Friday, January 06, 2012

Memories of Down Under!

I love Sydney. It is one of the most beautiful and exotic places to visit. And if you happen to like water sports, there is no other place that comes close to Sydney. No sooner you reach Kingsmith Airport, a certain birdie will let you know that the airport authorities are very strict about things that you bring in Australia. But then if you tell them that you are visiting Sydney Cricket Ground and Don Bradman is the arguably the best Australian till date, you have a chance to beat them. It is a sports loving nation and which is why all that happens in Australia is anything but dullness.

My earliest memory of Sydney Cricket ground dates back to 1992 World Cup Cricket. We had a Black & White television set in our house. My eldest brother who used to sleep after the crows started morning hymns used to tap me on shoulders and tell me that Ian Chappell is away for the toss with the two captains. It was an advantage in those days to switch on TV and get your channels. Because you just had one channel. Doordarshan inspite of all its commercial breaks and insipid behavior was your savior. You could hear the birds singing and seagulls all across the SCG while Bill Lawry and Richie Benaud used to take the guards. I think Sunny Gavaskar was the first Indian commentator to be included in Channel's Nine commentary team and that was quite an achievement considering stalwarts like Richie Benaud, Frank Tyson, Bill Lawry, Tony Greig,and all the other Johnnycomboys made it an experience.

Growing up in the IT city of India is fun because I had amazing friends with whom I could talk on everything. Friends who had a voice in everything. 1999 when I saw the likes of VVS Laxman and Tendulkar whooping massive runs in SCG. It was the time when Tendulkar's captaincy was tested and we used to lose matches after matches in SCG. MCGrath and Shane Warne had by then became the lethal front of Australian bowling side. And more or less the world was witnessing the insurgence of a cricketing side that went to dominate the world in the next decade.

The next time was in 2003 when I saw Sourav Ganguly determined to make a statement on the Australian scene. If there is anything that I really feel MS Dhoni should imbibe from Sourav is to get that intensity which Sourab has and how to get under the skins of Aussies. Sourav was a champion in that and much like today he thought it was important that India started well in Down Under. And he did. We drew in the series and almost should have won the match at SCG- Steve Waugh's farewell but the umpires had a different story to tell.

Lots of things was happening in Indian cricket. IPL,large merchandise and all. Both the boards realized the importance of Gavaskar- Border trophy which is why you see more matches between the sides. Note that ACB invites team which they feel has got the pulse of the folks going. In the past, it was Lloyd's team.

The series is happening at the moment and India is behind 2-0. I would introspect about the series after the test matches gets over. I'll come up with another memoir then.