Nothing like India touring England to get me back to my cricket loving best. The greenest of grounds, general halla bol among the overwhelming Karan Johar-watching Bhangra-dancing desi crowd, & a team that I love to see ground to dust. It is also Sourav Ganguly’s last series in England. Back in June 1996 when he made his debut century at Lords, I was at the Hotel Rajhans in Surajkund outside New Delhi starting my induction program at my first company. Sourav was a year junior to me at St. Xavier’s in Calcutta, & I was telling my roommate how he was now playing at Lords & I was trying to avoid dozing off at the conference room the next morning. I really want him to succeed, at least to prove that us old timers have some dum left in us.
The other thing I love about India in Enland is the excellent quality of journalism. The English papers have great writers (Mike Selvey, Derek Pringle, Christopher Martin-Jenkins et al) & they for some reason feel India is even worse than England. And they mostly hate Sourav. Mike Selvey has already got in to my bad books with this verdict on our team in The Guardian yesterday:
“… Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman … are starting to look long on aesthetics and shorter on substance. Tendulkar’s record against England is awesome but dismal at Lord’s, Ganguly has not scored a century of any consequence since he made 144 against Australia in Brisbane four years ago, while Laxman has become an old flirt, titillating but reluctant to go further these days.”
Please remind them how it was in Australia a few months back…