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Love of cricket helps Mumbai to recover

December 04, 2008 12:28 IST

Cricket is helping Mumbai to overcome the shock of last week's militant attacks that killed at least 171 people, say players and fans.

Mumbai's confident start against Hyderabad in the Ranji Trophy national championship on Tuesday came as a welcome distraction for players and spectators as the cricket-loving city slowly recovers from the tragedy.

"There's a special chemistry between cricket and Mumbaikars. As players we forget everything else while playing the game, the same goes for spectators," Mumbai batsman Ajinkya Rahane said on Wednesday.

"The attacks were terrible, death of innocent people and children. But Mumbai is a city that is always on the move, nothing can stop it," added Rahane who shared in a 335-run stand for the second wicket with Test opener Wasim Jaffer.

Mumbai, a city steeped in cricket tradition, has been the cradle of Indian batting, grooming stalwarts such as Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar.

"People just enjoy watching cricket," schoolboy Sumit Swamy said after travelling across the city to find solace in his favourite game.

"It has to do with Mumbai spirit. Regular life resumes quickly. Nothing can keep us down for long," he added.

India's second Test against England was moved out of Mumbai and the Champions League Twenty20 competition deferred following the attacks.

Jaffer said on Wednesday that it would take at least a year for visiting teams to get comfortable with the idea of playing in Mumbai again.

The militants attacked the city's railway station and its two top hotels, where touring teams usually stay.

"Usually they can't stop talking about cricket. But these last few days 90 per cent of what they speak is about the attack," Chandrakant Pandit, director of Mumbai Cricket Association's indoor academy said of his players.

"On the field they are focused on the game but you can't stop the mind from going back to that tragedy the moment they step out... Cricket will play a role as the city heals," he told Indian Express.

Sanjay Rajan in Mumbai
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