| Virender Sehwag watches his teammates practise, from a cart at the SCG on Thursday. (AP)
Sydney: If Team India captain Sourav Ganguly is ‘missing’ being mobbed in the Calcutta manner, he was made to feel at home on Wednesday night as he made his way — with wife Dona and daughter Sana — to the harbour for that breathtaking New Year’s Eve fireworks display.
Given that traffic was stopped in the vicinity of the harbour, Sourav had to walk the 15-minute distance from the team hotel. It was fine for the first few minutes but, on pausing at an intersection, he was surrounded by Indian students. They wouldn’t let him go till a dozen photographs were taken and as many autographs.
Having learnt a ‘lesson’, Sourav didn’t stop till he reached a vantage point, facing the Opera House. But, if he was hoping to be just another face among thousands, he was mistaken.
“Dada, please, chobi hobe'” asked a Bangladeshi and, from seemingly nowhere, a number of other fans (from Dhaka and Sylhet) surfaced. Sourav obliged everybody — only, in doing so, he invited the attention of some Australian teenagers. “Oh, Gangoooly... Mate, I’ll be cheering for you,” shouted one. To ‘counter’ that, though, somebody else screamed “where’s Brett Lee'” As each of them had probably imbibed a bit too much, Sourav didn’t encourage beyond a point. Yet, he made their night by clicking them from his own digital.
It was an excellent tactical move, greeted with cheers: “Gangoooly, Gangoooly...”
The mobbing, however, continued with the next lot being a fresh set of Indian students. And, on the way back — deftly dodging drunkards — Sourav was stopped at least thrice by families of Indian origin. Understandably, a common sentiment was: “You must win at the SCG.”
With the Test series 1-1, the decider begins on Friday.
Back at the hotel, Sourav had one word to describe the experience — “Incredible,” he told The Telegraph.
As for Dona, she was relieved Sana didn’t get intimidated by the huge crowd and the shrieks of those who were having an absolute ball.