International Chilli Chicken Cup

A few hours before that thing starts, there’s an incredible buzz. After all, this year’s ICC Champions Trophy was kept in the vat for one extra year thanks to a bunch of hooligans more violent than AS Roma fans.

Now that the vat’s being opened, we could be getting some smoky, peaty fumes that could be the source for the buzz.

But it isn’t.

What is, is a cloud of flies above the now-empty plate of chilli chicken dry that I had ordered two days ago and forgot to put away.

But no matter. The 50-over format can still turn me on. So what if after the initial shyness shown towards the quickie variety, I have become a full pom-poms’n’derriere-shaking fan of pinch-hitting and wicket-skittling?

So what if anyone watching the Ashes a few weeks ago would have to be clinically dead to think that epic cricket is only something that Ramachandra Guha writes about?

The ODI format has its advantages.

Like providing the possibility of a pair of riveting opening chapters.

One of the horrors of the Test format is to see a demon bowler rip the head off a batting line-up. Or not.

The first’s too much happening too fast; the second, too little happening too slowly.

Either way, a snoozeful beginning. In the case of Twenty20, three wickets falling between the first and third over is par for the course. Not a panties-burner.

It’s only in the middle-aged ODI format that the first ten overs are of rattle’n’hum importance — a sort of mini-match by itself with just the right amount of foreplay that makes the region between the 21st and 42nd overs somehow rememberable.

But all that’s bakwaas. The only advantage that 50-overs each has is that it gives me that precious time to order, eat and put that bloody plate of chilli chicken away between the 21st and 42nd overs.

Let the first and last ten overs of each Champions Trophy match begin!


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