Will travel for the love of cricket - Hindustan Times

Will travel for the love of cricket

Hindustan Times | By
Feb 18, 2015 04:33 PM IST

Whoever thought cricket is ‘just a game’, should think again! Cricket is religion in our country and Sachin Tendulkar, our God.

Whoever thought cricket is ‘just a game’, should think again! Cricket is religion in our country and Sachin Tendulkar, our God.

Even as World Cup fever grapples the country, Tendulkar’s absence has been felt. However, that has not dampened spirits as supporters worldwide cheered for Team India when they opened their campaign with a win against Pakistan on Sunday.

The erstwhile buzzing Sector 17 which is usually flooded by youngsters and families from in and around the tricity donned a deserted look on Sunday as no soul could think beyond watching the match that particular morning.

A few restaurants and sports bars in the tricity cashed in on the opportunity and stayed open to screen the match on large screens, drawing huge crowds.

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But a few crazy fans went a step, rather a huge step ahead as they caught a flight to Australia to catch all the action as, when and where it is happening.

For Chandigarh resident Navjot Singh, being a fan is nothing less than being at the match venues in Australia.
“A World Cup comes once in four years, if I don’t watch these matches in the stadium what kind of a fan am I,” says Singh who will be spending the next 45 days in Australia, travelling over five cities for the matches.

For the love of beaches

For people who have spent their life in Chandigarh, beaches are an alien concept. Mid-coast and Glenelg beach in Adelaide and City beach in Perth are turning out to be huge hits among the Indian tourists. Not just are these spots scenic, they also offer surfing and power boating opportunities.

“I plan on being in Melbourne for the India-South Africa match. But before that I will be visiting Whitehaven beach and Bondi beach as I have been told these are the best beaches in Australia,” says Nidhi Thakur, 26, a Chandigarh-based IT professional, who arrived in Australia a day after the India-Pakistan encounter owing to her sister’s marriage.

A whimsical treat

Instead of going for the authentic Indian cuisine in Australia, which is available in plenty there, our Chandigarh/Punjabi brethren are going out of their comfort zone and trying out delicacies native to Australia.

“Skeptical at first, me and my friends ordered a crumbed Crocodile tail fillet at a restaurant (The Tjanabi) in Melbourne. It turned out to be way better than our expectations,” says Amit Monga, a Panchkula resident. Amit and his friends intend on spending the entire month in Australia and catching most of the India matches.

Sachin, you are missed!

The ongoing World Cup series is the first one after Sachin Tendulkar retired from cricket and his absence couldn’t be felt less. A number of fans though are feeling the void created by Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement.

“I just got back (from Australia) after watching the India-Pakistan match, but it didn’t feel the same without Sachin Tendulkar,” says Sujeet Jindal, 17, who is preparing for his Class 12 board exams scheduled to begin in a few days.
But the excitement of watching a match live is what is drawing people to the stadiums despite all the expense.

“Even though we have had to shell out a lot on this trip, watching India play in the World Cup is absolutely worth it. The electric atmosphere in the stadium and chants of ‘India India’ doing the round charges us up. This is a much better experience than watching it on a TV,” says Amit Monga.

Want to go to Australia: Here’s how

Although it sounds like a costly affair, going to Australia this World Cup season may not create that big a hole in your pocket, as you think. ICC is offering packages from as low as `4,500 to `16,500. These packages include a match ticket and a one-night stay in the venue city. Some of them even offer a day-long city tour. “We don’t have set packages, but are offering customised packages to fans. The city where they are based, the match they want to watch and if they want to visit an additional city or two for sightseeing are the factors which decide the cost/pricing of the package,” says Kimberly of TUI-ICE, a tour organising company that specialises in destination management.

All the official packages can be found at www.icctravel.net.

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    Abhimanyu Kulkarni is part of the online desk. He calls himself a sports junkie and covers sports events from time to time. He manages the homepage, handles daily news and plans and organises long-term projects. His idea of fun is handling big, breaking news.

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