All fire and fury when he rocked the Indian top order, Graham Onions was cooled down by a blistering attack from Sachin Tendulkar.
After being spanked for 53 runs off the 65 balls he bowled to Tendulkar, Onions could have been pardoned for hurling a word or two at the Indian master after he finally got his wicket — if the words were not offensive.
Turns out it was far from being offensive. “I told him that he was my best wicket ever,” says Onions with a big grin.
Was it? Well, it was not a fantastic ball, really, and Tendulkar was only trying to slog it over the man at mid-off but failed to clear him. But then, Tendulkar, as someone said the other day with a great deal of veracity, is Tendulkar, and his wicket most prized.
And what was Tendulkar’s reaction? “Well, he said nothing, he simply laughed as he walked away,” adds the 24-year-old Durham six-footer.
“He’s a fantastic batsman and I’m really proud to have got his wicket,” adds Onions. “I think he was a bit bored.”
Just then, a stripling reaching only up to Onions’s waist swaggers up, presents his autograph book and loftily commends the bowler for a “decent performance” and says: “You’d do all right, you’ll do fine.”
It’s time for Onions now to walk off with a laugh. Laughing was not what Graham Gooch was doing too much on Sunday morning. The former England captain had a long session with the media, and that was just for starters — he had a million more words to spout from the commentary box. But, known as a rather difficult character during his playing days, Gooch seems to have mellowed with age.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” says the Essex legend with a great deal of originality. De-moustached and affable, Gooch assures us that he needs to nourish himself well, for talking so much is a draining exercise.
Gooch tears himself away as Sourav Ganguly, preparing for nets, gestures to him. The two have a long chat, Gooch seems to be explaining some finer points of the game to the Indian star.
What was that session about, we ask later. Gooch, though, sweeps the query aside with a smile. “We were talking cricket,” he says with a laugh. “But did you see that? All the England batsmen out there were talking with Sachin, and the only chap who was talking with me was an Indian! Ironical, isn’t it!”
It is, and one man who’d know a thing a two about irony would be Stuart Broad. On Saturday, his media conference lasted 115 seconds and three questions; Sunday morning, he was in the England squad for the first Test, and in great demand. His sound bite, suddenly, had become precious.
“I try to take 10 wickets in every innings I bowl, irrespective of whether I might get a call or not,” Broad says.
Broad has got a call-up after his five wickets and 50 at No. 8. It remains to be seen whether he can replicate the effort at a higher level.