One of Australia's finest wicketkeeper-batsmen, Adam Gilchrist was in Mumbai on Wednesday to promote Western Australia along with Premier Mark McGowan. They spoke to mid-day on the cricket connection to the state which has produced some of the biggest names in Australian cricket. Excerpts:
India and SA clash at Perth in the T20 World Cup on October 24, 2020. How do you think Indians living there would relish a non-India v Australia game?
Gilchrist: An Indian cricket supporter anywhere in the world fully supports the Indian team wherever they play and it will be no different then. There are a significant amount of Indian residents in Perth so there is no doubt that they will come out in good numbers.
McGowan: There is a very big Indian community in Perth — 40,000-plus people so far. The SA community is pretty large too.
How have the purists reacted to the old WACA ground making way for the new Perth Stadium?
Gilchrist: WACA is well and truly still alive and functioning. In February, the WACA will host the Indian women's team in the World T20 and that's another opportunity for cricket fans to enjoy the famous WACA. We needed to increase the capacity for fans. That's where the new world-class stadium comes in — a real jewel in the crown for Western Australia. It hosts not just cricket, but football, rugby and a number of sporting events.
McGowan: WACA is a very traditional [ground] and a lot of people like to go and watch cricket there. This ground has huge historical meaning for many people. You can walk across the bridge and the new stadium is next door. Your best memory of the WACA ground?
Gilchrist: I think when we regained the Ashes in 2006-07 after we lost in 2005.
McGowan: My best memory of WACA is watching Adam play there.
How is the new Perth Stadium special?
Gilchrist: It is a world-class entertainment venue. First and foremost is the comfort for people who come to the game and the seating, the access, food and beverages, in-ground entertainment. The experience complements the game that you are watching. It's a drop-in-pitch and they are going to keep working on trying to replicate what the (bouncy) WACA used to be.
McGowan: A lot more people can come and watch the game at the new stadium. The WACA has a capacity of 15 to 20,000 people while 60,000 people can watch at the ground. So, as a consequence, there's much more excitement.
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