Unpredictable English weather

While it was forecast that the second semifinal was doomed to be washed out, there was only a pitiful sprinkle that delayed the start of proceedings by half an hour. India and Sri Lanka duly played a full, unaffected game, writes Shreedutta Chidananda.

The Diary knows, from its confabulations with smart folk, that while you can’t predict the English weather, you can predict that it will be unpredictable. Or that’s what it has been taught to say, anyway.

But this wretched unpredictability leaves the Diary (and some of its experienced fellow-travellers) with considerable yolk on the visage after the second semifinals in Cardiff.

A number of forecasts had informed the Diary that the game was doomed to be washed out, a damp, dead fixture floating in the pools of water on the giant, white covers.

Even the groundsman wept on the Diary’s little shoulder on the eve of the match. “There’s going to be drizzle in the morning, light rain in the afternoon and heavy showers in the evening,” Keith Axton had said. And so the Diary had duly told the world that it was likely to pour.

But what happened? Little of the wet tragedy that had been foretold unfolded. Instead, there was only a pitiful sprinkle that delayed the start of proceedings by half an hour. India and Sri Lanka duly played a full, unaffected game. The only spots of water anywhere in sight were the Diary’s tears in the Press box.

Rugby’s popularity

The Diary does not pretend to like rugby. Or even understand it fully. But it can’t help but notice that in the United Kingdom, sports pages of newspapers seem to talk of little else. The British and Irish Lions’ tour to Australia has, for the last two weeks, been the only subject of consistent importance. Nothing has been immune from this rugby-love, not even cricket.

While Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Eoin Morgan, Jonathan Trott and Alastair Cook are seen in a good-luck video message for the Lions, the Edgbaston Press box is buzzing during the first Test in Brisbane, though it happens to be the eve of the Champions Trophy final.

Even Cook’s pre-game press conference is accommodated in the half-time interval. There are cheers and sighs of relief when the Lions eventually win a narrow game. To the Diary, though, the sight of men wrestling on mud has never truly appealed.

Captain’s words of wisdom

M. S. Dhoni’s press conferences, the Diary has found after much careful study, are a trick of the mind. For, though he seems to say a lot at them, the Diary finds upon returning to the table that the words have an evaporating quality, and that they diffuse gently into the atmosphere leaving folks little or nothing to work with.

Take, for example, Dhoni’s press briefing a day ahead of the final. “I think what we are looking at is tomorrow’s game,” he divulges to the world’s media. “It's a very important game, again. But in this tournament you only face the best of teams. So I think it will be a good contest. England are a very good side. They know the conditions quite well. So I think it will be a good game and very good for the spectators, and that’s what as cricketers we want to do, we want to entertain the crowd. So it will be good.”

There! See how they float away?