One reason why the Indian cricketers are performing well beyond expectations is the warm of the English summer. English weather, like the English people, can be cold and hostlie.
Last year, at almost exactly this time, I was in England, and the weather was equally fair and warm. The sun shone steadily throughout my two weeks' stay there, not a drop of rain, not a single cloud darkened the sky. A priest, who lived in the vicarage next-door, attached to a grey stone church, would go out cycling every afternoon, dressed in a sleeveless vest and shorts, his shoulders, neck and knees lobster red in the heat.
All England was semi-nude, so different from the bustled and celluloid-collared Victorian England that we used to read about. On the beach, externding from Brighton to Hove, there were more red lobsters, sunning in the heat. A van would go along the causeway, renting out beach mattresses.
There were a few wooden kiosks with benches, like our ST bus-stands, along the beach, no doubt put up for use during the winter months. I used them during the summer, sitting inside them and reading the papers.
Cricket was on all over England. At the Sussex cricket ground, where all the great orientals, from Prince Ranjitsinhji to Imran Khan, have played, Englishmen basked in the sun and the stroke-play. Batsmen were having a profitable time, as they have been having this summer.
There was also a lot of county cricket on television, played and commented upon very precisely. The Australians had finished their one-day ready for the Tests.
One day we drove to Oxford to see the great colleges, each one built like a Victoria Terminus. We had always thought of green lawns and meadows and colleges set in the middle of them. They stood in narrow crowded lanes, large edifices hanging over tourists and double-deckers. But in spite of the toruists and the fact that the colleges were closed, there was a distinct academic atmosphere about the place. I think it is a very privileged education and, if there is one right thing in the world that you want to do for your children, I think you should send them to Oxford. Forget UCLA and Harvard.
But it was the summer that dominated everything. And the priest next door cycled on and on, enjoying every minute of it.