Thatscricket - Wish your star

Published: Friday, September 20, 2002, 17:27 [IST]
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Sydney: One plucky cricket fan aptly demonstrated just how obsessive the tribe can be after quarantine officials said on Friday they had unearthed parcels containing turf from Lord's cricket ground destined for two Sydney homes.

Two packages, complete with certificates of authenticity and filled with the hallowed turf from the outfield at Lord's in London, recently arrived at Sydney's international mail centre marked as "sporting (cricket) goods". Quarantine inspectors, a few avid cricketers among them, were forced to abide by their consciences and confiscate the precious, but potentially dangerous, earth. The turf was replaced with a note stating that such goods, no matter how coveted, could not be imported in to Australia. The unidentified addressees will be given the opportunity to send the turf back to England. "They were quite excited and I think might have been in two minds, but they know how dangerous it can be," quarantine service spokeswoman Gabby Russell said of the inspectors who opened the parcels. Lord's is the most famous cricket ground in the world and is a well-worn trail of pilgrimage made by many an Aussie backpacker. Lord's officials earlier this month invited fans to claim their own piece of history when the ground's grassy outfield was dug up to be replaced with a better draining class of turf, the Lord's website said. Australia maintains one of the world's strictest quarantine regimes to protect its plants, livestock and wildlife from pests and disease.

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