Thousands queue for rare Chennai ODI

Australia's first one-day game in Chennai since 1996 has cricket-mad locals queueing overnight in their thousands for tickets

Thousands of cricket-mad supporters queued overnight on the streets of Chennai to purchase tickets for Australia's ODI series opener against India on Sunday.

As the Australians held their first training session at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday morning, a line of fans outside snaked hundreds of metres around the perimeter of the ground, the passionate locals waiting patiently for tickets to go on sale at 10am local time.

The queue for tickets outside the stadium walls //
The queue for tickets outside the stadium walls //

Those at the front of the queue said they had slept there overnight and had been in line since 6pm the previous evening, with one man telling he was yet to return home since finishing work on Saturday night.

Local food and drink vendors took their chance to earn a few extra rupees, selling bottles of water, fresh fruit and ice cream to the thousands waiting in line as the morning temperatures reached 30 degrees Celsius to add to the 80 per cent humidity.

Unperturbed by the oppressive heat and with the local constabulary keeping order on patrol with plastic lathis (canes) in hand, thousands were soon on their way in possession of tickets within a few hours.

Australia's tour will begin in Chennai // Getty
Australia's tour will begin in Chennai // Getty

The cheapest tickets for what will be just the third ODI in Chennai since 2011 were 1200 rupee (around $23 AUD) while seats in the hospitality boxes were on sale for ten times that amount.

By comparison to the hive of activity outside, the 38,000-capacity Chidambaram Stadium (also known as Chepauk) was eerily quiet as the Australians trained on Sunday. The concrete terrace stand on the eastern side of the ground that sits behind a two-metre high metal fence housed a scattering of white plastic chairs instead of the thousands of fans that will be there on Sunday, while officials sat and watched in the shaded Madras Cricket Club pavilion at the southern end.

Kane Richardson sports the floppy gold at training //
Kane Richardson sports the floppy gold at training //

Australia have won all of their previous four ODIs at the historic venue, which has been hosting cricket for more than a century and is the oldest continuous cricket ground in India. Australia's last triumph here came 21 years ago when Mark Waugh, a selector on this tour, scored a match-winning century in their quarter-final triumph over New Zealand at the 1996 World Cup.

Mark Waugh during his match-winning century against NZ in 1996 // Getty
Mark Waugh during his match-winning century against NZ in 1996 // Getty

While the Australians hold a 100 per cent record in 50-over matches in Chennai, they have won just one of seven Tests here – the lone victory coming on their triumphant 1969 tour under the leadership of Bill Lawry – includeng the famous tie at Chepauk in 1986.

Half of Australia's 14-man squad – Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Adam Zampa, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Marcus Stoinis and Kane Richardson – were put through their paces on Sunday while the other seven members took a day off having arrived from the Test tour of Bangladesh the previous evening.

Leg-spinner Adam Zampa could have a key role to play //
Leg-spinner Adam Zampa could have a key role to play //

The full squad is expected to train on Monday before their only tour match against a local team, understood to be a Board President's XI, at Chepauk on Tuesday.

Australia's Qantas Tour of India

Australia ODI squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Patrick Cummins, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.

Australia T20 squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Jason Behrendorff, Dan Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Patrick Cummins, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa.

India squad (first three ODIs): Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami.

ODI Fixtures

September 17: MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai

September 21: Eden Gardens, Kolkata

September 24: Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore

September 28: M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru

October 1: VCA Stadium, Nagpur

T20 Fixtures

October 1: JSCA International Stadium, Ranchi

October 10: Barsapara Stadium, Guwahati

October 13: Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad