BY DEBAJYOTI CHAKRABORTY
KOLKATA, 23 OCTOBER 2022
Tourism Australia has been betting big on the India – Pakistan match for the ICC T20 World Cup match, the 150 odd spectators from Kolkata who have been present at the field today are ecstatic after India’s emphatic win today.
About 20,000 cricket lovers have been expected to visit Australia to witness the ICC T20 World Cup Cricket Championship this year. Indians are amongst the top six visitors to Australia.
Talking to The Travel and Tourism Times, Anil Punjabi, Chairman ( east) of Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) said that this year about 150 people from Kolkata and surrounding areas of the state have visited Australia to witness the ICC T20 World Cup matches.
“ Not only the Indians in the stadium in Australia but the Indians in Kolkata too are celebrating the win of India today. For Indians winning against Pakistan is like winning the World Cup. Though we Indians are looking to lift the World Cup trophy after the final. In Kolkata’s upscale area Park Street also the residents have celebrated with Indian flags, chocolates and drums. For us Diwali has begun a day earlier from today with this win against Pakistan,” said a jubilant Anil Punjabi.
Hitesh Ahuja and Pratim Basak, both from the Park Street area may be missing the city this Diwali, but throughout the day they have been seen shouting for their favourite Indian crickets inside the historic Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia today.
At the end it was a four wicket win for India. “ What more can you want ? The knock of an unbeaten 82 in 53 balls by Virat Kohli reminded us of his vintage form and all we can say is pura paisa wasul,” said Pratim Basak from Melbourne, Australia.
“ With such form we now exprect India will lift the trophy. We have come from such a far away city to cheer for our favourite team in aforeign land and can’t express in words about our feelings after such an epic victory over arch rivals Pakistan,”said Hitesh Ahuja from MCG.
The man of the Match award went to Virat Kohli. Hardik also played well, said happy Indian spectators in Australia .
Cricket is the most popular sport in the world’s second most populous country, India and Tourism Australia have high hopes to revive the tourism in the country through sports tourism because of the ICC T20 World Cup especially after the past two year lull due to covid -19 pandemic outbreaks.
About 4 lakh Indians have visited Australia in 2019. By 2023 Tourism Australia feels that India will be in the top five biggest international markets for inbound tourism.
After the Prudential World Cup win in 1983 by the Kapil Dev and his team, cricket in India has been made even popular after the historic win over arch rivals Imran Khan’s Pakistan in the final of the Benson and Hedges World Championship of Cricket final match in Australia in 1985, in which Ravi Shastri bagged the Audi 100 car becoming the champion of champions.
37 years ago, in MCG , the Colonel of Indian cricket Dilip Vengsarkar took the winning run for India in the final after a blazing knock by openar Krishnamachari Srikanth as India defeated Pakistan by 8 wickets in the final.
“ About 20,000 Indians are expected to visit Australia for the cricket tournament as the championship coincides with the Diwali and school holiday period. It also coincides with the wedding and honeymoon season out of India and with Australia opening its borders for quarantine-free travel,” said Nishant Kashikar, Tourism Australia’s country manager for India.