It was a relaxed bunch who trooped downstairs for dinner at the team hotel's coffee shop on Thursday. The first to wander in was Misbah ul-Haq, unnoticed by onlookers waiting to catch a glimpse of the Shoaibs and Afridi.
The quiet Misbah, the only player wearing the official T-shirt at dinner, was joined by the ebullient Kamran Akmal, who chattered away in Punjabi and sampled everything on the buffet. On his fourth trip here, he looked happy and admitted as much, saying, "This (India) is just like home".
They were finishing up when a commotion attracted some attention. Coach Geoff Lawson came down and was mobbed by waiting electronic media. That diversion allowed the North West Frontier Province trio of Shahid Afridi, Umar Gul and Yasir Hameed to walk in to dinner without being harassed. The conversation over dinner was comfortable — the pleasure of being here; a casual swipe at cricketing politics, the importance of food, when Inzy bhai will be in town — anything but the games ahead, Bollywood. This first evening in India was remarkably stress-free.