This is a December morning in Kolkata. The cold is sneaking up on us. Bengali bhadralogs (or gentlemen if you like), wearing cozy cardigans, are flocking to Eden Gardens. No way are India going to save this Test. But typical of Bongs, their enthusiasm hasn’t dimmed. I’m enjoying the comfort of the press box but soon my nostrils flare up.
The wireless services aren’t working. Heck, no one even seems to care. Suddenly, I hear a familiar voice. Is that Geoffrey Boycott? I turn around. That’s very much him. Boycott, with that inimitable quiver in his voice, is urging us to see something. “Look, my waiter...my waiter,” he says. Following Boycott is Rahul Dravid, wearing a chef’s hat, balancing a cup of tea on a tray, head down submissively.
Dravid dropping his guard, but in this fashion? His playing days flashed. That man was so different. Staid, studious, sweat trickling down that austere face. When he was captain, his answers seemed rehearsed. Journalists would already make notes of what he was about to say.
This is a Dravid without inhibitions. What a value-add he’s been to the Star team! When Sachin Tendulkar gets his drives right, it’s usually a sign that he’s in good nick. So we thought until Dravid pointed out that the flick to square-leg is actually Tendulkar’s feel-good stroke.
As a cricket consumer, I’m enlightened. As a cricket correspondent, I feel somewhat insecure. Will former cricketers be assigned match reports in the future? Who knows, some of us may be reduced to filing mood pieces, side stories, or editing copies filed by Dravid and Sourav Ganguly. Thankfully, only Unmukt Chand, among the present lot, seems to be well-read. That gives me solace. Even if briefly.