Adelaide: South Australia's most famous food and wine city, Adelaide, is ironically hungry and high on cricket. And why not? After all, it's not just any cricket — it's World Cup cricket and secondly, and most importantly, it's cricket's greatest rivalry — an India-Pakistan encounter slated a day after Valentine's Day.
Pakistani fans cheer before Pakistan's match against England in a one-day international World Cup warm-up cricket match at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Pic/AFP
Again, the irony is unmissable as all celebrations of love will begin and end a day earlier. On Feb 15, there won't be any trace of romance at the Adelaide Oval — not among the players and never among the ever-so-passionate fans.
Adelaide airport has already geared up for the influx of passengers across the next 48 hours. An immigration officer informed this correspondent that they have been instructed to go easy on cricket enthusiasts. Ditto the quarantine officers, who otherwise sensitise each and every piece of baggage for biological contamination.
Cricket truly has cleansed all rules and regulations to an extent here. "Normally, we ask most passengers to open their bags to check for stuff like medicines, soiled clothes and shoes, food items, etc to ensure that no contamination of any sort enters Australian borders. But this time (for the ICC World Cup) we have been told to be that wee bit lenient. It's not that we will let rubbish pass through, but we have just altered our procedure a little.
"For the next three-four days, we will only have our sniffer dogs screen passengers and their bags from the outside, rather than opening most bags. Only if there is something uncertain, will we ask the passenger to open up," revealed one quarantine official, who did not wish to be named for security purposes.
A few steps ahead, a small stall is busy handing out the ICC World Cup schedule to anyone and everyone who cares to flash a smile. "We've got some thousand-odd brochures and schedules printed. We're expecting hordes of fans across the next two days," said Judith Mayers, who is manning the stall.
"Welcome to Bradmanland," she yelled as a couple of Indian cricket fans approached the stall. "Besides the historic Adelaide Oval, you must also try and take time off to go to Kensington Park, where the Don of cricket breathed his last," she added as raised eyebrows and nodding heads greeted her suggestion.