India has more 'passionate' football fans than cricket: Bhutia

Sports Friday 22/January/2016 18:05 PM
By: Times News Service
India has more 'passionate' football fans than cricket: Bhutia

Jaipur: For Indian football legend Bhaichung Bhutia, watching IPL finals in the stadium a few years ago was "quite a boring thing" and he feels the country has more "passionate" football fans than cricket aficionados.
"I went to watch the IPL final two or three years ago. The good thing about domestic football fans is that they are very passionate. Probably for a footballer it was quite a boring thing."
"Sometimes a big cheer went off across the audience. I wondered what had happened and it turned out that the giant screen had shown Shah Rukh Khan," he said, sending the jam-packed audience at the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival into peels of laughter.
He was participating in a session "India at Play" that also featured champion leg spinner Anil Kumble.
"The home team had lost the match, but there was no disappointment among the fans as they started to go home. If that happens in a football match between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, they will stop the traffic and block the roads," he added.
Bhutia cited the example of the ISL final to drive home his point how passionate fans can be when it came to the beautiful game of football.
In a session filled with humorous quips, Kumble and Baichung also discussed how their parents reacted to their sporting achievements.
"India had qualified for the Asia Cup finals after 28 years. The first thing my dad told me after I got home was to apply for a government job," Bhutia said.
Kumble also narrated how his father would ask him the 'same three questions' at the end of every match.
"He would ask me only three questions. What happened in the match, how did you do, and when is the next match," Kumble said.
"I had to literally pull him to watch me play in the Karnataka vs Tamil Nadu Ranji Trophy match and that was my first live match that he came and watched," he added.
Kumble said his greatest achievement was capturing 10 wickets in an innings, a feat which he "never tires of talking about".
"I never tire of talking about it because it has only happened twice. But cricket is like life, the very next match I got one wicket and struggled to get Shoaib Akhtar out."
Bhutia meanwhile added his personal milestone was competing in more than a hundred games as well as captaining the national team.