#INDvAUS: Maiden Test grounds bowls this man over

Since first witnessing a Test match in Jamaica in 1994, Danny Byrne has visited 32 new venues across the globe, and 71 in all

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#INDvAUS: Maiden Test grounds bowls this man over
Danny Byrne at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune

Cricket fans come in various forms, shapes and sizes. Think of the Sachin Tendulkar fan Sudhir Gautam, the famous Chacha Cricket of Pakistan, or the millions around the world who pierce bodies, print tattoos or paint the name of their favourite cricketing stars on their bodies.

But Danny Byrne is different. The 56-year-old Englishman has his love for grounds hosting Test cricket for the first time.

Since 1994, Byrne has made it a point to visit every venue around the world that hosts its maiden Test match – except for the ones in Bangladesh -- and is currently watching the India-Australia encounter at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium here for the same reason.

Such is the man's passion that he was in Hyderabad a couple of weeks ago to watch India's one-off Test against Bangladesh, flew to London and came back to Pune. He is again flying back to London after this game and is returning for the third and fourth Test against the Aussies in Ranchi and Dharamshala, respectively, just because the two cities are getting off the mark in Test cricket.

"I just have a deep interest of seeing Test cricket in as many new grounds as possible," Byrne told DNA on Friday, with one eye on the action. "Ever since I watched a Test on a ground hosting it for the first time, my curiosity of visiting new Test centres across the world just grew with each passing Test," he adds.

Since first witnessing a Test match in Jamaica in 1994, Byrne has visited 32 new venues across the globe, and 71 in all.

He also carries a scoresheet in every game that he attends, and has a record of the scores of every Test he has witnessed. It's a passion for which you'd need a lot of sacrifice, especially for someone who works in a park in London called Hampstead Heath. But Byrne lives alone, and puts all his saving into this fascination of his.

"I book the cheapest flights, I stay in budget hotels, I don't mind travelling in trains locally. People like to spend their money in certain ways. I like to spend mine doing this," he says.

Byrne lists the Newlands Cricket Ground in South Africa as his favourite cricket ground, but reckons Himachal Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamshala might pip it when he goes there next month. "That one might just be the best. I've heard a lot about it," he says.

His list of the worst includes Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad followed by Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad. But he's sure there are going to be more additions to the list in the coming years.

"I want to keep seeing more Test centres around the world. I'm 56, but I will do this as long as I can travel," Byrne says, as he goes back to his scoring.

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