In common with most Indians, Mumbaikars are crazy about cricket. Cricket provides almost as much of a distraction as movies in the Maharashtrian capital, and you’ll see games in progress everywhere, from impromptu sunset knockabouts on Chowpatty Beach to more formal club matches in full whites at the gymkhanas lined up along Marine Drive. In south Mumbai, Oval Maidan is the place to watch local talent in action, set against a wonderfully apt backdrop of imperial-era buildings. Something of a pecking order applies here: the further from the path cutting across the centre of the park you go, the better the wickets and the classier the games become.

Pitches like these are where Mumbai’s favourite son, Sachin Tendulkar, cut his cricketing teeth. The world’s most prolific batsman in both test and one-day cricket still lives in the city and plays regularly for its league-winning club side at the Brabourne Stadium, off Marine Drive. A kilometre or so further north, 45,000-capacity Wankhede Stadium is where major test matches are hosted, amid an atmosphere as intense, raucous and intimidating for visiting teams as any in India.

The Indian cricket season runs from October through February. Tickets for big games are almost as hard to come by as seats on commuter trains, but foreign visitors can sometimes gain preferential access to quotas through the Mumbai Cricket Association’s offices on the first floor of Wankhede. Few other spectactor sports get much of a look-in, although the horse racing at Mahalakshmi draws large crowds on Derby days. Previews of all forthcoming events are posted on the back pages of the Times of India, and in Time Out Mumbai.

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