Australia obvious favourites

Updated on Sep 11, 2004 11:46 AM IST

The Aussies are revelling in the anonymity of England before the intense Test series in India next month, writes Kadambari Murali.

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PTI | ByKadambari Murali, Southampton

Unless you're actually part of the set-up – cricketer, cricket official, cricket journalist or commentator – or an NRI, you probably wouldn't even be aware that the world's top players were in the country or that the mini-World Cup was set to take off on the morrow.

This is England, mother country of cricket and venue for the 2004 Champions Trophy. And frankly, no one even knows it's happening or really gives a damn even when you tell them why you're in town. Football rules.

Still, the second most important tournament in the world (for Indians and some of the other sub-continentals at least) will kick off on Thursday and there's a lot at stake. India, who've been practising in the beautiful nursery ground next to the Rose Bowl here, are in the same group as Pakistan and Kenya and begin their outing against the Africans on Saturday. That should be a chance to get some good match -practice.

The Australians are obviously revelling in the anonymity of England before the intense, all-consuming Test series in India next month. A couple of days ago, Andrew Symonds was happily strolling into the Royal Garden hotel in London with a bunch of shopping bags in his massive hands. A couple of the others were window-shopping near by. Ricky Ponting looked remarkably relaxed as he talked about how pleased he was at being named captain of the World one-day and Test XI teams at the ICC Awards night on Tuesday.

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