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An Englishman’s fascination for Indian first-class cricket

That Indian domestic cricket isn't as popular as it once used to be is clear from the smattering of spectators at the Akhilesh Das Stadium watching the Ranji Trophy match between Uttar Pradesh and Mumbai.

Written by Wajiha Shah | Lucknow |
December 17, 2011 4:11:16 am

That Indian domestic cricket isn’t as popular as it once used to be is clear from the smattering of spectators at the Akhilesh Das Stadium watching the Ranji Trophy match between Uttar Pradesh and Mumbai.

One undying romantic of the game,though,is Englishman Peter Chismon,who keenly watched the entire match’s proceedings,getting up from his seat only once the match had ended in a draw — that too,in an attempt to meet veteran Mohammad Kaif of the uttar Pradesh side.

On what is his fifth tour to India,Chismon says he has a passion for first-class cricket. And while he is a member of the MCC and a life member of the Sussex Cricket Club as well,it is the Ranji matches in particular that he is most fond of watching. His own on-field association with the game,however,stopped at the local level in England,where he performed the role of umpire.

Chismon says he will be in India for another two months. “I had watched the India vs West Indies Test matches and after that I decided to follow the Ranji matches,” he says.

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A different environ

The hustle bustle of the Indian domestic scene,however is a far cry from the genteel environs of the Lords pavillion. A true cricket lover,Chismon attention is solely on the cricket and cheerfully gets along with the lack of comfort. “I am putting up at an ordinary city hotel. My next destination will be Jaipur,” he says even as he looks to see if he could manage to hitch a lift to the railway station from the stadium.

Special guest

While Chismon certainly isn’t any jet setter,he was recieved rather affably by the members of the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA),who termed him a ‘special guest’. His Sussex cap firmly in place,he could be seen sitting alongside the state association members in the VIP enclosure on all four days.

Former Ranji Trophy player and Uttar Pradesh team selector Ashok Bambi said,”I have seen him watching the first-class matches for almost 10 years now. It is a matter of pride for the Indian domestic cricket that we are able to attract a spectator from abroad at a time when the number of Indian spectators in India is dwindling.”

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