the bustling streets of New York made the experience even more enriching. These travelogue moments added a unique flavour to the tour, blending the excitement of cricket with the cultural and historical richness of one of the world’s most iconic cities.

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Team India players lifting Rahul Dravid after the victory
Team India players lifting Rahul Dravid after the victory (PC: ICC)

Miami, however, was a bit of a disappointment. Rain played spoilsport, and decision-making by ground authorities resulted in the India vs. Canada game being washed out, even though there was no rain on the match day itself. The frustration of missed cricket action was palpable. Despite the setback, the beaches and vibrant vibes of Miami added a refreshing dimension to the tour. The city’s lively atmosphere, stunning coastlines, and unique cultural blend provided a delightful counterbalance to the cricketing disappointments.

Debasis Sen, my colleague, and I were looking forward to the Caribbean experience, and it did not disappoint. The excitement of the World Cup was evident the moment we arrived in Barbados, with hoardings and commercial promotions of the event all over. The best part of the Caribbean is the love the locals have for the sport, with everyone passionately involved in cricket here. Covering the game at the Kensington Oval was surely a ‘tick’ off the bucket list while visiting historical locations such as the 3Ws and the Cricket Legends Museum made us connect even further with the rich cricketing heritage of Barbados. Guyana and Saint Lucia were special in their ways as well, each bringing out its unique culture of cricket. The semi-final between India and England took place in Guyana, where the Indian team secured a comprehensive victory, making the moment much sweeter.

The final leg of the tour brought us back to Barbados, culminating in an unforgettable evening at the Kensington Oval. The Indian team’s triumphant World Cup victory on my first international tour is a dream come true. Being a small part of history feels incredible, and it’s moments like these that we all live for. The tour has been hectic, with extensive travel across different countries, but it has also been immensely enriching. Covering the highs and lows, from the vibrant cricket culture in the Caribbean to the iconic matches in New York and Miami, every moment has been worth it. And with India lifting the World Cup, this tour has officially ended on a high note.

Also Read: Cricket carnival from New York to Barbados, wonderful moments from the Men In Blue