10 May 2023

One-week jaunt to India was truly unforgettable

| Matt Nicholls
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A WEEK after arriving back in Australia from India and I’m still recovering – mostly from a lack of sleep – but somehow still buzzing.

It was a last-minute decision to make the trip to Indore, which coincidentally was a last-minute choice to host the third Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Writing about it wasn’t even something I’d considered until I realised the amount of interest in my little trip.

“I didn’t even know you were going to India until I saw you were there on Facebook,” was the common response from my friends and family.

The decision to go was made a week before I left and it was really only a result of wanting to tick an item off my bucket list.

Like a lot of Australians (and Indians, for that matter) I love cricket, especially Test cricket.

Over the years I have watched the best teams in the world toil away in the subcontinent, unable to beat India on their home turf.

For Steve Waugh, it was the “final frontier” for his invincible team of the early to mid-2000s.

In my lifetime, Australia has only ever won one Test series in India and that was with a squad that featured eight or nine cricketers worthy of being in the Hall of Fame.

Overseas teams simply do not win in India, a nation that seems obsessed with cricket.

So I had to see it for myself and experience the conditions and culture on offer.

As it turned out, I couldn’t have timed it better.

Indore was the perfect city. Located in central-west India, it has a great ‘boutique’ stadium with legroom that would make any Australian venue envious.

What’s more, Indore is not a tourist city, meaning that for locals, seeing white Australians walk the streets was a novelty.

It’s such a small world that I bumped into Weipa’s Michael Newman on the streets, a bloke who I played a few rounds of golf with back when I was still wielding the sticks.

While there weren’t many Australians in Indore – certainly no more than a hundred – we were made to feel like royalty wherever we went.

I lost track of the number of selfies I was in. Sometimes I felt like they thought I was a cricketer – maybe David Boon without a moustache.

The pitch wasn’t great as the Test finished early on day three, but the result was fantastic.

Great performances with the ball from Nathan Lyon and Test rookie Matthew Kuhnemann were the highlights.

But the roar for Virat Kohli when he strode to the crease or the screams when Jadeja skittled Marnus Labuschagne were just as memorable.

A bucket list item was ticked off but the memories of the cricket will fade.

What won’t be forgotten is the people of Indore and their incredible hospitality.

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