I wanted to watch an IPL match, so I went to India. I made Tronco come with me. Tronco is a massive cricket fan. Asked to name some England players, he managed three in 30 minutes: Ian Botham, Graham Gooch and Adam Gilchrist.
Arriving at Bangalore Airport on my own at 4.30am, I was not welcomed by a driver from my hotel, as planned. I walked the 20 yards to the taxi rank and picked up my first friend en route. He jabbered away about hotels and I ignored him. At one point, I said ‘no thank you’ which he took as meaning that I wanted him to get into the taxi with me and charge me four times the taxi fare for doing fuck all.
In the end, I paid 200 rupees less than the hotel pick-up. Result. All I had to do to ensure this saving was maintain calm when the taxi wouldn’t stop as I requested and participate in a protracted slanging match.
At one point, my new friend phoned someone and mentioned my hotel. Images of being greeted by an angry mob quickly subsided when it became clear he had no idea where my hotel was. Upon arrival, he threatened to steal my bags and take them back to the airport unless I gave him another 100 rupees. After 20 minutes, it became apparent that the hotel staff were unwilling to step in, so I paid him.
Having got to bed at around 7am, the hotel staff considerately left it an hour before phoning my room to ask if I wanted breakfast. I declined it.
By the day of the match I had been joined by Tronco, who had enjoyed an identical experience upon arrival. We went to Chinnaswamy Stadium two hours early to ensure the best seats. Unfortunately, a senior member of the security team had already bagsied them and there he remained for the entire match.
Having travelled halfway round the world, it was exciting to see a couple of England players. Kevin Pietersen hit some catches during the innings break and Eoin Morgan did some good work standing beside the nets before the match started. Neither of them played.
During the match, I was particularly taken with the 15-year-old sat next to me. He was wearing a Mumbai Indians shirt and claimed to be supporting both teams. In reality, he was supporting sixes.
It was fascinating to try and deduce where he drew his excitement from. A six is only 50 per cent more runs than a four and has less impact on a match than a wicket. Wickets were acknowledged. Fours were not. Sixes were greeted with a roar and he would launch from his seat and jump up and down. “Six!” he would cry. “That’s a six!”
After the match, me and Tronco walked back to the hotel. We got back at midnight to find the receptionist bedding down in the lobby. “It’s very late,” he said.
We might have felt worse about it if we didn’t know that from 6am until 9am, there would be constant phone ringing echoing round the hotel as they asked every resident whether they wanted breakfast or not.
When it came to our turn, we accepted the offer. It was what can only be described as a boil in the bag jam toastie.