Friday, October 27, 2006

Ooh Aah Indiaaah in Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad is hot. Ahmedabad is alcohol-free (which means it’s only available at high prices from bootleggers). And a full-course Gujarati meal is like a succession of desserts. [Was reminded of Rachel’s beef-spiked trifle in one of the Friends episodes when eating this mutton curry, for example]

But, mainly to avoid making this post read almost identically like my posts from Kuala Lumpur, I’ll try and figure out some good stuff about the place as I go along.

All right…. The revamped Motera is nice. It’s roomy, shaded, has a nice ground and lush outfield and the press box (still under construction) is wonderful, with a fourth floor view of the action, lots of room, lots of water and snacks and – at least during the Champions Trophy matches – filled with old journo friends and wonderful people like the venerable Mario Rodrigues, who has just resigned from The Statesman after 11 years of loyalty.

The distances between places are fine…something that wasn’t the case with Kuala Lumpur at all, and that would be another of the plusses…

But what the heck; the place sucks! It sucks something horrible. Kanpur, Visakhapatnam and now Ahmedabad; places where I would never want to come back to cover anything ever again.

But the similarities between Ahmedabad and KL don’t end there. India played West Indies here as well – yesterday – and lost!!! Wow! Seriously, I hadn’t expected the Indians – especially with the Greg Chappell-Rahul Dravid combine at the helm of affairs – to do so much for me. It was wonderfully moronic batting by everyone, from Sehwag, to Dravid, to Yuvraj to Raina…and some incredibly schoolboyish bowling from Pathan and RP Singh.

I can say this as honestly as possible: average batsman that I was as a kid, I could have played RP and Pathan with consummate ease. I swear. Pace is what I used to be slightly worried about as a kid, and pace is what these two don’t have. Of course, they also don’t have movement or control of line and length, which makes it like a glass of karela juice coming your way – smack is as hard as you can to send it as far away as possible.

So Dravid’s men have spruced up what would have been another unremarkable stopover on my cricket reporting travels. Ooh Aah, Indiaaaah!

PS: No India, no pressure. Therefore, a possibility of going across to the Sabarmati Ashram at some stage today. Should be interesting.