Brexit may have been the main focus as former British Prime Minister David Cameron arrived for interaction at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit on Saturday, but with an India versus England Test series on, can cricket be far away?
Cameron’s opening remarks were laced with reference to the series, which is turning out to be one-sided after starting with a high-scoring draw in the first Test in Rajkot. India won in Visakhapatnam by 246 runs and in Mohali by eight wickets.
Referring to the two countries’ shared love for cricket, he pointed to the plight of Alastair Cook’s team, which is in Dubai on a break before the fourth Test starting in Mumbai on December 8.
With Sachin Tendulkar due to attend the summit, Cameron said: “I hear the Little Master is going to be here later. Given the way the Test series is going, we may have to kidnap him for some extra tuition and training.”
Cameron was ending his interaction when the very last question on England’s struggle came --- why does the England team, now trailing the five-Test series 2-0, suck?
“I don’t accept that for a minute,” he countered, pointing out that India were the No 1 ranked Test team in the world and England the next best.
Cameron praised Joe Root, the team’s main batsman, and skipper Alastair Cook before pointing out to England’s high point, the 2011 India tour when the hosts dominated MS Dhoni’s team, sweeping the series 4-0.
“Many years ago, as Prime Minister, I had the enormous privilege of watching England versus India at the Oval. It was a wonderful, hot summer’s day.
“I was able to go to the dressing room after two English batsmen Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen had scored centuries. When they score a century they like to have a bottle of lager in the dressing room. It was a very proud moment.”
He was referring to the fourth and penultimate Test, where Pietersen scored 175 and Ian Bell 235. England won by an innings and eight runs.
“There are ups and downs... Any global team would have Joe Root in it. Alastair Cook is one of the greatest batsmen in the world today. Jimmy Anderson is one of the great bowlers,” Cameron said.
Would he like to take away one player from the Indian team to bolster England?
“I don’t want to pick someone and spoil it. You have a very strong team.”
But it doesn’t seem like a contest? Cameron had the last say: “What can I say? Pride comes before the fall.”