G Whiz!

The joys of seeing a Boxing Day Test at the MCG for the first time

My ticket to Boxing Day action.


IT ALL HAPPENS AT THE ‘G’


Back in Melbourne they affectionately call it “The G”. I can’t understand why such a big ground should have such a small name.

The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is monstrously large, but exceedingly pretty. It’s exteriors are almost as majestic as the insides.

We had made this plan back in 2005: Indra Modak, Andrew Corcoran and I would see the first day of the 2010 Boxing Day Test at the MCG. In May 2010 Indra suddenly called me one morning: “Heck, I hadn’t realized that it would be an Ashes test. I’ll have to make the booking really early!”

EXCITEMENT MOUNTS

After the Brisbane draw, and the Adelaide defeat, Australia’s Ashes prospects looked dim. But the Perth win changed all that. Melbourne was again abuzz with Ashes fever. (Although, looking back, I am now a little puzzled. How could this Aussie Test side win anything? Was there a hand of God somewhere?)

On Christmas we were scanning weather predictions. The forecast said ‘Cloudy with a few showers’. I was worried, but Andrew seemed unperturbed. “We might lose some play, but they can dry the MCG completely in 15 minutes even after a heavy shower,” he said.

We were staying about 15 km from The G and decided to take the local train to the ground. The compartment was packed with cricket fans. Andrew remarked that he had never been in such a crowded train before. I invited him to visit India and take the 9.15 am local to Churchgate.

THAT OVERWHELMING FORCE

We had to walk the last kilometer to reach the ground and made our way across lush green grass. “We’ve finally had good rains this year, that’s why the grass looks so much nicer”, Andrew told us. From all possible corners a sea of humanity seemed to be hurriedly making its way to the MCG. Andrew wondered why everyone was rushing. “Every seat is numbered”, he reminded us.

As someone more familiar with crowd frenzy I knew why people were rushing. An overwhelming force overtakes you when you are in the vicinity of a cricket ground. You want to be inside immediately; you can’t wait to behold the wondrously beautiful sight of the oval green.

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