Give our seamers Gabba any day
The batsmen are likely to disagree violently with this but half the Indian side actually looks forward to and enjoys touring Australia. It is easy to understand why batsmen feel the way they do - if career-threatening bombs were hurled by hostile mobs at you and me, we too would agree with them readily.india Updated: Dec 06, 2003 01:18 IST
The batsmen are likely to disagree violently with this but half the Indian side (probably more) actually looks forward to and enjoys touring Australia. It is easy to understand why batsmen feel the way they do - if career-threatening bombs were hurled by hostile mobs at you and me, we too would agree with them readily.
Even so, if an opinion poll is held to elect cricket's most popular destination, several Indian votes will be cast in favour of Australia. The most enthusiastic respondents will be quick bowlers Nehra/Khan/Pathan who'd unhesitatingly confirm they prefer being in Brisbane and Adelaide, red Kookaburra in hand, rather than struggle on mud tracks of Baroda and Ahmedabad.
But it is not just a matter of cricket, Australia is favoured for being warm, hospitable, friendly, open and attractive. Cricketers with sharp eyes and sound judgement say there is plenty of colour in the stands to grab your attention.
Also, as Australia has lots of space, players are not smothered, chased, harassed by demanding fans.
And this is another important consideration on tours: Indian khaana is only a quick phone call away. Dial Taj/Ashoka/India Kings or something similar and food is hotel delivered within minutes. Not just that, restaurant owners are so generous,and such cricket lovers, naans come free with orders of daal/subji/tandoori chicken!
From a strict cricket standpoint too there is nothing to complain. Facilities are top grade, whether it is practice wickets or the dressing room.
Cricket is run professionally and efficiently, there is no need to search for a large tub (for the end of day ice bath, big enough to accommodate Bruce Reid or Zaheer) or ask around for extra sprigs to put on Agarkar's shoe. It is all there, already.
In Australia, things work because they are sorted out in advance, put into computers and analysed but they have lost their way in this game. For them, Brisbane (with its red hot track resembling a slick putting green) was supposed to be a swift kill, an opportunity to go one up.
For India, disaster here would have meant another miserable start, one more dreadful addition to its already pathetic overseas record.
Little happened at the Gabba on Friday, bored spectators busied themselves with drinking beer and cursing baarish. Indian players did neither, and had no reason to be bored. On the contrary, for them it was a productive day at work - they made quick strikes and used the extended breaks to rest, relax and catch up on sleep.
And yes, thanks to an alert member of the touring party who remembered to make the call, plenty of Indian food was around for everybody.
First Published: Dec 06, 2003 01:18 IST