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   Ah, another day of cricket... (January 16, 1986)

Ah, another day of cricket.

I have never watched cricket in Australia (nor been to Australia, for that matter), buti have watched one Test in England, at Lord's, cricket's holiest of holies.

England was playing Pakistan and it was the opening day of the Test. The day itself was one of those fine cricket morning that London occasionally has, crisp and summery, which means, if you are an Indian and have recently come from a warm climate, you wear a cardigan and a jacket, but you do not wear an overcoat and gioves.

I took the underground to Baker Street, then walked through St. John's Wood, foliage on both sides, to the Lord's ground. There were other Englishmen walking to the game, their children alongside, all soberly dressed very much like an England of another age.

There were posters along the way: Follow cricket with Keith Miler in the Express on Johb Woodcock in The Times. And at the gates, there were orderly queues. You had to go in carefully at the turnstiles, one at a time, to record the exact number of people entering, not like at the Congress session at Brabourne Stadium.

Most famous places, though you may be visiting them for the first time in your life, appear familiar because you have heard, read and seen pictures of them hundreds of times. So it was with Lord's it was familiar and yet so new.

There was a man hiring out pillows for Englishmen to sit on, a large tent where bookies were taking bets, a few for the Test progress, but mainly for horse racing around the country. It is one of the great pleasures of living in London, to be able to enter any bucket shop, be furnished with all the information, lay a bet, listen to the commentary or watch the race on TV, collect your winnings and come out.

But this morning was for Lord's. You could sit almost anywhere you liked, walk freely around the entire atmosphere, without bars and fences compartmentalising the different section of the crowds, as at all grounds in India.

I spent the entire day there, watching Mohsin Khan go on to a century, listening to the polite applause of the English, the more vociferous shouting of the Pakistani immigrants, much waving of the green Pakistan flag.

I spent the entire day there, watching Mohsin Khan go on to a century, listening to the polite applause of the English, the more vociferous shouting of the Pakistani immigrants, much waving of the green Pakistani flag.

I ate pork, pies, drank beer at the Tavern's Inn from paper glasses, browsed in the bookshop, looked at the cricket souvenirs (did not buy any, since I am not a souvenirs man), saw Mihir Bose in the press-box.

Next day, I watched the game on television. One day is enough for everything, including Lord's.

 
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