Ahmedabad has rolled the red carpet out for both India and Australia and the Prime Ministers of the two countries.
PM Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese will watch a few hours of the opening day of the fourth India-Australia Test starting March 9 and the enormous Narendra Modi Stadium is all in readiness, almost, to welcome the two leaders.
The stadium complex is filled with giant hoardings of the two with the punchline “75 Years of FRIENDSHIP THROUGH CRICKET”.
The hoardings also feature former and current cricketing greats of the two countries. Not only are they placed in the corridors, the practice area and other walkways but also find a prime spot in the traditional sightscreen position.
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Preps underway! #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/swtjlatJ5E— Sahil Malhotra (@Sahil_Malhotra1) March 7, 2023
They, however, are not likely to remain there through the game and will most likely come down before the first ball is bowled. If they do retain the position, the ground staff will have to ensure the coat of white during the change of ends.
From the buzz in the corridors, a lap of the ground is also planned on a vintage vehicle. The vehicle was doing some dry runs before Australia commenced their practice in the morning session on Tuesday. Also, the two leaders could be seen in commentary action during the first session of the Test match. No official word on it yet but there is a strong possibility of that happening.
If the cricketers and ground staff were busy with the cricketing side of the matters, there was an army of sorts in place working tirelessly to ensure everything is in order before the two leaders arrive.
#INDvsAUS #BGT2023🔴 Live from Ahmedabad: Here’s How Rohit Sharma Reacted after Seeing Pitch for India-Australia Test
Check all the live updates from Ahmedabad as @Sahil_Malhotra1 brings in EXCLUSIVE coverage from the stadiumhttps://t.co/0o3YuqKAtW
— News18 CricketNext (@cricketnext) March 7, 2023
Carpenters are busy shaping the makeshift platforms and the outdoor publicity team is cashing in on the hotspots of the stadium.
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Even when the Indian cricket team arrived for their practice session, lot of woodwork was underway and boards were being transformed into more publicity billboards. If not outside, but inside the stadium had some buzz regarding the two leader’s presence on the opening day.
“Where will they sit? How will they travel for commentary? Can they do it remotely from where they will be sitting? Is anyone else allowed to sit with them?” One after another, questions came in plenty but answers will only come our way when the moment finally arrives on Thursday.
The security, on expected lines, was tight and there were constant and thorough checks of the entire complex. For some time in the morning, sniffer dogs their magic around the boundary rope and there was certainly a sea of Khakee in the stadium.
At the post-training presser, India head coach Rahul Dravid was asked about distractions if any with so much happening around this fixture and the two top leaders attending the game.
Won’t go too much into it, that’s match referees reading. With WTC points at stake, you look to play on wickets that produce results : Rahul Dravid #INDvAUS @cricketnext #BorderGavaskarTrophy pic.twitter.com/YGljBNhS6a— Sahil Malhotra (@Sahil_Malhotra1) March 7, 2023
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In typical Dravid fashion, the former India captain said there is no distraction whatsoever and insisted that the boys have played in front of large crowds in the past and are professional cricketers. He reiterated that there is no distraction whatsoever in the camp and they are looking forward to the game of cricket.
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