The Quadrennial Cricket Tournament, the Cricket World Cup, begins in less than a fortnight.
While the tournament officially starts on the 14th of February, the real cricket afitocionado is unlikely to get cricketing action (barring a few group stage games) her money’s worth before the knockout stage, which begins only on 18th March, 2015. This provides ample of scope to satisfy the travel bug in you, while whetting your appetite for the crunch games in the end! Here are a few reasons to travel for the Cricket World Cup:
1. To watch India v Pakistan at the Adelaide Oval
This is the country where India’s streak against Pakistan in world cup matches started as India met Pakistan for the first time in a World Cup encounter in 1992.
Javed Miandad reacting in frustration during India vs Pakistan at the SCG in World Cup, 1992
While the Oval is not as majestic as the MCG, it’s considered to be the most beautiful of all cricket grounds in Australia. The 50000 capacity might be meager as compared to the demand for tickets for the match (the tickets of this match have been the fastest sold of all matches of the World Cup in each round of ticket sales), but 50000 passionate fans is still not a small number. The atmosphere would be nothing short of electrifying! For the cricket fanatic in India or Pakistan, there’s no bigger match than this to attend.
The Don Bradman statue at the Adelaide Oval
While for the cricketing connoisseur, there’s the Bradman Collection at the Adelaide Oval. The Bradman Collection is a world class exhibition dedicated to the Australian legend at the Oval, which also houses the Bradman Statue.
2. To travel to New Zealand at Zero Visa Cost!
Surely your enthusiasm for watching the Cricket World Cup is greater than a Chinese immigrant!!! It’s been reported that certain foreign nationals looking for jobs in New Zealand are taking advantage of the ‘Trans-Tasman Visa arrangement’ put in place by the Australian and New Zealand governments to encourage tourism during the World Cup which allows Holders of most eligible Australian temporary visas can travel to New Zealand without applying for a New Zealand visa (the cost of which is app $150 for an Indian citizen).
A Chinese passport holder apparently bought a ticket costing $20 for the Scotland v Bangladesh match in New Zealand (almost guaranteeing him an entry to the country), which had he obtained a visa fraudulently in China would have cost him up to $21,000!
3. To watch South Africa choke at a World Cup, again!
Melbourne and Sydney are the 2 most popular cities in Australia. Places like the Sydney Opera House, the Bondi Beach, the Sydney Harbour Bridge or the Melbourne City Centre are recognizable even on TV (famous filming locations for Bollywood movies).
If current form holds good, South Africa should play their Quarter final match at either of these cities. One can watch South Africa choke at the knockout stages of the World Cup for the umpteenth time, or be there to see history in the making as South Africa script history by winning their 1st knockout game, apart from visiting these beautiful cosmopolitan cities of Australia.
4. To watch cricket at the most beautiful stadiums
While all the cities where the World Cup matches are going to be played in themselves excellent tourist places, some of the cricket grounds in themselves warrant a visit as tourist spots. The Eden Park in Auckland, the University Oval of Dunedin or the Basin Reserve of Wellington and the MCG, the Adelaide Oval or the SCG are also extremely spectacular and majestic!
Queenstown Cricket Ground, New Zealand
The Queenstown Cricket Club in New Zealand is extremely disappointed for not having been chosen as one of the host grounds of a world cup match. It is counted amongst the top 3 most scenic cricket grounds in the world by most cricket fans, and playing host to a world cup match would have given the tourism industry of the place a major boost!
5. Because you wouldn’t want to miss the first 300 in ODI Cricket!
It’s no hidden secret that Twenty-20 cricket has given a boost to scoring in the fifty-over format. Innovative and fearless hitting along with superior bats and helpful field restrictions has resulted in unprecedented number of 350+ scores in the past 1 year. One can only imagine what the new superstars of the game will accomplish when they decide to shine on the biggest stage of them all!
Superstar batsmen at the World Cup
Fact 1: All 4 double centuries in One day cricket, as well as the most recent two times that the fastest century record has been broken in the past one year have all come against Test Playing nations.
Fact 2: Grounds in New Zealand are amongst the smallest in the world and easy to clear, while boundaries in Australian grounds will also be shorter than a few years ago.
Fact 3: Even a conventional test match batsman like Gary Kirsten scored 188* against the U.A.E. in the 1996 World Cup.
Probable Inference: Players like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, David Warner, AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle (to name a few) would be licking their lips at the prospect of facing bowlers of Scotland, U.A.E., Ireland and Afghanistan.
Prayer: May God be with the Associate nations’ bowling attacks!
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6. Because you might just get to meet Cricket’s Celebrity Fans
While normally you wouldn’t expect celebrities to spend a lot of time watching an entire game of cricket, some of them might just dawn upon the world cup to watch their favourite team in action at the showpiece event of cricket. Especially if they are from Australia or New Zealand and getting to the homeland is an added incentive.
Hugh Jackman is a self-confessed cricket nut, while Daniel Radcliffe is a big fan of Sachin Tendulkar. That Russell Crowe is a cousin of the famous cricketing brothers of New Zealand, Martin and Jeff Crowe is also a well-known fact. Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger even attend test matches at times in the English summer! While they love being clicked with their favourite cricketing superstars, you might also get lucky to have a photo with a Hollywood celebrity if you travel for the World Cup.
7. To make that much coveted Tour of the Middle Earth
For a die-hard Tolkien fan, nothing would provide a greater high than a visit to New Zealand. The Mangaotaki Valley, Matamata and Waitomo Caves are places in northern New Zealand where some of the most memorable scenes of LOTR and the Hobbit series movies have been shot.
And a tour of these places can easily be accommodated between India’s matches at the Hamilton on the 10th of March and in Auckland on the 14th of March (both in the Northern Island of New Zealand) against Ireland and Zimbabwe respectively.
8. To be there when the biggest fans of Cricket Congregate
Are you familiar with the names – Sudhir Kumar Gautam, Chaudhry Abdul Jalil, Luke Gallian and Percy Abeysekera? If you are, then you’re probably a die-hard fan of cricket, for you are aware of even the most ardent fans of the game! While Sudhir Gautam is famous amongst Indian fans as his tickets to India’s matches have been sponsored by Sachin Tendulkar since last many years, Abdul Jalil’s (aka Chacha Cricket) trips have reportedly been sponsored by the PCB itself! Luke Gallian, an Australian cricket fan claims to have travelled to each cricketing nation at least once to watch Australia’s matches. The Sri-Lankan fan, Percy Abeysekera, a septuagenarian now, claims to have watched over 1000 matches live!
It’s unlikely that these super-fans will give cricket’s showpiece event a miss. You might just get a chance to take selfies with these legends of the fan-base!
9. Because you love adventure sports
It’s no secret that New Zealand has some of the most breathtaking sceneries in the world. This has led it to become one of the topmost adventure sports destinations for skydiving, bungee jumping, white water rafting, extreme jet boat riding etc.
The Auckland bridge climb is an exhilarating experience
An added adventure to this list, rarely available elsewhere other than in New Zealand, is the Auckland Bridge Climb. This involves a one-and-a-half hour climb, a feat in itself, to reach the bungy pod to take the jump of 40 meters through the air!
10. Because you simply love cricket!
You’ve grown up or grown old comparing Richards vs Gavaskar vs Border or Kapil vs Imran Khan vs Hadlee vs Botham or Sachin vs Lara vs Ponting vs Kallis. And you’re not still tired of comparing Kohli vs Smith vs ABD vs Williamson. This is a Quadrennial Cricketing Event. This is THE Cricketing Event! The biggest reason of them all to travel to Australia-New Zealand over the next 2 months is that you simply love cricket.
Rhodes runs out Inzamam in a 1992 World Cup match with the “superman dive”
You want to witness the iconic scenes like Jonty Rhode’s diving run-out live. Getting to visit tourist places across these 2 beautiful countries is an added incentive. And you can afford it too now!
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