Vishakapatnam is in the grip of cricket fever as the Men in Blue led by Virat Kohli are all set to clash with the Australia team in the first of the two T20s to be played at the ACA-VDCA cricket stadium on Sunday.
The sale of tickets which began some 10 days ago and by Thursday, all the tickets for the stadium of 23,000 capacity have been sold out. The cricket lovers in the city who could not manage a ticket have uploaded their status on social media sites, dubbing them as an ‘unfortunate lot’.
On the other hand, those who have already booked their seats on the stand are eagerly waiting for some ‘memorable actions.’
“I am lucky. One person who had to leave on some assignment saw my post on social media and assured me to give his ticket. I am very excited for the match,” says 16-year-old Ashwin, a budding cricketer from the city.
Another cricket enthusiast, Rahul is sure that the team India will emerge victoriously. “This is the lucky ground for the Men in Blue after all. We have won a number of matches and we will defeat Australia this time too,” he says.
So far, India has played nine ODIs in this ground and registered a win in six matches. In one match, the host team lost to West Indies and tied another. One more match was cancelled. The last match the ACA-VDCA cricket stadium hosted was on October 24 last.
Coming to T20s, two matches were played in this stadium. One match against New Zealand was abandoned due to bad weather in 2012, while in the other held in 2016, India defeated Sri Lanka.
Even as Virat Kohli remains the hot favourite of all, most of the cricket buffs are looking forward to some actions from their all-time hero Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
“Mahi bhai is our hero. We can’t wait to watch his ‘helicopter shot’ which is a nothing short of a visual treat. After all, it is his favourite ground,” says J. Srinivas, an engineering student.
“On April 5, 2005, when India played against Pakistan in this stadium, incidentally the first match played at the stadium, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was propelled to the Number 3 position and he smashed 148 runs in 123 balls, with 15 fours and four sixes.
“In earlier interviews, Mahendra Singh Dhoni has termed this stadium as one of his favourites and we want to see him play here again,” says M. Radhika, a sports physiotherapist.
Preparation in full swing
Meantime, elaborate preparations are going on at the stadium as the fans are already browsing online sites to pick-up Team India T-shirts, caps and national flags. “It is a proud moment to don the jersey of the team India and we have decided carry a 10-feet national flag to the stadium. It is going to be fun,” says Ajay, a district player.