Melbourne – To describe the fervent support shown by India’s fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as a cacophony would be somewhat disrespectful.
There was nothing discordant about the sounds reverberating around one of the most famous venues in world cricket. While the noise came from all parts of the ground there was a sense of rhythm and united frenzy to cheer their side on.
The fact that Bangladesh were the opposition meant that there were never any quiet moments and yet it wasn’t enough to drive one crazy.
If ever one needed proof that MS Dhoni was something of a cricketing demigod was clear as he managed to get the crowd to pitch their voices even higher when he came in to bat and then he brought the house down with a fantastic diving catch as his side booked their place in the semifinals.
While the Proteas would have provided this writer with his first experience of the MCG had they managed to top their pool in this same fixture last night, being able to witness the extreme passion displayed by fans from the sub-continent was a decent second.
From the minute you make your way over the bridge running across the train tracks and into the stadium complex you get a serious sense that this sporting precinct means a lot to Australians.
While last night’s 50-odd thousand spectators paled in comparison to the 86 000 who arrived for the India versus South Africa encounter there was enough of a din around the ground to get an idea.
“I’ve been there for an Aussie Rules final with 103 000 people making a racket,” Mervin, the taxi driver who picked this writer up at the airport on Wednesday, said.
“It’s enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up,”
Come March 29 when the two teams who have earned the right to feature in the ICC Cricket World Cup final take to the field you’d expect those in attendance to experience the same feelings.
You don’t even have to be a hardcore cricket fan to appreciate the theater that is the Melbourne Cricket Ground.