My generation has seen many transitions. Before Maruti 800 car happened for we used to gasp at Fiat’s Premier Padmini or Ambassador or maybe an odd Contessa. We’ve seen television turning from black and white to coloured. And for good part of my life I have lived without internet. Yes, indeed, this used to be an internet-free world once upon a time.
These days, some cricket is invariably on, live or otherwise. But I remember there were times when I used to endure entire 20 minutes of news at 8.40pm on Doordarshan to get a glimpse of 30 seconds of cricket footage towards the end of the broadcast. That was gold.
I remember in 1986 I was barely five when Dilip Vengsarkar got centuries in England. His Gunn and Moore bat (or was it Power, not sure) was amassing runs for him and the team. Things were much better when India toured England again in 1994. We used to get highlights to go with the legendary radio commentary.
Those highlights in 1994 of seeing Sachin paaji get his first Test ton and then Kapil paaji hit Eddie Hemmings for four consecutive sixes were enough to keep the flame going inside. I wanted it. I wanted it bad.
Here I am with the second IPL trophy now looking at the next challenge — win Test matches in England. This will be my third Test tour of England. There is so much to like about cricket in UK that it is almost criminal not to do well there. History, buildup, the greens, the dark red Dukes cricket ball, MCC members sitting over the sightscreen with yellow and red ties, countryside, beer guzzling English contrasted with wrapped up desis braving winds, are all stuff that I used to dream. Now is the time to complete the jigsaw.
I didn’t get to play Tests when I went there in 2007 and there wasn’t much to write home about on the last tour in 2011-12. With all its niceties and colour, it is a tough tour as well. The swinging ball tests your skills and patience. You have to see the ball early, play it late and then hope for the best. As Mr Sunil Gavaskar often says, batting is all about knowing your off-stump and England really demands this knowledge, especially from an opening batsman.
I have just reached home and relishing the sleep in my own bed. Few days off and then I will be up and about preparing for England. I am sure we will be playing on greenish tracks and so my preparations will be on the wickets at Roshanara Club in Delhi. Let’s see with this heat how much we can replicate the conditions that we’ll get in the UK.
Friends, this is my last column for this IPL season. I hope you enjoyed reading although it’s a pity that I have to end on a rather somber note. I must say I was disappointed by the inconvenience KKR’s felicitation ceremony caused to Kolkatans. As it is cricket fans in India, who are the most important stake-holders, are not treated well.
To make matters worse there was lathicharge on innocents. God-willing my KKR team wins many more trophies but as far as I am concerned we’re done with such felicitations. Anyway, see you all around.
The writer is the KKR skipper
Kaizen Media Solutions