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   One unusual aspect of the present Test series... (August 28, 1990)

One unusual aspect of the present Test series againt England – alas, concluding today – is that it has been played on radio and not on TV. At least, for those for us in India.

It has had its advantages and disadvantages. The advantages include listening to the BBC Radio 3 team (is it Radi3, I hope), and its team of those amazing articulate ad-libbers, Brian Johnston, Christopher Martin-Jeankins, and a surprisingly improved Farokh Engineer. Plus, the pleasant atmoshere of afternoon teas and chocolate cakes being sent to the commentary box:

The disadvantages, naturally, include the lack of the picutre. No visuals of Azahruddin despatching the ball to the square-leg boundry with a flick of his wrists, and young Tendulkar, padded and helmeted and peering through his face guard.

Still, if we did not have TV, se had to be thankful that the radio was there, and not a radio manned by Narottam Puri and friends. And it was kind of AIR to locally relay it, though with several interuptions for news in Sindhi and Hindi and English.

During Test match days, and they have been happening at the rate of five days per week, with not a day washed out because of rains, my practice has been to rush home from work and switch on the radio. Before the current Test series, I do not recall when was the last time I switched on the radio.

Normally, I would – to use Richie Benaud's language – pick up the game shortly after lunch (their lunch, four and a half hours behind, not ours). Gooch would by then be plodding on to another century, the thorough English pronot value. And I would continue through the evening (our evening four and a half hours ahead, not theirs), through the tea and cakes time, the various news relay, giving the same news in different languages, to end of play.

The vigil will end tonight, when the series will end and India will return home – defeated, and only 50 per cent, dishonoured (the 50 per cent taken up by the bowlers).

Then I will be sociable again. For, though they say it is TV that makes you anti-social radio does the same thing.

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