World News – AU – Chants, Roars and Boos – Cricket finds its voice in Sydney


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The chants of « Kohli, Kohli ». The roar when David Warner was given out on review. The celebrations when Aaron Finch and Steven Smith reached hundreds. The almost collective astonishment at Glenn Maxwell’s inverted six. The almighty volume when Virat Kohli was dropped by Adam Zampa. The boos when Indian supporters thought a full throw from Mitchell Starc should have been a no-ball.

When the gates of the SCG opened early on Friday afternoon, for the first time since the 13th. March took part in an international match for men. A few hours later, they came across the Tasman to Eden Park to see New Zealand battle West Indies (and what a ridiculous game it turned out to be). .

There have been crowds in both countries since the middle of the year, as New Zealand and Australia have been instrumental in keeping Covid-19 under control. Spectators have been back to cricket since September when the Australian-New Zealand women’s series had spectators in Brisbane, followed by fans at home cricket.

However, there was a symmetry about Sydney getting there for the men’s internationals first – if only by a few hours and because of Queensland’s U-turn in hosting India – and the volume has not been heard since earlier this year.

More than eight months ago, the doors slammed shut for the international game at this venue when fans were banned from the inaugural ODI between Australia and New Zealand. The floor rattled with the sound of silence (something that has since become much more « normal ») as everyone had their first experiences with social distancing and protocols that would become part of everyday life. The day after, the series was canceled.

So much effort and money has been put into keeping the show on the streets in the past few months. England made it in a full home summer, Pakistan hosted Zimbabwe and in the franchise world both the CPL and IPL were held behind closed doors. The quality of cricket was a testament to the professionalism and drive of the players, with the cut and push of competition helping in part to compensate for the empty, soulless stadiums.

Outside the SCG, the Bharat Army was in full swing hours before the start of the game. The roar as Kohli led India onto the field felt almost deafening – of course, it wasn’t that going from zero to thousands of people had that effect.

When India finally broke the inaugural partnership and successfully looked for an advantage against Warner, 17 sounded. 821 like 50. 000. Towards the end of Australia’s gigantic innings, a Mexican wave swept the floor. Indian supporters enjoyed the opening of Starc over 20; The Australians licked Josh Hazlewood’s three wickets. All of these things could have happened without a crowd, but they were so much better with one.

The crowd also contributed to two poignant moments: Dean Jones’ one minute of silence before the start of the game (he will be honored in greater detail during the Boxing Day Test) than at 4 a.m.. 8:00 p.m. when the game was paused to remember Phillip Hughes – 408 was his test cap – on the sixth anniversary of his death. Finch and Warner took a moment to look up at the sky.

Of course there was a lot that wasn’t quite normal. Last but not least, the speed of security when entering the field as protesters against Adani, an Indian company involved in the controversial coal mining in Queensland, jogged onto the field. No one moved for a moment – the players wondered what was going on – before security finally arrived and led the men away as they tried to keep their distance.

On a more mundane level, QR codes, temperature checks, and reminders of social distance are part of the new experience. The ground has two zones – controlled and uncontrolled – with the players in the former and no mixing between the two. They are not under quarantine, but for them, bubble life goes on.

Hopefully this will work for the rest of the summer. It has been confirmed that viewers can play BBL games in all states and it appears that Adelaide has escaped the risk of having to do the opening test behind closed doors following recent Covid-19 fears in the city.

Melbourne, which went through a 100-day lockdown during a second wave, is expected to turn 25. 000 for Boxing Day Test, though there is a urge to increase it. However, recent comments from Victoria Sports Secretary Martin Pakula warned of how far things have got in a pandemic year.

« I know Cricket Australia and the MCG would like a few more, » he told SEN Radio. « I would rather focus on that . . . The way I see it, it’s been a month or two since the idea that the test was going to take place, the crowd or no crowd looked so out of the way that I’m pretty happy with the fact that we have a Boxing Day test at 25. 000 per day will perform. « 

Then there are the memories of how little it would take to change the best plans. The events in Adelaide a few weeks ago that resulted in players being hastily flown out of the state showed how quickly a situation can change. Across the Tasman, the positive Covid-19 tests on the Pakistani roster and their violations of protocol made the tour nervous.

A warm, sunny afternoon in Sydney with chants of « India, India », glorious strokes, cheers over the runs of Finch, Smith, Dhawan and Pandya and a one day high scoring international was a wonderful day, heartwarming experience. But Australia coach Justin Langer summed it up well earlier in the week.

« We were nervous, we are still nervous, we will be nervous until the last ball of the summer is bowled. We’ll be relieved if we can hopefully get through all summer. « 

One Day International, Australian Men’s Cricket Team, Aaron Finch, India National Cricket Team, Cricket, Steve Smith

World News – AU – Chants, Roars and Boos – Cricket finds his Voice back in Sydney



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