The belief that only a person who can see can play cricket was changed in 1922, when two blind workers of a Melbourne factory played cricket with tins filled with rocks. This game used the concept of sound to help locate balls and pioneered the establishment of Victorian Blind Cricket Association. The world’s first cricket ground for the blind was built exclusively in 1928 at Kooyong, Melbourne. In September 1996, in New Delhi during an international meeting, need for promoting cricket for the blind was discussed, and World Blind Cricket Council was founded. In November 1998 the first Blind Cricket World Cup was held in New Delhi. A couple of years later in 2007, Vision Australia’s 29th National Blind Cricket Championship took place in Melbourne. Though no blind players took a flight from New Delhi to Melbourne, the rules for the game were same. The cricket ball was however larger than the standard ball and filled with ball bearings, to help both partially sighted and blind players to recognize the ball. Similarly, wickets were slightly larger. Umpires still use verbal signals and the bowler shouts ‘play’ before releasing the ball.
Shikhar Dhawan, a popular Indian cricketer, was born in New Delhi and played for the Delhi squad and Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premiere League. He later married Melbourne-based Ayesha Mukherjee, a half-Bengali, half-British amateur boxer. Mukherjee already had two daughters from her previous marriage and in early 2014, she had a boy with Dhawan and named him Zoravar. Undoubtedly the couple takes frequent flights between New Delhi and Melbourne. Meanwhile, Australian cricketer, Aaron James Finch, who plays for Melbourne Renegades as captain and for Australian National Cricket team as T20 captain, represents Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League. Andrew Barry McDonald, a former Australian Test cricketer also played for Delhi Daredevils and scored well. Delhi Daredevils was coached by Gregory Shipperd, an Australian first-class cricketer, who was also coach to Melbourne Stars.
Shiamak Davar, an Indian choreographer brought contemporary jazz and western dance forms to India. He played a role in modernizing India’s movie and theatre dancing styles by introducing western dance form. He is known for his ever-evolving and popular Shiamak Style of Dance. In 2011 he choreographed dance sequences for Mission Impossible 4. Shiamak has shared the stage with performers such as Sting, Bryan Adams and Eddie Grant Davar. He choreographed for Hollywood stars John Travolta and Kevin Spacey and himself acted and choreographed in Little Ziziou. As choreography director for both New Delhi and Melbourne Commonwealth Games, he often had to take a flight from New Delhi to Melbourne. Former American President, Bill Clinton, was so pleased with Davar’s dance style, that he praised and said: “The world must see this.”
Randeep Hooda, an Indian film actor, is best known for his performance in movies such as Highway and Sarbjit, (nominated in the ‘long list’ at the Oscars). Hooda studied in Delhi Public School and then took a flight from New Delhi to Melbourne to pursue his postgraduate degree in Human Resource Management. His Bollywood debut Monsoon Wedding in 2001, brought him lots of praise and fame. There was no looking back after that. He acted in several Bollywood blockbusters such as Once Upon a Time in Mumbai, Jannat 2, Kick and Rang Rasiya. Hooda is also a professional equestrian who regularly participates in polo, show jumping and dressage events. He won a silver medal at an open dressage event in New Delhi organized by the Equestrian Federation of India.
Indian shooter Tejaswini Sawant, tasted great success in both New Delhi and Melbourne, participating in the Commonwealth games many times in both cities. At Melbourne she won two gold medals, while at New Delhi she settled for two silver and one bronze medal. Both cities were indeed lucky for her. Another ace Indian shooter Gagan Narang who won a medal at the London Olympics shares a great connection with Melbourne and New Delhi. He must have taken a flight from New Delhi to Melbourne to participate in the Commonwealth Games held in the two cities. In his shooting career, he won 8 gold medals, all of which are won either in New Delhi or Melbourne. Each city gave him 4 gold medals each.
Melbourne and New Delhi entered a strategic engagement as sister cities, formally acknowledged in 2008 by National Capital Territory Government of New Delhi. This alliance helped in expanding trade and cultural relationship between these two flourishing metropolis. Even now these sister cities are pursuing opportunities in sustainable urban design and development and clean technologies along the lines of ‘100 Smart Cities’ initiative. Indian delegates from eight public and private sector organizations had to take a flight from New Delhi to Melbourne in May 2015 to participate in a program themed ‘City design and urban planning.’