Ruffling the welsh

The Welsh are greatly touchy of their cultural independence from England. But it doesn’t go down very well when a Welsh journalist asks Mahendra Singh Dhoni (in pic) what it’s like to be in Cardiff and is told that “it’s very good to be in England,” notes Shreedutta Chidananda.

The Welsh are a fiercely proud people, greatly touchy of their cultural independence from England. “The English don’t like cricket to be here,” the Diary’s landlord in Cardiff complains. “Mike Atherton is always on the commentary going: ‘Ugh…Cardiff! Why did we have to have cricket here?’ Typical snooty English attitude.”

When this is the prevailing sentiment, it doesn’t go down very well when a Welsh journalist asks Mahendra Singh Dhoni what it’s like to be in Cardiff and is told that “it’s very good to be in England.”

The reporter is visibly distressed while Dhoni carries on about the beauty of the place. Not just the English then.

Gastronomic nightmare

The Diary is never one to turn down a free meal, but there are a few things it simply cannot force down its maw. Like a shoe or a cell phone. Or meat. So it is mortified when the match-day menu is handed around the Cardiff press box. Lunch, it gaily announces, will be: hot smoked salmon, roll mop herrings, smoked mackerel, poached salmon with dill, smoked trout with lemon, braised shoulder of lamb with garlic lemon and thyme, and oh, some assorted boiled vegetables.

But the Diary is never one to go hungry either; the dessert and pastry, it turns out, are ample compensation.

Wolves or lambs?

A. B. de Villiers is not a captain lacking in confidence, at least on the outside. On the eve of South Africa’s match against India, he’s bullish on his team’s chances. “We’ll have definitely an attacking mindset of picking up wickets early on,” he says. “…we’ll have to come out like a pack of wolves tomorrow and really try towards one goal and that is to win the game.”

India’s opening pair makes 127, and the team 331. Morne Morkel limps off with a quad strain; Lonwabo Tsotsobe leaks 83 runs in his 10 overs and Rory Kleinveldt 81. Not so much wolves as baa-lambs but post-game, de Villiers is out defending his men. “Yes, there was 100% of a pack of wolves out there today,” he insists. “I was very proud of the way the boys fought back, especially after losing Morkel. …every time I connected with the team, the energy, and intent and awareness was there. I’m very proud at the fact we kept them down to 330. It could have easily been 360 or 370, which could have taken the game out of reach for us.”

The Diary is not one to deny a captain his positives.

Changing tack

Dhoni doesn’t give much away, but when he does, even a little, the Diary doesn’t want to take. For barely 24 hours after expressing a preference for playing batsmen in their ‘original slots’ and weeping over the injustice of moving them around, Dhoni duly drafts Rohit Sharma in as an opener, in Murali Vijay’s stead.