Melbourne, Feb 7: The anticipation for the India-Pakistan cricket World Cup clash next Sunday in Adelaide has been huge among Indian and Pakistani diaspora living Down Under.
While millions would be glued to their television sets to watch the world's greatest cricket rivalry of all time, thousands of Indians and Pakistanis are expected to converge from interstate and globe at the Iconic Adelaide Oval to witness the game. (Saeed Ajmal cleared to bowl)
The tickets of the game were completely sold out within hours after the sale began a few months ago and is expected to pull the largest crowds of the two nations living in Australia at one place.
The 140-year old Oval has been recently redeveloped and the capacity has been increased to over 50,000 with new world class spectator facilities. ('I can do well against Indian batsmen')
Raj Chauhan, who has been selling travel packages in Sydney on behalf of ICC official travel agent, Corporate World Connect, said, "There is an expectation that over 16,000 people are travelling from Sydney alone to see the game."
"There would be thousands travelling from Melbourne and hundreds from Brisbane and other parts too. In Sydney, we have completely sold out the One-night accommodation travel package," he said.
A Melbourne resident Rahul Gupta, who would be travelling to Adelaide by road, said, "I m excited. I have taken off from work and we are a group of eight including my nephew who is coming from New Zealand to see the game. My boss knows that its our World Cup."
In Adelaide, the atmosphere is also heating up with event managers organising pre and after match parties at bars and restaurants for cricket fans.
South Australia Tourism Commission, the apex body to promote tourism in the state, said the game is a real draw card as it will reach an anticipated global television audience of over one billion people.
"We are expecting around 60,000 visitors (interstate and overseas) in Adelaide for the Cricket World Cup (Feb - March time period) and this will bring an estimated 31 million Australian dollars in tourism expenditure," according to STAC officials.
"Adelaide is looking forward to welcoming visitors to the State for the Cricket World Cup, preparations are in full swing and we have India team presentation coming up on Feb 11, to officially welcome the India team."
According to official data, Adelaide has 18,000 beds in the larger hotel sector and a conservative estimate of the total accommodation sector is said to be around 25,000 beds in a 25 km radius of the city.
STAC said that advance bookings made by the spectators and tourists have indicated that occupancy rates will be very high over this second half of February when the World Cup is on. The State Government has also developed a new microsite packed with information for visitors coming to Adelaide for the ICC Cricket World Cup.
'Once in a lifetime opportunity for youngsters'
The microsite will be a one-stop-shop for information, especially for international visitors. "We also ran an initiative called the Dream Team 15 which is a programme that will give a group of young Indian cricketers the opportunity to experience the State's world class cricket facilities as part of Adelaide's 2015 Cricket World Cup program," said the STAC official.
"They are in Adelaide now and will watch the India-Pakistan match post training in South Australia - a once in a lifetime opportunity for the youngsters."
Just days ahead of the match, World cup organisers are now reminding fans that there are no tickets left for the warm-up games - Australia v India at Adelaide Oval on Sunday or for Pakistan v Bangladesh at Blacktown International Sportspark in Sydney and fans who turn up without tickets will not be admitted.
A total of 14 warm-up matches will be played from February 8 to 13. Venues include Adelaide Oval, Hagley Oval in Christchurch, the Sydney Cricket Ground and the Melbourne Cricket Ground, all of which are hosting matches in the tournament proper.