Chandigarh: The Australian cricket team, here to play the third Test against India in Mohali March 14-18, are having a ball.
Most of the Aussie cricketers have arrived here with their wives or girlfriends and are making full use of their free time by shopping at the commercial hub in Sector 17, playing golf at the Chandigarh golf club, visiting the Chattbir zoo (15 km from here) and playing basketball in the court of a private school in Sector 26.
David Warner, Glenn Maxwell and coach Mickey Arthur, among others, were seen playing golf while Mathew Wade and Peter Siddle preferred playing basketball. Ed Cowan and Xavier Doherty spent time shopping with their families. All this while, however, the players avoided talking to the media.
"We have two days to relax so the players are making full use of their time in visiting Chandigarh as we have heard a lot about this city. I preferred playing golf as it sharpens the reflexes," said one of the players.
Another player, on condition of anonymity, said: "Climatic conditions are totally different in Chandigarh at this point of the year from what we had back home. That is why most of the players are adapting themselves by indulging in various outdoor activities."
The team had arrived here March 7 and the players were resting till March 9. Skipper Michael Clarke took a day off in between to visit Taj Mahal in Agra with his wife.
"This is a tough series and India are giving us good competition. We are looking forward to bouncing back by winning the next two matches to level this series," said Clarke, while talking to reporters in Chandigarh.
However, dozens of cricket fans, especially youngsters, were seen following the players for autographs and photographs.
"I am coming to the hotel's coffee shop everyday to see my favourite players. I also went to Sector 17 market and then to the golf club. I finally managed to get myself clicked with a bunch of them," said Raghu Mehta, an engineering student.
Mansi Sayal, a fashion designing student, said: "It was a big surprise when I saw two Aussie players standing just next to me in a sports goods store in Sector 17. They were very courteous, gave autographs and got clicked with me and my family members."
Chandigarh police have made elaborate security arrangements for the players to avoid any untoward incident. Special escort vehicles are being provided to the players whenever they go out of the hotel.
The team started practising at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) grounds in Mohali Sunday.