FAN FOLLOWING

First-person reports from the stands

India v Australia, first ODI, Pune

October 14, 2013

Revenge, and ghost faces

Viraj Deshpande


Yuvraj Singh accounted for Shane Watson with his first delivery, India v Australia, 1st ODI, Pune, October 13, 2013
The biggest cheers were reserved for Yuvraj © BCCI
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Series/Tournaments: Australia tour of India
Teams: Australia | India

Choice of game
There was no way I was going to miss the one-day debut of my home ground in Pune.

Team supported
I was hoping India would score 400+ and skittle out Australia for under 100. To say things didn't go according to plan would be an understatement.

Key performer
George Bailey was busy at the wicket, going past fifty in no time.

One thing I'd have changed
Everyone knows how hard it is to be a cricket fan in India. The authorities take you for granted and even basic facilities are not available at some venues. At the Pune stadium, only one stand had a roof over it. We also had to pay for drinking water, which they ran out of during the innings break. So after sitting in the sun for nearly five hours, the spectators had to remain thirsty for most of the second innings.

Face-off I relished
It looked like Mitchell Johnson wanted to prove a point to Rohit Sharma, his Mumbai Indians captain, for not picking him for the Champions League final last week. Johnson bowled him two lethal 153kph bouncers in the fifth over, which Rohit just managed to get out of the way of. But as always is the case with Johnson, he followed it up with a loose ball around off stump, and Rohit drove it for a boundary.

Wow moment
After failing twice, the crowd finally got the Mexican wave right in the 32nd over and it resulted in some ear-splitting noise. Perhaps it was this noise that caused the run-out confusion between Adam Voges and Bailey.

Shot of the day
James Faulkner's 27 helped Australia get past 300. He smashed consecutive length balls from Vinay Kumar over cow corner for sixes. The first one was not that well timed and just went over the fence. But the moment he hit the second one, you knew it was gone. It nearly cleared the stadium.

Crowd meter
The stands were nearly full. There was a lot of excitement around the ground before the start of play. The loudest cheer was reserved for ex-Pune Warriors captain and comeback man Yuvraj Singh, when he came out to bat. But it was Johnson who interacted with and entertained the crowd the most. People in the stand behind where he was fielding were imitating his every move, be it the stretching of arms or his bowling action, and Johnson was happy to egg them on.

Accessories
I had a ghost mask, which I wanted to wear to scare Shane Watson. But he was too chicken to field anywhere near my stand.

Marks out of ten
7. An Indian win would have been ideal, but the Aussies played better cricket. They batted with freedom on a two-pace wicket, their bowlers took wickets at crucial stages, and in field it looked as if they had not 11 but 13 people on the park.

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Viraj Deshpande is a 21-year-old cricket romantic and journalism graduate, currently wasting his afternoons running a cricket website. He tweets here.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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Posted by jb633 on (October 15, 2013, 23:13 GMT)

Liked the report here mate, always nice to hear the perspective of the average fan from someone (from England) who will most probably never be able to experience what it is really like watching cricket in India. Hope the writing will work out for you

Posted by rick333 on (October 14, 2013, 21:51 GMT)

as the previous user posted, it was a neat report. crisp summary. it was entertaining at the same time highlighted the lack of good stadium facilities.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 18:33 GMT)

u r a better writer than a journalist!! ur piece on sachin in wisden was ametuerishly gr8! i felt pity on ur nagpur experience. losin a series 2 eng. & d pitch in nagpur made me not watch cricket at all till SIR JADEJA reimposed my faith in test cricket vs d aussies. as a fan livin in mumbai its better 2 attend test matches than ipl or odi bcoz of traffic jams & cramped spaces. despite all hype SRT's 200th will not b full. a weak WI insted of oz or sa & cancellation of sa tour has made me break my streak of watchin last 3 tests at wankhede!!

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 11:01 GMT)

A neat report. his naive comments are a relish for connoiseurs of the game. And he rightly pointed out lack of infrastructure facilities in most of the grounds here. And BCCI is taking the fans for granted and we have to bear the brunt in the grounds. I have experienced it personally in some of the grounds. It's high time some officials of the BCCI take serious note of the lack of the facilities. Yesterday was Australia's day. Everywhere they were present in batting, bowling, fielding which was missing In our team. The lusty hitting by their captain and the late cameo by Faulkner are treat to watch.

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