The Ricky Ponting-led Australian team arrived in Mumbai shortly after 1 pm to defend the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
The 15-member squad and their support staff arrived at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport for the four-Test series beginning in Bangalore on October 9, and took the inter-terminal transfer to the domestic airport and boarded a connecting flight to Jaipur later in the evening.
“They did not want to take any chance with security,” said an Indian board official. The Australian team management is scheduled to have their first interaction of the tour with the media in Jaipur on Tuesday morning.
The Australians advanced their arrival by a week after the Champions Trophy in Pakistan was postponed to late next year. The tour will officially begin in Hyderabad on September 29, which is when the Board of Control for Cricket in India begins to play host to the Australians formally, ahead of the four-day warm-up game against the Board President's XI from October 2-5.
The excitement has already caught on among the fans. A teenaged girl, who had arrived from Dubai in the same flight as the Australians, proudly showed off a piece of paper with Brett Lee's autograph on it.
“I managed to meet him while waiting for immigration,” she told her brother and father.
The series has already begun to generate much excitement with players past and present airing their views on how close the Indo-Australian rivalry has been over the last few years. Recently retired Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist weighed in with his thoughts last week at a function in Mumbai. "There are a number of challenges this Australian side will face," Gilchrist said, while pointing out that Ponting and his team would come out in full force.
"Ponting has not performed to the level that we have known him to in previous years. Obviously he will come with a lot of determination. Shane Watson, (Andrew Symonds' replacement) will be a strong point for us, if he gets the opportunity. We are looking for a batting all-rounder who complements the bowling department, and we are looking at him play that role. Mitchell Johnson could make an impact.
Brett Lee is the strike bowler and will do a fine job but Mitchell could be a crucial player when the ball starts to reverse swing," Gilchrist said.
Ricky Ponting (c), Michael Clarke, Doug Bollinger, Stuart Clark, Brad Haddin (wk), Mathew Hayden, Michael Hussey, Phil Jaques, Mitchell Johnson, Simon Katich, Jason Krejza, Brett Lee, Bryce McGain, Peter Siddle and Shane Watson.