A road show with Sachin


JULY 17: The Marriott Chain's Goodwood Park Hotel and Country Club at Chichester, five miles from the Arundel Castle, is one of the popular haunts for golfers, especially the Japanese and the Chinese for whom it's more economical to fly to far flung destinations, buy out facilities for a month and enjoy Smirnoff and bitters in between rounds of golf, than getting membership to a golf club in Tokyo, Kobe, Osaka or Beijing.

Rahul Dravid and West Indies 'A' coach Gus Logie at the Arundel ground.-N. SRIDHARAN

For the Indians, the Goodwood Park Hotel and CC at Chichester gave the first taste of the Marriott Groups' golf-based residential accommodation. The Indians had spent two nights at the Bristol Marriott Royal during the day-night match against Sri Lanka. In the course of the tour they will also be put up at Meon Valley, Hollins Inn and Breadsall Priory, all belonging to the Marriott Group.

The Indians are getting used to the change from five and seven star luxury hotels to the motels in England. In London, of course, the Indian team's abode is always the Crowne Plaza at Buckingham Gate. In other places it's the Holiday Inn hotels.

Sachin Tendulkar hands over his bat to Richie Benaud during the Channel 4 roadshow at the Rose Bowl in Southampton. Mark Nicholas, the compere, is also in the picture.-N. SRIDHARAN

At the Crowne Plaza many players had frequented the Quilon, a restaurant run by the Taj Group. The trouble with the other hotels is the absence of Indian food on the menu. Many players order it from Indian restaurants, run by Bangladeshis.

July 18: Rahul Dravid, who had taken a break from the three-day match against the West Indies 'A' makes an appearance at the Arundel Castle Cricket Club. Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar told Manager Ranga Reddy that they would like to join the team at Arundel itself, but were advised to travel to Southampton for the match against Hampshire.

Sourav Ganguly signs in Hampshire spinner Shaun Udal's autograph book.-N. SRIDHARAN

It had been a really hard three weeks for Dravid, who batted well and kept wickets adequately in the NatWest Trophy. He deserved the short break. He caught up with West Indies 'A' coach Augustine (Gus) Logie, while taking a round of the lovely ground under the shadow of the Arundel Castle. Dravid and Logie have not played against each other, but cricketers have this great habit of striking a rapport.

July 19: Tim Trimlett, in charge of the cricket activities at the most modern Hampshire County Cricket Club, explains why Alan Mullaly and South African Nick Pothas do not find a place in the XI for the match against India. "They have been rested. There is a lot of cricket coming up. Mullaly needs to recover from a sort of side strain." Trimlett was the manager of the England under-19 team that toured India in December 2000.

Caricature-portraits of a 100 Hampshire cricketers past and present.-N. SRIDHARAN

Striking is the Rose Bowl. No one can miss Hampshire's proud possession even if he is miles away. Constructed at a cost of millions of pounds, the County sold its property at West End for housing development and built a new edifice which in the words of Sourav Ganguly is "fantastic".

July 20: There is a big gathering by the side of the main pitch at the Rose Bowl. The occasion is Channel 4's live broadcast of a road show with Sachin Tendulkar. The Indian batting maestro took time off from his practice schedule to answer questions from Mark Nicholas on how he has been able to develop his game. The special invitees are Richie Benaud, Barry Richards, Michael Atherton and Ravi Shastri. Benaud makes a comparison between how Sir Donald Bradman and Tendulkar picked up the bat and said it was remarkable that there was so much likeness in the way both played their on drives.

Marshall Drive, named in memory of Malcolm and Roy Marshall, at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.-N. SRIDHARAN

July 21: Offspinner Shaun Udal became an autograph hunter before the start of the India-Hampshire match. Hampshire awarded him a benefit and put on board 26 events so that Udal could make as much money as possible. Udal made it a point to get the signature of almost all the Indian cricketers present there. Of course, the Indians were happy to sign for a fellow-cricketer who is seen as a true Hampshire hero. He has contributed a lot to the progress of Hampshire in the County championship. One of the autographed bats may be displayed on the walls of the Corporate boxes along with this framed picture of a hundred Hampshire cricketers of the past and present. The picture has among several others, caricature-portraits of famous cricketers such as Barry Richards, Gordon Greenidge and Malcolm Marshall who played as overseas professionals for the County.

July 22: A small passage, while approaching the Rose Bowl, is named in memory of the cricketers, Malcolm Marshall and Roy Marshall. The district council at the request of the Hampshire County has named the road leading to the ground as 'Marshall Drive'. One of the greatest fast bowlers from the West Indies stable, Malcolm Marshall, nicknamed 'Macko', died a few years ago. The English press receives the news that Darren Grough has been ruled out of the first Test at Lord's. Gough joins Andrew Caddick, Alex Tudor and batsman Marcus Trescothick in the injured list.

July 23: The question on everybody's lips was: "Who will be India's cricketer of the century? Sunil Manohar Gavaskar or Kapil Dev Nikhanj or Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar? Finally, Kapil Dev steals the thunder at the Wembley Conference Hall at the Wisden Awards Nite. Tendulkar has to be content with being the public choice.