The prospect of the world’s top ranked Test nations squaring off against each other in India next month is a mouth-watering one which grabbed the attention of cricket followers around the world from the moment the BCCI climbed of its money-making pedestal and asked South Africa if they would mind changing the tour from five ODIs to a brace of Tests and three one-dayers.
Aware that it would be impossible to retain the number one status which they had just earned for the first time with just six Test matches scheduled for 2010, the BCCI put the traditional Indian values of pride and honour behind the fiscal priorities of ‘new India.’
So, apart from wishing with all my heart that such values are sustained at the BCCI and that the world game benefits accordingly, here are a couple of other wishes for the tour: Ashwell Prince to discover the delights of batting at the top of the order on the subcontinent when the wickets are flat and the ball skids off the playing surface onto the middle of the bat before the spinners have come on and the seamers have got the ball to start reverse swinging.
I wish that Paul Harris returns to form and I wish that J-P Duminy’s belief in his ability with the ball bears fruit and that he surprises the Indian top order with his silky action, natural dip and drift and ability to give it a genuine ‘rip’.
But most of all I wish that the man I met at Cape Town airport on December 4th develops a really nasty skin rash and, even more importantly, that the interior of his tasteless but much loved BMW develops an overpowering and completely inexplicable stench of dead fish.
The only consolation about the Proteas final ODI against England at Kingsmead being washed out and the subsequent series loss on that day was that some of us were able to catch an early flight home on Friday evening and spend a full weekend with our families.
I arrived home at approximately 9.30pm and was heading towards my car when I was approached by a seemingly desperate man who claimed that he had inadvertently locked his keys and wallet inside the car (tastelessly decorated with paraphernalia purchased, it looked, from a plastic Taiwanese toy shop) and needed to borrow money for a taxi to return home, collect his spare keys and come back to collect his beloved vehicle.
He even offered to give me his watch as a ‘deposit’ but the briefest of glances confirmed that it was barely worth the price of one of the tacky hubcaps on his nasty motor. I gave him R200 with one of my business cards and a short reminder that faith in human nature was a dwindling commodity in today’s world but that a little of it still went a long way. He swore blind that he would call me the following day and would repay me “on my life.” I’m still waiting.
Finally, I wish that Mickey Arthur is able to enjoy the tour and that the politicking and angst that seem so inseparable from the job of Proteas coach don’t prove to be terminal. But I suspect they will – just as they have for all his predecessors.
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