Rocky and the last minute mayhem | india | Hindustan Times
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Rocky and the last minute mayhem

Before THE start of play, while everyone at the SCG was going wah wah over Waugh, Rocky, the Indian dressing room attendant, was busy. As the team stretched, played volleyball and huddled as part of an elaborate pre-match routine, Rocky handled a hundred errands at the same time. Someone was looking for tape, the physio wanted drinks to be mixed, the team sheet had to be ready...... the list was long.

india Updated: Jan 03, 2004 01:45 IST

Before THE start of play, while everyone at the SCG was going wah wah over Waugh, Rocky, the Indian dressing room attendant, was busy. As the team stretched, played volleyball and huddled as part of an elaborate pre-match routine, Rocky handled a hundred errands at the same time. Someone was looking for tape, the physio wanted drinks to be mixed, the team sheet had to be ready...... the list was long.

But Rocky, 73, is used to such last minute mayhem, he has done this for years. He is supremely efficient, can produce anything needed within minutes, and supremely immodest: I am a legend, he introduces himself, his handshake as firm as that of a thirty year old. Rocky has a fund of stories to tell about teams visiting Sydney.

In my rating, the Indians are gold medal winners for good behaviour, he says. The lads are good, civil and polite. What are the Pakistanis like? I asked. Well, said Rocky, exerting his powerful mind before replying diplomatically. Those boys need some control.

Rocky is a one man army, like Pete is at Lord's, a genuine all-rounder who has an answer for anything thrown up by players. He fondly remembers the crisis before Laxman's big hundred here, four years ago. Just before going in, the sole of his batting shoe came off, recalls Rocky. But I fixed it with glue, wound it with tape in a minute and off he went to score 167.

A day before the Test, hundreds of young fans crowded round Sehwag at the nets. Viru bhai, said one encouragingly, inko kal dho dalna, score 200 in a day. Sehwag, smiled, nodded his head and submitted humbly, "Jeetna itna easy nahin hai".

In the pre-lunch session, it seemed the New Year party was still on. In Sydney, the city of lights, a festival is on, the museums/art galleries/theatres/ shopping malls are full of people. And in the evening the lights burn bright all over the city. On new year's eve practically everyone thronged the harbour to watch the fireworks. It was like a slick, sexed up Mysore dusshera minus the ceremonial parade with the Maharaja atop the elephant.

The Indian team, the party at full strength now that the wives have arrived, went on a cruise round the harbour. Very enjoyable, said one player. The Opera House area was spectacular but the ride lasted six hours and was too long.

The festivities in Sydney were strictly controlled, civic authorities worked overtime to maintain order. Signs were put up informing the public not to create any nuisance, and to ensure this happened, alcohol was prohibited from the city centre and bags were actually checked for hard drinks.

It was all very sensible and sober, in contrast to the rowdy, noisy and boozy celebrations we have around CP.

Sydney is unlike Delhi but has a serious London hangover. The city has an Oxford street (which sells all major designer labels), Hyde Park, Paddington, Kings Cross and much else.

But, mercifully, the SCG is far removed from Lord's, it seems the most sacred tradition here is about steady beer drinking.