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THERE WAS a particularly loud cheer in the stands at the Seddon Park when New Zealand pinch-hitter Corey Anderson walked out to bat in Wednesday’s ODI against India.
After a two-hour rain break, with less than seven overs to go, the spectators were hoping to get their money’s worth - and maybe, some money as well.
A lot of money actually, 100,000 NZ dollars (about Rs 52 lakh) to be precise, through a promotional scheme which required them to catch with one hand any hit sailing past the fence.
By the time he walked back to the pavilion, the potential IPL millionaire, Anderson, had left a 22-year-old Indian origin New Zealander richer beyond his dreams. His fourth six, which came off Ishant Sharma, nestled in Jatinder Singh’s right hand on the embankment beyond the long-on fence.
As the stadium roared, TV cameras zoomed in at an ecstatic Jatinder who was now surrounded by a mob. The youngster’s life, as he knew it, had changed.
“To be honest, I got up and didn’t think it was going to make it as far as me. I thought it was going to land short, so then I sort of gave up on it, and then it kept going and next thing I know it was in my right hand. Really, it happened so fast. I started jumping up and down, that’s not me. Normally I am quite reserved,” said Jatinder, a fourth-generation Indian whose roots are in Punjab.
His father own a farms in Te Aroha near Hamilton, while his mother, who is from Amritsar, is a housewife.
As he was being whisked away to the clubhouse for the confirmation, the crowd gave the youngster a big applause. People who had never known him walked up to him to shake hands and congratulate. Jatinder went about it as if he was dazed. The feeling hadn’t quite sunk in.
“I was sort of buzzing a little bit, waiting for the confirmation. Someone said it may take up to 24 hours, thank goodness I came in two hours...I have no idea what I’ll do with this money. Maybe a new car. I am sick of my car. Maybe I’ll also pay my students loan with that. But honestly I have no idea,” said the youngster, who is a management student at Waikato University.
The scheme that made it happen, ‘Catch-a-Million’, was launched by beer brand Tui for the 10 ODIs starting with