England in Sri Lanka – 30th October 2018

Joe Root’s 12;45pm meeting with the English cricket writers today looked eerily like an assembly of health workers emerging from the depths of an Ebola crisis. Nobody was wearing plastic suits or masks, but the elite group of nine writers and the England captain were hidden away in a glass, climate-controlled capsule in the embarrassingly swish, brand new Shangri-La Hotel on Colombo’s seafront.

It is a seriously expensive hotel. The sort of hotel that doesn’t bother to publish prices on its menus because, if you need to know the price then you can’t afford it so don’t order it and go away. The price of a soda water was, literally and exactly, the same price as two main meals at an upmarket Food Court last night.


And they’ve barely got started. The model of their ambitions stands proudly in the foyer of the hotel. Two 30-storey apartment blocks, a shopping arcade (they have a much fancier name for it) and a massive Spa and ‘executive luxury suite’ are all being completed. That’s all lovely provided you’re happy and comfortable with the 500,000 tea-pickers on whom the country still relies for its reputation being paid $2.20 per day.



Joe spoke well and said it would be “an exciting Test series.” And other good stuff. Fortunately none of his nuggets of wisdom escaped through the glass to be broadcast before embargo.

While England trained at the Nondescripts Cricket Club I took the opportunity to visit one of my favourite shops in the world, “Paradise Road.” Entire apartments in London (and other cities) are furnished with cutlery, crockery and sofas from this place. You can buy 65-piece matching dinner sets without a single item being exactly the same. All hand painted. It’s priceless. Actually, it’s not. The price is roughly five pounds per item from source, but it looks and feels priceless as soon as it leaves home.

England start a two-day warm-up game today. And then another straight afterwards. It’s basically nets but with fielders instead of nets.

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