Wake up late. Skip breakfast. Skip the idea to walk to the stadium to watch NZ practice. Hop on to a bus. Spot a gathering midway at Midland Park. Spot something that glitters — not gold but the World Cup trophy. Spot Martin Crowe, Richard Hadlee. Skip practice. Jump off the bus. Nearly trip an old man. Apologies. The World Cup countdown clock is being unveiled. Corner Crowe. ‘From tomorrow, it’s exactly one year to go. And the World Cup tickets go on sale,’ he informs. ‘We are creating awareness.’ And what about the ‘tomorrow’ tomorrow? ‘Oh, give them a green wicket. Stuff ‘em up,’ he laughs.
At the Basin. It’s lush green, indeed. Ain’t colour blind, can’t really make out the pitch. No Ross Taylor tomorrow, I learn. Even 105 unlikely, methinks. Step out of the Basin to have lunch. Spot a banner in front of a showroom. ‘Fifty per cent discount, if Rutherford makes a fifty’. The showroom is Rutherford Fitness Equipment. ‘No, no relation with Hamish,’ says the store manager on duty, Michael. ‘My boss, the owner, is Quinton Rutherford. So a bit of a pun, actually,’ he smiles. That’s a bold move. On second thoughts, maybe not. Hamish Rutherford has only one fifty in 19 innings. Safe bet. Not even fifty-fifty.
The building overlooking the Basin attracts attention. Duckworth Lewis Accommodation, it says. Given that it’s the Basin, and the weather is fickle here, the place is aptly named. The forecast is bleak for the final two days of the match. They could have taken a refuge in Duckworth-Lewis were it not a Test. Rooms starting from $220 per week, it says. Make, well, calculations. Dirt cheap. Venture in. Turned away. ‘We only give it on a long-term basis,’ I am told. Bloody hell, unfair system.
Watch: Sonam Kapoor, Ayushmann Khurrana’s ‘Gulcharrey’ in ‘Bewakoofiyaan’