Wright Thompson is a senior writer for ESPN.com. On his recent quest to learn the game cricket he travels from US to Bangladesh & parts of India attending few World Cup 2011 games in person. He sums up his overall experience in this wonderful narration In Tendulkar Country. Check it out yourself if you would wish to travel along. For folks who are only interested in the highlights of the day, please read on...
Wright is on a mission! His course is set; his days are fixed. He needs to find the answers for a few simple questions. What is cricket? What does it mean to India? He carries along a copy of Cricket for Dummies to understand the basics of the game and friends helps him to take it a little further. However nothing like watching it in person and playing it himself.
Wright pals up with a cab driver whose ten year old Sachin becomes his cricket tutor if you will. It was very kind of him to take a nice gift, a cricket bat made of English willow signed by Tendulkar himself. Their game on the Delhi streets starts fiercely each team putting in their best, however it had to end abruptly when the ball gets lost in the trash or the trees or the clouds or somewhere.
Next Wright visits Sehwag's childhood home in Najafgarh Road, Delhi. His comparison of what made Gavasker tick - to Sachin stand out - to Sewag's arrogance is interesting. There are times when Wright switches his Press box seat with fans to get to 'feel' the real game as a true fan. He captures the simple details of the cops, the fans and even the smell of the air which takes you to the 'then and there'. He writes:
There are 11 opponents constantly shifting around the green field, looking to trick, to trap, to slide into a spot where a ball is coming. The cricket pitch is a dangerous ocean. The batsman is a tiny boat.About the India vs. England game, when Sachin gets out, Wright brings the true scene in front of our eyes; we can sense the mood, the tension, the hope of the opposing team fans... He writes:
The worrying begins. The fans sense something, a fatal flaw built into this team of sluggers. They can all hit the ball a mile, but they can't get anybody out. Power has its limits. They are wasting Sachin's brilliance. The noise dies down. The stadium is still. People look into themselves... England scores, off big hits, off bad pitches, off lazy defense. The India outfielders don't run down balls that go for fours.Just before parting ways with cricket in India to leave for his home sweet home, he gets to meet with Sachin in person in Sachin's hotel room. To his question of when was the last time Sachin had 20 days off in a row with nothing to do, Sachin answers: "I'm waiting for that time to come".
Let us wish the best for Sachin as he looks forward to his days off and let us hope Wright will write more about India to bring us all a little closer to the game and our nation!
Overall it is a fun packed journey and a must do for every cricket fans and nots alike!