Home > Features >

ICC World T20 2014 tour diary: Bangladesh’s hangover, a reporter’s enthusiasm at 60 and more…

Omprakash Mundhra (left) has attended
Om Prakash Mundhra (left) with CricketCountry correspondent Nishad Pai Vaidya. Mundhra has attended four FIFA World Cups, seven Olympics (Winter and Summer) and nine Cricket World Cups (The 50-over tournament and T20)

CricketCountry’s reporter Nishad Pai Vaidya was returning from Dhaka in the midst of some cricketing frenzy. He writes about his journey and how he came across Om Prakash Mundra, a man who has been at seven Olympics, four FIFA World Cups and nine Cricket World Cups.

You lost the final,” said the attendant at the check-in counter at the Shahjalal International Airport, Dhaka. I was wearing a ICC World T20 2014 T-shirt while checking into my return flight to India. On seeing the Indian passport, the attendant couldn’t help but make the comment with a cheeky smile. There is a cricketing hangover in Dhaka a day after the final, where Sri Lanka beat India. The road outside the Sher-E-Bangla National Stadium is still decked up in lights and they would only come off gradually. However, there is less security and the main gate of the stadium was as open as one would have seen.

There are many memories one would take back from the Dhaka trip. Of course, the Bengali sweets stand-out. The rasagollas, mishti dohi etc. were simply irresistible and your meal wasn’t complete without them. However, as a journalist, one came across a very interesting figure in the press box, surely someone you won’t forget anytime soon. Here was a bespectacled elderly man, dressed up in colourful clothers, with a camera hung around his neck. And, at the press conferences, he would ask the most interesting and candid questions. As I wandered through the Dhaka airport, I ran into him and heard one of the most remarkable stories.

Meet Om Prakash Mundra, a businessman from Nagpur, who has a penchant for attending world events. His enthusiasm and willingness to learn would put a youngster to shame. Have a look at his CV: he has attended four FIFA World Cups, seven Olympics (Winter and Summer) and nine Cricket World Cups (The 50-over tournament and T20). The World T20 in Dhaka was his first as a journalist, but on all other occasions, he has been a volunteer. Picture a volunteer at such an event, and you may think of a youngster, someone in his or her early 20s. But, here is a man well past 60, bubbling with enthusiasm.

“I am a very positive person and always try to look for the good things,” Mundra says. At the press conference, he would come up with questions other journalists wouldn’t dare ask. For example, he had asked Indian skipper for his “sandesh” to the country and for his “gurumantra.” Other journalists looked at him with skepticism, but he chose to maintain his own identity. “People did come and ask me why I asked such questions, but why not? Plus, I wear these colourful clothers. Some felt I have come to play holi. But in fact, these were our clothes at the recent Winter Olympics in Sochi.”

Back home in Nagpur, Mundra’s three sons handle his business. He isn’t a volunteer alone as his wife also accompanies him to all the world events. “This is the first time she didn’t travel with me,” he says. Mundra travels everywhere to volunteer and now he braces for his fifth FIFA World Cup, which would take him all the way to Brazil. Have a look at the official website of the tournament, and you would see him featured in the volunteers section, where he describes the importance of the duty. There cannot be a better man to do it. “Once a journalist asked me why I was spending so much money and going to these world events to volunteer. I said, when you go to a university or a school, do you pay? Of course you do, as you learn something. For me, it is about traveling and going to learn things about different countries etc,” Mundra says.

Volunteering isn’t Mundra’s only passion as he is also known to make posters for cricket. “During the opening game of the 2011 World Cup at the Sher-E-Bangla, my wife and I were the only Indian fans in the stadium with my posters. During the 2003 World Cup, they were picking the top 10 posters for the entire tournament. Three of them were mine,” Mundra says as our flight gets ready to board. We part ways there and he says, “Ab toh milte rahenge cricket ke bahane.” (We will keep meeting thanks to cricket)

On the way back to Mumbai, there was a long stopover at the Kolkata Airport and I took a seat in the departure lounge. A CISF guard came up and said, “Hello sir. Have you come from the matches.” We then discussed about the tournament and invariably, there was a comment about Yuvraj Singh. “People have been nasty to him. He just couldn’t get going, but has won us three World Cups in the past,” he says. “Social media,” is one word he uses! Well, the tirade against the southpaw is humongous. And then comes a calming message from the master, Sachin Tendulkar, who says, “You can criticise him, but don’t crucify him.”

There is a lot one can learn from such journeys and you may find inspiration from the unlikeliest of sources. Surely, Yuvraj knows that and he does need doses of inspiration to put away the horrors of Mirpur 2014.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 30, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 2, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Khulna

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 5, 2014 (14:05 IST)   at Adelaide

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 6, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Ahmedabad

More

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 15, 2014  at Ahmedabad

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 7, 2014  at Bengaluru

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 30, 2014  at Hyderabad

Match cancelled

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014  at Hamilton

No result

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 3 wkts

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test

Videos

Tendulkar provides teaser on upcoming book

Live Cricket Score Duleep Trophy Central Zone vs South Zone, final at Delhi Day 4: Central 344/7 at Lunch

Live Cricket Score: Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test, Day 3 at Abu Dhabi

Don Bradman dismissed twice on the same day

Rohit Sharma looks to strengthen career after an inconsistent year

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Central Zone Duleep Trophy Duleep Trophy 2014-15 India Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Zone South Zone vs Central Zone Sri Lanka Sri Lanka tour of India 2014

Duleep Trophy 2014-15 final: Central Zone reach 344/7 at Lunch; Robin Bist unbeaten on 87

Financial options to make West Indies’ Down Under tour possible

Duleep Trophy 2014-15 final: Robin Bist completes half-century

BCCI may file $42 million lawsuit against WICB for India tour pullout

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Muttiah Muralitharan insists Virat Kohli a huge asset for India

Don Bradman dismissed twice on the same day

Virat Kohli’s captaincy opportunities important in context of India’s succession plans

Rohit Sharma looks to strengthen career after an inconsistent year

Younis Khan equals Javed Miandad’s record of most 150+ scores by Pakistan batsman

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Manish Pandey showing signs of fulfilling potential

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

678 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Younis Khan century during Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test at Dubai

India A vs Sri Lanka: Fringe players look to impress

NGOs pursue education for all

Dance Basanti from Ungli: Put on your dancing shoes and practice the Basanti move!

Weight Loss Tip #59: Eat oranges to lose weight

Sensex surges 150 points in early trade to regain 27,000-mark

PricewaterhouseCoopers partners Google to offer business solutions to clients

Google X Lab working on nanoparticles to help detect diseases early

Priyanka Chopra has the best no make-up selfie on Instagram, think fans!

Lisa Haydon: I slept off midway while watching the original Shaukeen!

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here