Interstate competition, Bhawaripatnam v Konta at Jagdalpur – match report

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Ged Ladd writes:

Bunty is a big cheese in Jagdalpur – he and our guide Jolly’s family have just opened this new Bastar Jungle Resort and we were their first English guests. Soon chat turned to cricket. “Oh you like cricket”, said Bunty. “You must visit my hotel in town on Sunday. Have some lunch there. It overlooks the City Cricket Ground and there’s a big game on that day. You can do some commentary.”

I took the last comment to be a turn of phrase, as in “let us know what you think of the game”. As it turned out, we needed to switch our itinerary around a bit, so we found ourselves at a loose end between a tribal village visit early in the morning and a Sunday afternoon “market” (more like a fun fair) later in the day. So we decided to pop in, have a drink and watch a little cricket in the shade, during the hottest part of the day.

Bunty greeted us warmly and I was immediately struck by the sight of a sizeable crowd in the main stand (perhaps 1,500 to 2,000) and the sound of live commentary in adjective-rich, received-pronunciation English.

The next bit happened very quickly. Bunty hurriedly said: “Your commentary stint is starting at the end of this over. You cannot get down to the commentary tent from here. This is my nephew Rinku. He is the Jagdalpur wicketkeeper. He’s a very good boy. He’ll drive you round.”

Within seconds I was on the back of Rinku’s Yamaha being driven round the block to the commentary tent.

I was soon in the commentary tent and a few seconds later, Daisy arrived on the back of a Hero Honda. The scorer started whispering a whole load of stats about the match position and the commentator warmly welcomed a guest commentator all the way from England.

Morning everybody

I was live. I said how delighted I was to be there and what a beautiful day it was here in Jagdalpur. I commented on the trees within the boundary and compared that aspect with Canterbury. I described the cricket as best I could.

Towards the end of my stint, I described a delivery thus: “I’d like to tell you what happened that ball, but I’m completely surrounded by reporters and photographers so I cannot see a thing”.

It was true. The throng of journos moved aside so I could finish my stint, but once I was done commentating, both Daisy and I were interviewed at length several times.

Oh yes, I do this all the time

The next day, in the City museum, we were quietly discussing the meaning of cowrie with the curator when his assistant ran up to us all excitedly and showed me and Daisy our picture on the front page of her paper.

Breaking news

We made the front page of New India, the back page of the Bastar Sun and we are told that our TV interview was broadcast on City Cable Network television.


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  1. Did you say “…and there’s no run”? I bloody well hope so. I can’t be doing with commentators who miss that bit out, even press-ganged guest foreign ones at obscure Indian matches. Even better if you combined it with “…and he’s up to the wicket now and he bowls…” Were there any buses?

    (BTW, I think you just about got away with your mentioning of mentioning not seeing cricket. Sailing a bit close to the wind for the purists, but OK by me.)

    But anyway, this is my new favourite match report. It is hard to see how it could be beaten, except maybe by one describing how the writer accidentally spilled boiling soup over Charles Colvile’s balls. A first class effort. When did all this happen?

  2. If a translation is required: the headline quotes the visiting commentator to say: “Bastar Climate is Good for Cricket”. The report also mentions that the redoubtable Rinku, having made a score of 77, was declared Man of the Match.

  3. Beautiful Piece. This story is from my home state in India. Bastar is a tribal district and one of the poorest and remotest parts of India. Great to see such enthusiasm for cricket even there. I am sure this was not the case some years back.

  4. Brilliant match report, Ged!

    Translation of your mention in the article:
    “These foreign tourists were also present to enjoy the cricket on the fifth day. Ian Harris and Jenny Hairis (!) cheered the players at Gandhi Maidan. Ian Harris said that he loves cricket and that the climate in Bastar is very pleasant for cricket. Harris also commentated on the match for some time, in English”.

    Loved that little detail at the end.

    BTW, Rinku was man of the match.

  5. What a report. The best one by far. It’s phenomenal. It’s beautiful. It’s wonderful.

    (Who is Jenny Hairis?)

  6. This is without doubt the best thing I have ever seen on the internet.

    Hats off to you, Ged Ladd. Quite wonderful.

  7. I hereby declare Ged Ladd “Lord Megachief of golden match reports”.

  8. Towards the end of this piece, I started developing feelings perilously close to those that bear attendance with phrases such as “love of my common man”.

    Most unnerved me, it did.

    Good report, Ged Ladd. Seconded on the Megachief nomination.

  9. Many thanks for all your kind words. Or even (in e normous’ case) unkind words.

    Have no fear, Bert, my style was uber-Blofeld but sadly no buses or pigeons. I did commentate a bit (though carefully) on the fascinating political conversation Daisy was having with the regular commentators off-line. It was February.

    Daisy is not actually called Jenny nor Hairis nor even Harris. The Bastar Sun called me John and managed to invent the most remarkable back-story. I have had the following article translated for me and every single material “fact” is to some extent fabricated:

    The kind comments really are appreciated. Daisy will be well-chuffed when she sees them.

    1. About “Hairis”, most indian languages do not have the a sound similar to that of Harris or bank. We do have the a from aweful and careful though. So different people transliterate these words to whatever they think is the nearest.

    2. True Pavan. Still it was funny that they used different spellings for the two last names – sort of like Thomson and Thompson.

  10. I love this website and this report and this sport. You just learn stuff. I know more stuff than before I started reading.

    Brilliant Gedd and all the translators putting it all into context.

  11. Something like this would turn even the worst trip somewhere into the best ever. Bravo that man! And lady 😀

    1. Another exceptional match report that one, Ged.

      By the way, I was just down the road from there in February. Or at least, 150 miles just down the road, the road in question being NH 221, in a place called Bhadrachalam (AP). No cricket there, though, apart from the kids playing in the colony. They did invite me to have a bat as I was standing watching, but as I’d seen the pace that the tall thirteen-year-old could generate off six paces, I decided (to borrow a phrase) that discretion was the better part of valour, and that cowardice was the better part of discretion.

  12. I submitted a match report just before this one appeared and now I wish I hadn’t.

    1. I didn’t and now I’m convinced I’d be unhappy either way.

      Of course, that is a default conclusion.

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