October 2009
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Edward Craig: Life's a pitch

October 14th, 2009 by Edward Craig in Champions League

Myself and Jesse Hogan, an Australian journalist who writes for the Melbourne Age (you’d never have guessed from the name), decide to chance our luck and lives by going for a walk round the square at the Faroz Shah Kotla stadium in Delhi.

We pass the armed guards in blue, then the armed guards in brown, then the security officers with a big ‘24’ written on their fronts  – these are the really officious ones. We squeeze between the advertising boards, looking as though we are meant to be there, and stride across the outfield to have a look at the pitch, as though we’ve been doing it all our lives.

It is dry, cracked, looks slow but that is the least interesting part. The sound-system is warming up and the noise in the middle is sense-destroying. The square boundaries are shorter than you’d think from the high-cocoon of the press box. The imposing stand from the Delhi Gate End looms over the straight boundary, daring you to drop a catch.

Just picturing the screaming crowd, the banners, Brett Lee running into bowl, Sehwag taking his guard, you realise this tournament is serious. And this stadium is miles from Hove.

Back in the press box, a handful of Indian journalists had watched our progress and are fuming. “Our country is so racist,” they explain. “If we tried that we’d have our accreditation shredded before we even saw a blade of grass. They just let you straight on.”

That’s the way it is at the ground. Pretend you are important and if your face is the right shade, you’ll get anywhere. “It is ridiculous,” says a Cricinfo writer. “Even stray dogs are allowed on the pitch.”

So that puts us on a level with stray dogs – which is about right.

Edward Craig is deputy editor of The Wisden Cricketer

Posted in Champions League | 1 Comment »

One Response to “Edward Craig: Life's a pitch”

  1.   Dunners says:

    Who let the dogs out?

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