My knowledge of cricket is zero, says Dalai Lama

Last Updated: May 21, 2011, 20:38 PM IST

Dharamsala: The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama on Saturday saw an Indian Premier League (IPL) match in this Himachal Pradesh town but confessed his knowledge about cricket is zero.

"Indians are great enthusiasts of cricket and I am enjoying my visit to the stadium," the Dalai Lama said.

"Though I don`t know much about cricket but I am enjoying my time spent in the stadium," the spiritual leader told a TV commentator.

The Nobel laureate was led to the ground before the match between Kings XI Punjab and Deccan Chargers.

On his left was Preity Zinta, Bollywood actress and co-owner of Kings XI Punjab, and on the right side Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) president Anurag Thakur.

Dressed in a traditional maroon robe, the Dalai Lama presented the players of both teams `khata`, a traditional white robe given by the Tibetans in honour.

Some of the players, especially Indians, sought his blessing by touching his feet. In his typical jovial style, he patted the players on their back.

"My knowledge of cricket is zero. As a monk when I was growing up in the Potala Palace (in Tibet), I used to play ping pong (table tennis). But seeing the enormous response of the Indian fans towards the game, I am quite impressed. So many are enjoying, so I am enjoying," he said.

The Dalai Lama, 75, also missed no opportunity to praise India, where he has been living in exile for more than 50 years, by saying "Indian civilization is the best in the world".

Officials of the HPCA said the Dalai Lama spent almost an hour at the stadium.

In the previous IPL edition, the Dalai Lama was also the centre of attraction during the match here between Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings.

"Last time when we were watching the game, I asked CM (chief minister Prem Kumar) Dhumal who was winning and who was losing," he said.

The HPCA stadium, one of the new venues in the country, is located nearly 4,000 feet above sea level and surrounded by the majestic Dhauladhar ranges of the Himalayas that make it one of the most beautiful grounds in the world.