Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Going Dutch

Just under an hour from the start of England's first match with the Netherlands in the cricket World Cup here in Nagpur and the omens are not good. For a start, we have just had the first - and I suspect not the last - power cut of the day.

Furthermore, if the scenario that the local scoreboard operators have chosen for their equipment check is right, England are about to make a disastrous start to the tournament. The scoreboard opposite has the Netherlands six without loss, chasing a target of only 52 to win.

I had a surreal experience last night as I sat in a bar between Mike Atherton and Ravi Shastri as they debated, calmly in Athers' case, loudly in Shastri's, how much of a softy Sourav Ganguly is. The Prince of Kolkata has a way of carrying himself that manages to rub his team-mates up the wrong way.

Shastri related an argument he once had with Ganguly, who he felt was unwilling to train as hard as the others. "You should listen to me," Shastri said. "You may be captain of India, but I opened the batting for India."

Speaking of captains, I was surprised to see that Times Now, an Indian TV channel, in an advert introducing its commentators billed Mike Gatting as "England's greatest captain". OK, so he won the Ashes in 1986-87, but they were the only two Tests he won in 23 matches in charge. Surely a Strauss, Vaughan, Hutton, Illingworth or Brearley would have greater claim on the title.

The man from The Sun provided the answer. "It's an Indian channel," he said. "They're still delighted that Gatt stood up to the Pakistanis over the Shakoor Rana affair."

7 comments:

BenS said...

"I sat in a bar between Mike Atherton and Ravi Shastri"

I can only imagine how much you enjoyed writing that.

Paddy said...

I know, shameless. Atherton even bought me a glass of wine. Shastri didn't.

Paddy said...

Just wait until you find yourself at a lawyers' cocktail reception sandwiched between Mr Clifford and Mr Chance, Ben. Bet you'll be telling the world then...

BenS said...

Messrs Clifford and Chance have long since shuffled off and I would be very discrete in announcing to the world that my social life involved drinking with lawyers!

David said...

Please give us some more details about what they said about Ganguly. I'm fascinated by him, he just seems so unlike any other player.

SouthernWaratah said...

I thought it was the start of a joke...

Very jealous I'm no there, I'd at least try to buy you a pint...

Paddy said...

Sorry for delay in replying to your comment, David. I suppose some of their comments about Ganguly should stay private as it was just a bar-room chat, but it was interesting to hear them talk about Ganguly's rather selfish approach to batting. Athers played with him in a charity match in which Ganguly came out with ten overs remaining and made 17 not out, wicket-preservation being his sole motivation. He also denied the story that Ganguly once asked him to carry his jumper for him, saying he was going off the field anyway and had offered... They both agreed Ganguly didn't like training much.