Tour:48 Mumbai When: Feb-Mar 2023 - 8 Nights Hotel: Taj Mahal Tower - TBC Venue: 2.3km From Hotel Per Person: Twin A$2000 | Single A$2900 Deposit:A$10 Book:NOW Visit:Mumbai Tourism
Australian Cricket In Mumbai (Bombay)
We love Mumbai. Big. Bold. Brash. Without a doubt one of the great cities of the world, more so when married with Test Cricket at Wankhede Stadium and the chance to perform in a Bollywood flop! No matter what your ultimate reason for visiting India is, you must include Mumbai.
Surprisingly, Australia last played Test Cricket here in 2004, when Michael Clarke came home with career-best bowling figures of 6-9, and Australia was bowled out for 93 chasing 107 to win. The Test ended on Day 3 after a total of just 201 overs, including only 11 overs on Day 1 thanks to rain. Justin Langer said to me the next day, "Clarkey got 6 for 9! If he can do that, there's something very wrong with the pitch!"
Not having sat in the 'Sachin Tendulkar Stand' since 2004, we can only hope the pitch has improved by the time we next play. It's more wishful than fact. Like every visiting Test Cricket Nation plays at Lord's Cricket Ground, London, every Australian Test Cricket Tour to India should include Mumbai (and Kolkata). Two big teams playing on the two biggest stages in the game's biggest nation. They go hand in hand. Instead, in 2017, Australia played maiden Tests of Pune, Dharamsala, and Ranchi of all places.
BBCI Marketing got it wrong then and we hope they don't make that same mistake next time and instead we find ourselves immersed in Mumbai and a few quick-singles through the covers from a whopping 13million Indians. Unbelievably, despite the size of the city, Wankhede Stadium only holds 33,000, thus the full whack of a packed stadium should hit you every day, as it does on the street.
Colaba is the big tourist area of Mumbai, with our hotel opposite the Gateway to India. The giant Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) that attracts Indian Railways from all over the country and the suburban rail terminus of Churchgate Station are both just up the road. As such, this area of Mumbai is flooded with people, commerce, people, opportunity, people, cows, people, cars, people, cricket, people, and unique photos of India, which usually include people.
In the restaurants, cafes, shops, and bars hiding behind the market stalls that line frenetic Colaba Causeway are where you can be talent-spotted to perform in Bollywood. Thus, have your Bent Banani ironed and thongs polished for you never know whose eye you will catch as you swagger down the causeway because one thing you won't do in this neck of the woods is catch a rickshaw.
Rickshaws are not allowed into Colaba so instead of a taxi, beat the traffic with an early morning walk to the game past Grade-1 heritage-listed Oval Maidan. This 90,000 sqm field is lined on one side with stunning Victorian Gothic, UNESCO certified art-deco on the other, and in between an impossible-to-count number of cricket matches. After play at Wankhede, you can stop for hours to watch the never-to-be-discovered Indian cricket superstars as the sunsets on the spectacular Bombay High Court that towers over the Maidan.
Keeping it real, after play you should consider taking a train 4 stops from Churchgate to Mahalaxmi to see the giant outdoor laundry (dhobi ghat), best seen from the Mahalaxmi Station Bridge Viewing Platform. And like visiting the laundry, because you get yourself to and from the game, after the day's play is a great time to do a spot of walking, especially when it's cooler.
One direction will take you past Flora Fountain to the clustered mayhem around Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. The other direction is a soothing 2km walk along Marine Drive to the snack sellers and cricket on Chowpatty Beach, a super-popular late-afternoon hangout for Mumbaiites.
When preparing to play in Mumbai, although there are good hotels on or around Marine Drive, closer to Wankhede, the dynamic tourist-hub of Colaba has a much broader hotel and entertainment choice to match our demand; even if it takes a bit longer to walk to the game. In a perfect cricket world, we'd stay on Juhu ('dew') beach near 'Beautiful Bandra' where Bollywood starlets, supermodels, and savours of financial success live in India's most glamourous neighbourhood.
Sadly, Juhu is 24km from Wankhede and though taking the early morning commuter trains into Churchgate is an incredible experience, living that far from the game is not on our radar. That said, it is under 'final approach' to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport so getting to and from India is far less taxing when staying in Juhu. But we won't stay there and you won't have to worry about getting from the airport either, no matter what time after dark you arrive.
Our hotel will collect you from the airport and zip you through the chicanes for 8 luscious nights in South Mumbai. The game starts at 9.30 am so you need to be up super-early for the smashing Indian breakfast. This is included along with 2 rooftop dinner parties, awesome floral shirts, shade all day at the cricket, and rocking nights in classic Mumbai bars and pubs, crammed cheek-by-jowl with Indian style & amazement. Enjoy all this and more when you join us in Mumbai and Wankhede Stadium, cricket's 48th Test Venue!