The excitement ahead of the first India-New Zealand Twenty20 International in the port city of Visakhapatnam is palpable as you touch down at the Indira Gandhi Airport. Two of the commentators on duty for the game on Saturday (September 8 ) are pleasantly surprised at the number of people wanting pictures with them. They are instantly drawn to the warmth and recognition that makes covering cricket in smaller towns a rich experience.
As we hit the highway towards the YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Stadium, a good 20 kilometres away from the city centre, hoardings of the Indian team along the road as the stadium approaches can't be missed. But the one that attracts attention in a split second is a big banner just outside the stadium that reads 'Welcome back, Yuvi'. The build-up towards the game has reached fever pitch, given that Yuvraj Singh is expected to make his comeback to the Indian team following his successful battle against cancer.
"Tickets were originally supposed to go on sale on Wednesday, but we were flooded with queries after India won the Bangalore Test. "Hence we had to advance the sale of tickets by a day," said an Andhra Cricket Association Official. "Yuvraj's return has generated tremendous interest. Everyone wants to see him play. The demand for tickets has been phenomenal."