Starry time for families at the MCG

Bonding with the best: Indian and Australian cricketers mingle with localites on Cricket's Family Day

Starry time for families at the MCG

There are a few things about the Australian cricket that you may find fault with. For example, their holier than thou attitude when it comes to gamesmanship.

There are, however, many things that you can’t help but admire them for. Their professionalism and pride shine through in everything they do. The BCCI maybe the richest cricket body in the world but if you see some of the stadia in India, they are barely habitable. Uncomfortable seating, lack of eating and drinking water outlets, poor hygiene… the list can go on and on.

Also, just think of how much stress you have to go through every time you decide to watch an international match in an Indian venue. From a simple task of buying a ticket to finding a seat inside the stadium, one would be left exasperated. The way the security personnel, mostly policemen, greet and treat makes one cringe.

You almost feel short-changed by the experience. There have been some improvements over the years in some of the major grounds but for an organisation that is plush with money for the only reason that the game has millions of passionate followers in the country, the facilities provided are negligible.

The easy accessibility to the venues, the hassle-free security checks, the top-class amenities within the ground for the paying public and above all the welcome-feeling that is radiated are just some of the things here in Australia that we can only dream of having in India.

Another laudable thing about Cricket Australia is their effort to connect with the fans. The constant stream of information during the match and engaging the spectators in some or the other activity when the play is interrupted due to elements just goes on to show how much do they value the support of their fans that are referred to as patrons.

One such endeavour of engaging the public was holding Cricket’s Family Day at ‘G’ (the Melbourne Cricket Ground is simply referred to as the G) on Tuesday prior to the third Test wherein families could come and mix with the players from both sides. The MCG is a gigantic structure whose beauty is only enhanced by the surrounding greenery of the Yarra Park and the river by the same name that flows adjacent to the iconic venue. It’s here that the Boxing Day Test, one of the major annual summer sporting events for the Australians, starts on December 26.

A large crowd, mostly made up of parents and kids from toddlers to teens, had gathered well before the Indian and the Australian players arrived at the designated venue. And they had a variety of free activities including carnival rides, in2CRICKETgames and T20 Blast activities. There were also roving entertainers and fans also had an opportunity to have a photo taken with the ICC Cricket World Cup trophy.

To top it all, those attending also had a chance to explore the cricket viewing rooms and to sit in the same seats as the Australian cricketers do during a match. The highlight of the day for them, though, was getting an opportunity to meet almost all the players from both teams.

“Boxing Day Test is a special match,” Virat Kohli told the gathering. “I was part of it the last time here and I am really looking forward to the day now. I hope the crowd comes in larger numbers and supports us,” he said referring to the large expat Indian population there.

MS Dhoni led the Indian team into the zone where the fans had been waiting just behind a line of barricades. The selfies were shot, the autographs were taken, a few pleasantries were exchanged and their day was made. Some exhorted India to beat Australia in the third Test while a young girl screamed at Kohli, “Virat you are my favourite,” leaving the cricketer blushing.

At the end of the day, everyone went home with his or her own piece of a pleasant memory.
DH News Service

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