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As the city parties, cricket carries on at its own pace

Adelaide is not supposed to be happening - it?s quiet, boring, sedate. Nice for elderly people for walking their dogs along the beautiful river bank or sitting in the parks to enjoy the sun. There is little else on offer unless one fancies old cathedrals/libraries/museums, the Parliament House or the Sri Chinmoy Peace mile thoughtfully created for athletes to jog in peaceful surroundings.

india Updated: Dec 16, 2003 01:07 IST

Adelaide is not supposed to be happening - it’s quiet, boring, sedate. Nice for elderly people for walking their dogs (or the other way round) along the beautiful river bank or sitting in the parks to enjoy the sun. There is little else on offer unless one fancies old cathedrals/libraries/museums, the Parliament House or the Sri Chinmoy Peace mile thoughtfully created for athletes to jog in peaceful surroundings.

When someone listed these impressive city landmarks, Wasim Akram expressed a contrary opinion. There is nothing to do, he declared. And nowhere to go, except churches.

To cricketers it matters little where they play. Adelaide could be Allahabad because on tour, their life is governed by the airport/hotel/ground routine, they have no energy— or inclination — for anything else. Free time is scarce, and if there is any, it is spent in correcting backlift, getting the wrist position right and choosing the right restaurant for dinner.

This, however, applies only to players. Others in the travelling cricket circus have a different outlook towards life. For people with interests beyond cricket (ones searching for bounce, swing, movement and pace) Adelaide, on weekends, is an attractive proposition. Normally the city shuts down by sunset — shops in the mall down shutters and waitresses pile up chairs on tables and go home.

Come Saturday, the scene changes, the city comes alive. Everyone gets into party mode and the city centre area around Hindley street gets so busy it is almost like South Ex a day before Diwali .

But while the city parties, cricket carries on at its own pace. Check that with Laxman who scored 148 runs, and then spent hours answering twice the number of questions at the end of play press conference, and reached the hotel at 7 in the evening.

Though sapped physically he had no time to rest, or reflect on his achievement. Within minutes, a quick shower and change later, he was down in the lobby to catch up on a dinner engagement. Tragedy or triumph, for cricketers it is business as usual because routine rules.

Laxman, asked about his current hot form, said he had no explanation to offer, no secrets to reveal. The only thing I can think of, he said with modesty and a smile, is ‘I decided not to open. Since then I have made runs consistently’.

In the last few days, the mood in the Indian camp has changed.

On Monday evening, the boys were relaxed — they didn't look pressured, tense or anxious about tomorrow.

Nobody exhibits this feeling of quiet assurance better than skipper Sourav Ganguly. He went up to his 12th floor hotel room clutching a CD. The film he intended to watch — Kal Ho Na Ho.

First Published: Dec 16, 2003 01:07 IST