Saturday, January 07, 2006

Until next time

I was expecting to be in Melbourne for the traditional Boxing Day Test this season, but it wasn't to be. I got here the day the Sydney test started off, so my Boxing Day Test pictures will have to wait another year. The rate at which 2005 disappeared from the sight, thanks to a lot of work (and VB and good Belgian beer, may be) indicates that may not seem a long time. But then, after almost three months in the homeland, I was an almost reluctant passenger; I couldn't have it both ways, could I? Which brings me to the question of why the Boxing Day test holds such an attraction for me? Answer: we don't have a Boxing Day Test or Diwali Day or for that matter, any traditional fixture on the calendar in India. Which brings us to another dreaded question - do we have any cricketing tradition worth the name? Neither do we have any spectator facilities worth the term, so even genuine lovers of the game who love the atmosphere (I was mesmerized by the Eden Gardens the first time I was there in 1996-97) lose interest in going to games pretty quickly. That hardly constitutes a problem at the turnstiles because of the endless interest in the game, so the administrators do nothing more than install floodlights (with an eye on fixtures, one suspects). In the context, the spruced up Kotla in Delhi was a pleasant surprise, especially given the DDCA's poor record and/or image. May be we'll, after all, have our own Diwali Test or Republic Day Test, which will command a place on sports fans' calendars. And make us hanker less for a trip to Melbourne or Lord's. - NK

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