Doing a Kapil!

Lot might have been written about the alleged differences between Sunil Gavaskar (right) and Kapil Dev in the 80s, but the duo now share a warm relationship.-Lot might have been written about the alleged differences between Sunil Gavaskar (right) and Kapil Dev in the 80s, but the duo now share a warm relationship.

At a lunch break during the third Test at Southampton’s Ageas Bowl, Gavaskar and Kapil discuss what they did during the break after the Lord’s match. K. C. Vijaya Kumar listens in.

Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev, two of India’s greatest cricketers, have a camaraderie that has to be seen to be believed. In the 1980s, lots of newsprint was used to dwell upon their alleged differences, but cut to the present, the duo share a warm vibe and usually a hearty laugh.

At a lunch break during the third Test at Southampton’s Ageas Bowl, Gavaskar and Kapil discuss what they did during the break after the Lord’s match. It transpires that Kapil was relatively busy, playing golf and moving around.

“Ah, I will do a Kapil after this game,” Gavaskar says.

Kapil nudges and says “Ask him what he means by that?” Wedged between two legends, yours truly has no choice but to follow the instructions of India’s greatest all-rounder. “I will vanish like Kapil, will go on my rounds, if he can play his round of golf, why can’t I? So I will do a Kapil,” Gavaskar replies and the old mates laugh aloud. Another afternoon, Kapil says: “We learnt a lot from Sunil Gavaskar and to this day, we keep in touch, he is my dear friend.”

Watching cricket, the British way

There is so much fun to be derived for spectators, while they watch a game of cricket. At the Ageas Bowl, children and teenagers could play some cricket inside a boxed net. In another corner, they could do a bit of wall climbing. The seniors too could enjoy their beer, curries and ice creams and on air Shane Warne says: “I love that ice-cream.”

Fans had a grand time at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.-AP

Sharp to cut in, Nasser Hussain replies: “Shane, you have a stand named after you here, why don’t you go there and tell him, ‘hey don’t you know who I am’ and then get an ice-cream for free!”

Warne quipps: “He might say, ‘you may be Shane Warne but pay my money before you pick the ice-cream!’”

Seeking Islamabad in England

The train journey from Southampton to Manchester, with a stop-over at London, was nearing its destination when a conversation was struck with a student sitting on the opposite seat. “Are you Indian?” was the ice-breaker. “No, I am from Pakistan. Doing my Masters in engineering at the University of Bradford,” he replies.

Turns out, Mushtaba Ali, missed reaching Islamabad in time for Ramzan, because of a rescheduled flight. “Now I am headed to my aunt’s place in Manchester and will catch my new flight from there in a few days. This is my summer break,” Ali says.

He is homesick and just wants to be in the Punjab plains for a bit before he heads back to England. “You know Pakistan is Pakistan, India is India. It’s our home. We have so many family and friends there, here it is difficult. When I reach Islamabad, the first thing I will have is a proper cup of chai and then kadai chicken. You know, I have struggled to get a proper dal here,” he says.

The train eases into Manchester Piccadilly. Mushtaba gets up, gives a tight hug and he is gone.

English weather

“What happened to English weather? I expected some chill but it’s nice and sunny, been a good summer, “ Rahul Dravid tells his commentary mate Michael Atherton. Summer has been unusually warm in England, but once you land in Manchester, the climate turns whimsical. It drizzles on and off and a cab driver says: “I was wondering what happened to our summer, now with these rains, I know it is still there!” Talk about different yardsticks for judging weather!

The booming guns at Gaza and the resultant loss of life is a sore point all over England, more so in Manchester, with its multi-cultural population. In a town-square, a gathering braves the rains and holds aloft placards exhorting: ‘We want peace.’