2015 Cricket World Cup: Adelaide thrilled to host India-Pakistan

Updated: 18 August 2014 15:10 IST

A generation on, the developed Adelaide Oval will play host to another India-Pakistan contest, the first for both teams at the 2015 World Cup. This time, the TV audience alone will be over a billion, with thousands more journeying to South Australia to witness a rivalry as intense as they come.

India and Pakistan first met in a World Cup game at the Sydney Cricket Ground back in 1992. Sachin Tendulkar, then just 18, was Man of the Match as India won by 54 runs, but Pakistan would have the last laugh - lifting the trophy with victory over England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground weeks later.

A generation on, the developed Adelaide Oval will play host to another India-Pakistan contest, the first for both teams at the 2015 World Cup. This time, the TV audience alone will be over a billion, with thousands more journeying to South Australia to witness a rivalry as intense as they come.

"We had a visit to India last year, and we made a strategic decision to target this for our first game," said Jay Weatherill, the Premier of South Australia, in an interview with Wisden India. "It's very pleasing that we've been able to achieve it.

"We had some good meetings with the Board of Control for Cricket in India, and we were able to persuade them that this would be a good decision for Indian cricket."

The Adelaide Oval was long renowned as one of the game's most picturesque and atmospheric venues, and the decision to make it a 50,000-seater that would host AFL football as well was the subject of heated debate. The refurbishment will cost the state exchequer in the region of half a billion dollars, and Weatherill admitted that it had been a tough call to take.

"It was a very big decision for us as a state to make," he said. "It is a much-loved sporting venue. There were concerns from those who love the ground that we might lose something as a result of the upgrade. But now people are realising that not only have we upgraded the ground, but we've kept everything people love about it.

"We've preserved the beautiful grassed hill area, and we've got the Moreton Bay fig trees that are the backdrop to that. You also have the historic old scoreboard and the view of the Cathedral. A lot of care was taken to preserve the integrity of the facades, and the look and feel of the Oval as a whole. It's a beautiful piece of architecture and it's added a whole new aspect, a view back over the Torrens River and the city that wasn't there before."

The demand for tickets from the subcontinent is likely to far outstrip capacity, but the administration is confident that those that miss out will still enjoy a memorable experience. "We have a large plaza near the Oval, and I'm sure arrangements will be made for fans to watch there as well," said Weatherill. "We also want to stress Adelaide's cricket history. It was after all home to Sir Donald Bradman, the greatest cricketer of all."

Australian sport is no stranger to titanic tussles. The New South Wales-Victoria rivalry is as old as the Ashes, and rugby league's State of Origin clashes are passionately followed in Queensland and New South Wales. India-Pakistan, even if a one-off, will provide an altogether different flavor.

"It's one of the greatest rivalries in world sport and we're so thrilled to be hosting it," said Weatherill. "We want to reveal Adelaide and South Australia to the world and what better way than through cricket, which is a shared cultural language."

Topics : Cricket Sachin Tendulkar World Cup 2015 Adelaide Oval, Adelaide Pakistan India
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