Aus eye revenge against India in T20
On Saturday, the old will meet the new as Brabourne Stadium, built in 1937, hosts an India-Australia Twenty20 tie, the latest version of the game. Playing the first Twenty20 game at home, India will have to defend its reputation against the vengeful Australians.
India beat Australia in the semi-finals on their way to the Twenty20 World Championship title in South Africa last month. Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his boys will have to prove the triumph was no flash in the pan while the Australians will be keen to prove that was exactly what it was.
The match will be the culmination of a One-Day International series that Ricky Ponting's team has won 4-2, a series also marked by allegations of racism from the stands, besides on-field skirmishes between players.
So both sides want to end on a high. For India, especially, a win here will provide a much-needed morale boost before the Pakistani team -- also seeking revenge for two defeats in the Twenty20 World Championship -- lands in the country for three Tests and five ODIs starting early next month.
India have won five of the eight Twenty20 matches they have played so far. Australia have won six of their 11 Twenty20 matches.
Both countries are fielding almost the same teams that took part in the World Championship and the just concluded ODI series.
While India have dropped an injured Piyush Chawla for this day-night game, for Australia all-rounder James Hopes -- who has had a successful one-day series -- has been ruled out of this game with a hamstring injury. Matthew Hayden, who missed the last two ODIs due to a hip complaint, is also a doubtful starter.
Virender Sehwag, who missed the Twenty20 final due to an injury, has regained fitness and will return to the team. The batsman will look to set the immaculately painted stands of the Brabourne Stadium alight at the top of the order.
He also looks slimmer and fitter, thanks to his newfound enthusiasm for yoga, but has lost none of his confidence, at least while talking about his chances of a comeback to the national ODI and Test teams.
Local boy Sachin Tendulkar, who had the highest aggregate of 278 in the seven-match ODI series, Rahul Dravid, who is struggling for runs in the ODIs, and Sourav Ganguly are not in the team. They had opted out of the World Championship too.
But the charm of a slam-bang Twenty20 game provides enough enticement for cricket fans to throng a stadium that was built on reclaimed land from the sea and still captivates all comers. It also strictly implements its rules, including prohibition on the use of mobile phones in the pavilion area.
Built by Lord Brabourne, governor of Bombay during the British Raj, the stadium hosted 17 Tests and eight ODIs before international matches were shifted to the nearby Wankhede Stadium when it was built in 1975 following a dispute with the Cricket Club of India, the owner of Brabourne stadium.
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain/wicket-keeper), Yuvraj Singh (vice-captain), Virender Sehwag, Dinesh Karthik, Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Rohit Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Irfan Pathan, Rudra Pratap Singh, Sreesanth, Harbhajan Singh, Joginder Sharma and Ajit Agarkar
Australia: Ricky Ponting (captain), Adam Gilchrist (vice-captain/wicketkeeper), Nathan Bracken, Stuart Clark, Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin, Matthew Hayden,
Ben Hilfenhaus, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, James Hopes, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee and Andrew Symonds
Umpires: Ameesh Saheba and Suresh Shastri (both India)
Third umpire: G.A. Pratapkumar (India)
Fourth umpire: Bhanu Prakash (India)