|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Games||Mobile|
For the first time in the series there was a seriously energetic vibe from the supporters on a practice day. People lined up, neatly and excitedly, outside the old Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground, and there was a large crowd sitting in one of stands watching the teams train. This was the experience I’d expected at every venue, and it was fabulous to see everyone expectant about the deciding game of the series.
Outside the ground a small boy was lifted up, probably by his brother, so he could peer over a fence and spot one of the Indian players entering the team bus. Happy children were everywhere, knowing their heroes were so close. But they weren’t just interested in the big names. As I walked out of the stadium people shouted “Australia” and little boys ran up to shake my hand. It was fun seeing their cheerfulness and the love of cricket in their eyes. With one week to go on the tour, it was a satisfying surprise.
What is uncertain is whether this hype will translate into large numbers at the new ground, which is about half an hour outside the city. Only weekly tickets are being sold, limiting the options for those who want to go for a day, and nobody seems to know how many spectators will attend. After the fun of the morning training sessions, I hope it will be a lot. This series deserves it.