Cardiff: Lady Luck and sports are virtually synonymous. From an Indian point of view, when a man achieves excellence in the presence of his spouse, it's given that his lady love has bestowed upon him some extra dollops of good fortune. There have been exceptions, of course.
Umesh Yadav, who picked up five top Australian wickets during Tuesday's warm-up match at the Swalec Stadium here, is the only 'privileged' man in the Indian squad who has been allowed to bring his wife during the ICC Champions Trophy. According to the Indian team management, the Board of Control for Cricket in India made an exception for Yadav, who married his fashion designer girl-friend Tanya Wadhwa in Nagpur on May 29. It is not clear if Mrs Yadav is on BCCI's expenses.
WAGs have always been part of sports entourage. In the recently-concluded Indian Premier League, several international cricketers had their wives or companions for company. South African skipper and Royal Challengers Bangalore master blaster AB De Villiers even took his newly-wed wife to Agra to "seal" his love for her. Of course, Sakshi Dhoni was a permanent 'member' at almost all Chennai Super Kings matches till the spot-fixing scandal broke out and Vindoo Dara Singh, often photographed with the First Lady of Indian cricket, was arrested for alleged links with bookies.
Five wickets in a warm-up match is very fine, but Yadav has to replicate this in India's ICC Champions Trophy opener against South Africa here on Thursday. That will be real test for Lady Luck!
Sultan of Swing turns 47!
Former Pakistan pace legend Wasim Akram celebrated his 47th birthday on Monday. Akram, part of the STAR Sports commentary team, cut a cake in the presence of fellow commentators Sunil Gavaskar and Russell Arnold and several members of the STAR TV production team. Akram will be mainly commentating on Pakistan's matches. India and Pakistan are in the same group that also have the West Indies and South Africa.
Om Shanti Om!
There was a genuine 'Indian' feel to the sunny atmosphere at Cardiff's Swalec Stadium on Tuesday morning. After the traditional formalities of teams walking out and national anthems being played out, a popular track from the Hindi film Om Shanti Om kept the 1000-odd Indian fans on their toes. Released in November 2007, Om Shanti Om is a Bollywood romantic-reincarnation film directed and choreographed by Farah Khan. It starred Shah Rukh Khan and debutant Deepika Padukone in the lead roles.
India match a sell-out!
Thursday's India versus South Africa match here will see a full house. The Swalec Stadium that runs beside the Taff River, can seat about a 16,000 fans and officials say every seat will be occupied. Cardiff has a sizeable Indian population with more than 12000 students pursuing various degrees in the University here.