Confusion surrounded the start of today’s ODI, after rumours began circulating early this morning that the Sky Sports team had been denied Indian work permits. That meant no live commentary from Ian Botham, no post-match interviews with David Gower, and a sad, footageless Charles Colville sitting in the studio back home, trying to recreate talking points with a subbuteo set hastily commandeered from the nearby Ford Monday Night Football studio.
Clearly this is evidence of just how far the Indian authorities are prepared to go to disrupt Team England’s preparations. I mean, how are we expected to bowl a decent line and length when our eyes are welling up with tears of joy? Plus Trotty spilled an absolute sitter in the second over of the day because he was laughing so hard. The fact Bob Willis wouldn’t have a clip of that dropped catch to moan about just set him off again, although thankfully our tear stained eyes were causing us to bowl so far down leg-side by that point we were able to move Jonathan to deep extra cover, safe in the knowledge the ball would never go in his direction again.
In the end, Sky had to broadcast footage from one of the Asian channels covering the game instead. Which is a shame, as we managed to put in our worst ODI performance since the last time we toured out here and everyone at home had to hear about in the words of BCCI employees, Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri. All a bit Tokyo Rose for my taste. Although that comparison’s a bit over the top perhaps, as I understand she was allowed to write her own scripts and was never under any serious threat of being shot if she spoke out of turn.
As for the turnaround in form since the Indian tour of England. It must have felt like Sky were showing one of those Hollywood body swap films like Big, except with less fashionable haircuts and without the cliff-hanger of wondering if Elizabeth Perkins is going to be arrested as a paedophile.
Anyway, we’re being called back down to the hotel lobby for bad-boy de-briefing now. If you turn up late for them you have to sit at the back with Scott Borthwick and Alex Hales while they try and work out where the nearest legoland is for their day off…