When Usain Bolt isn't in Kingston it's a pleasure to meet Sadiki Bolt. Oh, and Johan Blake was in Bombay.
Category: Field reports Page 1 of 4
In the early 2000s I got my first mobile phone. Thanks to a well-placed uncle I was given a choice of number. The first two digits were fixed but I could take anything I wanted for the last three. I chose 375. Then the highest Test score, registered by a wiry West Indian left-hand bat.
At the time no batsman was top of the mind and more inspirational than Brian Charles Lara. The young whippersnapper killed fast bowling with rasping cuts and audacious pulls, but he was equally good against spin.
When KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal were just teenagers hitting the ball for fun, long before they became world beaters.
Richie Benaud, who has been to more Test cricket as a player and commentator than any man yet born, called him the fastest bowler he had ever seen. The rest of the world simply referred to him as The Typhoon.
Frank Holmes Tyson, who played only 17 Tests for England, between the years of 1954 and 1959, was a true Ashes hero. Born in Farnworth, Lancashire, on June 6, 1930 to an employee of the Yorkshire Dyeing Company who would not live long enough to see his son sport the Three Lions England crest, Tyson was unorthodox and frighteningly fast.
At 3pm on a day of spitting rain, the India-New Zealand match at Nottingham was called off without a ball being bowled. Neither team was massively affected as they came into the game without having lost a match. And yet there was plenty of frustration all around.
Speaking soon after the game was called off, R Sridhar, the fielding coach, gave India’s perspective. “Yeah, it is frustrating to wait in the dressing room on a rainy day. It’s a challenge for the players and the support staff to switch down but not really switch off, because the match could start at any time, so keep yourself prepared in the back of the mind,” said Sridhar. “At the same time, not think too much about the game and keep yourself a little busy, reading, some music, or chatting with friends. But we deal with it all the time.”
India were indoors in Friday, rain ruining their morning practice session at The Oval and Australia were just making their way to the capital after getting past West Indies at Trent Bridge. All was quiet on the western front, but you can be sure both teams were already thinking about each other, given how big their encounter is likely to be.
On a weekend, in London, India v Australia. The Oval will be a sea of blue once more, but unlike in Southampton, where there was negligible support for South Africa in the stands, Australia will not be completely blanked out.
“You’re at the wrong ground mate.”
These were the words welcoming an Englishman who walked to his seat in the stands at the Vauxhall end of the Oval Cricket Ground. A group of raucous Indians were trying to put this outsider in his place. “At least you should be wearing an India shirt, because we’re playing against Australia, your enemy.”
The irony that the forefathers of this very English gent, sporting his team’s colours, established this ground back in 1845, and that the first Test in the country was played here in 1880 was clearly lost on the men wearing India’s blue.
The beast that has been lurking around the shires of the United Kingdom awoke and let out a spine-chlling, blood curdling roar in London on Sunday. At the Oval, Australia’s bowlers faced the wrath of the Indian batting line up, one of the scariest of its kind assembled, and try as they might, the “away” team could not overcome either the men in blue or the sea of the same hue in the stands.
When Virat Kohli won the toss and chose to bat first, it was a bold decision. Certainly it appeared to be the right one, but even that needed the batsmen to dig deep, apply themselves and do the job to justify the faith the captain had in his band of batting brothers.
Rohit Sharma, India’s vice-captain, oozed calm and composure when he spoke to the media ahead of India’s match against Australia. Fielding questions that ranged from Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s gloves to who the best batsman in the world was and much between, Rohit played with a straight bat, just as he had against South Africa in India’s tournament opener.
Q. Rohit, firstly, congrats on the hundred. And your record against Australia is very good, but on this ground India has not done very well of late. How do you think of today’s match?
There was brief panic during Australia’s net session at the Oval when a net bowler could not get out of the way of a fierce hit from David Warner. The bowler, a medium pacer, was in his followthrough when the shot hit him on the head. He was immediately attended to by medical staff and was conscious, smiling and said his name.
The bowler, of Indian origin, said his name was Jai Kishan, and was taken to hospital as a precaution. He was expected to remain under observation for 24 hours.