It’s common for people to seek divine intervention when the chips are down and sport is no different.
However, a temple inside an international cricket stadium premises “to ensure that home team doesn’t lose“?
That’s the sight one is greeted with on entering the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal, which is hosting the ongoing second Test between India and England.
On normal days, it might escape the attention but on a match day, it is a vibrant sight.
Asked about the story behind the temple, priest Hanumanth Sharma claimed it was built in 2011 “neither the Indian team nor the now defunct IPL franchise Deccan Chargers were winning their matches at this ground.”
“It was proving to be an inauspicious ground for the home teams. Then it was found out that there was ‘Vaastu Dosham’ (problem in architecture as per ancient Hindu architectural system),” he said.
“Lord Ganesha is the God of Vaastu Shastra. You can check the records and after 2011, the Indian team never lost here,” Hanumanth said.
As per statistics, India first played an international match at this venue back in 2005. It was an ODI against South Africa which they lost by five wickets.
Subsequently, the home team lost to Australia in 2007 and 2009 before they beat England on October 14, 2011. India also beat Sri Lanka by six wickets.
Similarly, the first Test at this venue was a draw in 2010 against New Zealand after which the temple came up. The hosts registered emphatic victories in the next three games here.
The script is unlikely to change in the manner the West Indies are playing.
Ask him if reputed Indian players come and pray here and Hanumanth’s grin widens.
“Mahendra Singh Dhoni, during matches, has come and stood here, sought blessings from Lord Ganesha after practice sessions. The other name that I can recollect is Karn Sharma,” said Hanumanth.
He might be a professional priest but is also a junior artist in Telugu movies.
“I do all sorts of roles in Telugu movies. Acting is my passion. I have already done bit roles in seven movies and I will also be working with superstar Mahesh Babu in a film called Maharishi,” said Hanumanth.