Sunday, November 09, 2008

The latest from Nagpur

The cricket has been back on the radio, and I love it. Australia are getting tonked, but that doesn't really matter. Everyone is pretty sick of them winning everything aren't they?

This series is coming from India. The broadcasts kick off about 3pm and run through to about 10 in the evening, which means you can keep up with developments and not miss anything major, without having to stay up all night as you do for England or South Africa. This game is being played at Nagpur, bang in the centre of India. It a brand new ground constructed in the middle of farmland about 20km from the centre of Nagpur. Tickets are only sold for the full five days, and the small crowd present are all there on corporate hospitality junkets. The view out the back of the ABC commentary box is of paddies being worked by oxen. The ABC say that the match is not being broadcast on the radio in India, such is the limited interest in Test cricket compared to the shorter game. So the man with the oxen not only can't afford to attend the game in his bottom paddock, he possibly isn't even aware who's playing.

The power goes off regularly, but the valiant ABC team have a UPS (uninterruptible power source). What they can't guarantee is the radio connection - every now and then they have to resort to the mobile phone. The main commentator calls the action then hands the phone to the special comments man for some sage words.

I was listening at the Eureka! moment, when expert Peter Roebuck said "hang on - can't we just hold the mobile out in front of us and the mike on it will pick up all us? We can just talk normally. Why has this taken us seven years to work out?" They were relying on the phone for about 6 hours of the day yesterday, so it was a good day to make the discovery.

The Indian special comments man is named Duleep. He speaks very well and is deeply knowledgeable, but he sounds like he is lying in bed, extremely weak or possibly on the verge of death. The irascible Jim Maxwell heads the coverage. He is a chain-smoking straight-talking no-nonsense man who likes a punt.

He said to Duleep this afternoon "OK, you'd better head off to get an early go at the big lunch they put on here." Duleep replied "J u s t b i s c u i t s"

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