Coming from Maharashtra, where the high court took a stand that no cricket should be played this summer owing to an unprecedented drought situation, the first thing that’s likely to strike you about the ACA-VDCA Stadium in Viskhapatnam the moment you enter is perhaps the obvious abundance of water.
The lush green outfield here – one that most state associations would begin to envy at first sight – looks certainly well attended to. Freshly sprayed water was just about beginning to evaporate under the afternoon sun and the empty stands presented a distinctly pleasant lull when the Mumbai Indians arrived here on Saturday afternoon, the eve of their ‘home’ game against Sunrisers Hyderabad, for a training session.
The very sight of an inviting outfield prompted MI’s fielding coach Jonty Rhodes to take an instant call. He knew he had ample space to set up a grueling session for the players that would last a couple of hours and help figure footspeed and diving techniques. The players too looked game for an extended session.
That’s how it all went on the match-eve for MI while Sunrisers Hyderabad, fresh from their Friday victory over Gujarat Lions back home, relaxed at their sea-facing hotel here and didn’t bother with the practice.
It’s hot in Visakhapatnam, but not terribly humid, despite that it’s a coastal town overlooking the Bay of Bengal. Anyone coming in here from Mumbai would know what a relief that is. And so did the MI bunch who didn’t mind the sun glaring at them. The match against the Sunrisers will be a 4 pm game and Mumbai already seem to be saying ‘no sweat’. Ambati Rayudu is under the weather and may be rested.
Jaspreet Bumrah, the young man who’s taken it upon himself to dish out yorkers for Mumbai, especially in the absence of the more lethal Lasith Malinga, added to words to Mumbai’s steely resolve here in upsetting the Sunrisers applecart here.
“We don’t target individuals. We plan against a team,” said Bumrah, not finding it pertinent that he was asked about the raging form of Hyderabad openers Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner. “A lot of planning goes in how we approach our matches and so far we’ve done well and we look forward to continue,” he added.
It’s peculiar scenario for Mumbai here in Vizag. They’re a side that’s been forced to adopt this city as ‘home’, whereas given the geographical precinct, the city should ideally be home to the visiting Hyderabad team. First the Deccan Chargers, and now Sunrisers, in fact, have been the face of the state of Andhra Pradesh for nine years now in the IPL.
It is to be waited and seen if Vizag will give its new ‘hosts’ a sense of pride. The team that wins the toss here on Sunday is likely to bat second, not only because the outfield looks inviting for those looking to drive, but the wicket too appears a serious belter.
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