There is an iconic steel bridge a stone’s throw away from the boundary line. Late in the evening, duck quacks bounce back from the top-tier of the stands. Rowers, cyclists, joggers co-exist peacefully on the sprawling lawns that spread between the stadium and the snaking river. Children fly kites and adults, inhabiting the parked boats, sip their evening drink enjoying the cool breeze.
But with a cricket field in the neighbourhood, not everyone has eyes for the idyllic riverfront. The match day is round the corner and the cricket crazies have started to troop in. Barmy Army is booking the BnBs and NRIs have started painting their faces in tri-colour.
For them Trent Bridge isn’t what it sounds, a bridge over river Trent. It happens to be the stadium where the ball swings the most in England. For them the beautiful Trent is a mere water body that cools the air before it gets trapped inside the stadium. And with a very straight face, even those who have flunked physics tests all their lives, talk about how the swirl of humid wind works on the ball, making it snake around.
Around the world languages and accents change but the cricket talk more or less remains the same. Replace Trent with Hoogly and you are at Eden Gardens or with Arabian Seas to get transported to Mumbai.
Myths and theories have been regularly proven wrong but they continue to dominate the game’s narrative. So it was business as usual at Trent Bridge, next to the real Trent Bridge. It was a mix of cricketing folklore and complex aeronautics, with a bit of quantum mechanics thrown in too, that dictated the debates and excited the trend-spotters on the sidelines of the two team’s training session.
The players too joined in. English pacer Stuart Broad said how this happens to be the favourite venue of their No.1 pacer James Anderson and a happy hunting ground for their team. This lent more credence to the theory of the local conditions conspiring to make the leather float around in the air. Broad would also add how this could provide a challenge for a captain as consistent movement would mean they would have to keep the slips in place for a longer duration in hope of a wicket even if runs continued to leak.
Binny in focus
The Indians too seemed to have been taken in by all ‘swing’ talk. With Stuart Binny’s importance growing at the nets with each passing day, it looks certain that the pace all-rounder would be included in the playing XI on Wednesday and thus expected to exploit the local conditions. Said to be a bowler for ‘helpful conditions’, Binny seems to be at the right place at the right time.