Trophy Diary: Tendulkar lurks in long shadows
Sunday 29 October 2006
All great careers draw to a close, and there is reason to suppose that Sachin Tendulkar's is coming round the final bend. This is based less on his scores, though they are not quite as heavy as they once were, but on the adulation he is accorded.
Crowds no longer cheer his every touch, they no longer flee the ground in droves once he is out. Sachin, who is still only 33, is probably relieved. Nor has he been hugely successful in the Champions Trophy. This is his fourth (out of five) and he has not scored a hundred since his first of 12 innings, in 1988 against Australia. Time for a repeat.
GREGARIOUS TONY: If Sachin is no longer quite the hero he was for so long, Tony Greig's love affair with India and Indians remains. Present here in his role as a commentator, Greig receives a rapturous reception each time he goes on and off the field for the pitch-side interviews.
The old showman invariably raises his straw stetson and offers a little bow. The enduring mutual affection was sealed 30 years ago when Greig led an England side here. He played the crowds like Menuhin played the violin, he played exciting cricket and the crowds fell in love with the blond giant in their midst.
ARMY DESERTERS: England have probably suffered because for the first time in years they have had no orchestrated support. The Barmy Army have sent no troops. It seems their resources are stretched filling obligations in Australia and West Indies later this winter and spring. Something had to give. It spared India.
MAHATMA WHO? Ahmedabad's most famous, must-see sight is perhaps Mahatma Gandhi's ashram. It was here that Gandhi lived with such enviable frugality and belief and began the long struggle for Indian independence.
England's players largely managed to avoid it; it was suspected, according to team sources, that none had found time to visit between losing and training. However, Jamie Dalrymple, late of Radley and Oxford, was espied there paying homage to the great man.
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