MELBOURNE-THE COMPLETE PACKAGE

Posted on March 20, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized |

India won the Prudential Cup in 1983 beating the mighty West Indies at the home of cricket Lords’. I was only thirteen at the time and the full import of the win by the team led by Kapil Dev did not sink into my brain.But it helped my father convince my mother about the time me and my siblings spent playing cricket.

 

In 1985 when I was busy preparing for the tenth class examinations, that India won the Benson & Hedges World Championship of Cricket at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia. There was no live television to savour the famous victory but the images in the print media where the players covered the ground with the prized Audi won by Ravi Shastri under the night sky light by the floodlights still are fresh in my memory.

 

There was a win at Sharjah where the Indian team won against Pakistan after defending a meagre total due to the great spell of fast bowling of Imran Khan who finished with the figures of 6 wickets for 14 runs.

 

Then Kapil Dev led the Indian team to a famous win over England in the first test at Lords’ with great contribution from Chetan Sharma and Dilip Vengsarkar. With a hundred, Vengsarkar became the first non-English player to score three tons in a row. This win was followed by a win at Headingley where the conditions were supposed to help the home team more.

 

All the grounds in India where my heroes starting with Sunil Gavaskar down to the likes of Virat Kohli are more than cricket grounds. They are like the sacred sites for the religiously inclined- ‘dhams’ as they are known to the Hindus.

 

Then there are the grounds in the Caribbean that have been the stomping grounds of some of the greatest cricketers known to the world.The energy that comes out of the crowds is electric just as the brand of the cricket played by the masters in the maroon cap until a decade ago.

 

There are also grounds in New Zealand, South Africa.and Sri Lanka also are important for having chronicled the great deeds of the Indian players from time to time.The ground at Multan shall always be remembered for the triple hundred of Virender Sehwag and the famous win by team India.

 

The Eden Gardens is one of my favourite cricket grounds and so is the one at Turnbridge Wells where Kapil Dev scored 175 not out during the course of the World Cup in 1983. The interest in Sharjah has diminished with the losses to Pakistan notwithstanding the two great knocks of Sachin Tendulkar versus Australia in consecutive matches to win the Coca Cola Cup.

 

However, for me the Melbourne Cricket Ground or the G as it is now fondly called will remain the go to place for me to visit as part of any cricket holiday. Melbourne is not just home to one of the most famous cricket grounds but also offers a great package as far as any interested traveler is concerned. The G has not only hosted great cricket matches for over 150 years but is also the host to ‘footy’-Australian football. The MCG has also hosted the summer Olympics and the Commonwealth Games in the past.

 

Melbourne is also home to the first tennis major of the year-The Australian Open. The Rod Laver Arena is not far from the MCG. Melbourne has also been the host of the first Formula 1 race of the year. Apart from cricket, there is a lot for the followers of other games and sports to experience in the city of Melbourne.

 

There is the Philip Island Park which houses penguins and is not too far from the city of Melbourne. There are a lot of vineyards that produce quality wine that can accompany any cuisine.

 

There are speciality restaurants from all over the world that speak about the cultural and the racial diversity that is about Australia in general and Melbourne in particular.

 

For me, the greatest cricket holiday destination is undoubtedly Melbourne. There are other places and grounds which are also famous but none can offer the complete package that Melbourne and the G provide.

This is my entry for the blogging initiative from blogmint.com.

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