The crowd at the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne were treated to a spectacle when the Indian community was celebrated during the innings break of the Big Bash League (BBL) match between the Melbourne Renegades and the Sydney Sixers.
A plastic elephant and a horde of dancers dressed in traditional Indian attire entertained the crowds when the players took a breather after the Renegades' batting innings. Bollywood songs were played during the sensational show.
The elephant looked only fairly life-like, but it was convincing enough to Mark Waugh - former Australian batsman and one of the commentators in the BBL - who believed that the elephant was ‘quite real’. The crowd seemed to thoroughly enjoy the unique experience.
Melbourne has the largest Indian community in Australia, and this might have been the driving force behind the Renegades’ intent to implement this unique display of culture and tradition.
Fan engagement is something that is crucial in modern-day sports. Hence, this event comes as a great touch by the Renegades as they try to heighten fan engagement through innovative ways.
However, the home fans who would have hoped for a victory for their squad were left disappointed as the Sixers beat the Renegades by three wickets.
The Sixers won the toss and put the Renegades into bat who were boosted by Chris Gayle’s 33-ball 46 and put up a decent total in 172/4 in their 20 overs. Englishman, Michael Lumb fired the Sixers off to a great start as he scored 63 off just 35 balls.
Although they lost four wickets in quick succession during their chase, the Sixers managed to cross the finishing line and win their second game of the tournament. With two wins in three games, the Sixers are now top of the BBL table.
Pallavi Sharda, the Australian-Indian actress and dancer, was at the stadium to perform expressed her delight at the Renegades hosting such a cultural event. Although she was born in Perth, she spent most of her life in Melbourne and that made the event much more special for her.
Here is the video of the Indian community being celebrated (Video courtesy of BBL official Facebook page):