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Thursday June 13, 2024

Smith relishes bumper crowd in Ahmedabad

By AFP
March 09, 2023

AHMEDABAD: Stand-in Australia skipper Steve Smith said on Wednesday it would be “pretty special” to play in front of what promises to be a bumper crowd at the world’s largest cricket stadium in India.

The 132,000-capacity Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad will host the fourth and final Test between India and Australia from Thursday.

An unidentified source at the stadium told AFP that more than 100,000 people were expected for the first day of play, a number also widely cited by Australian media.

The current world-record attendance for a day of Test cricket is the more than 91,000 who packed the Melbourne Cricket Ground for an Ashes Test between the hosts and England in 2013.

The stadium source said 20,000 of the tickets were regular sales to fans and the other 80,000 were snapped up by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“It’s a good chance it will be a pretty cool atmosphere,” said the 33-year-old Smith, who is standing in for regular skipper Pat Cummins.

“Lot of guys haven’t seen the stadium before, they all walked in today and it’s huge – it holds 130,000 – if we get somewhere up around that number, it will be unbelievable, the atmosphere.

“We know how loud some of these grounds are over here in India. It will be a really great vibe and atmosphere to be able to play in front of them.”

Modi will attend on Thursday alongside his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese, in what is widely seen as a show of force in his home state of Gujarat.

“I think it is a big day for India here and Australia with the prime minister as well, so for us we will get the formalities out of the way and then when that’s done, it’s about focusing on our game. Simple as that,” added Smith.