September 5, 2007

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan on India in England, 2007

Queen sighted at The Oval

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan
Brian May, the lead guitarist of the rock band Queen, watching cricket at The Oval, England v India, 6th ODI, The Oval, September 5, 2007
 © Siddhartha Vaidyanathan
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There’s been a touch of Queen at The Oval. There’s been ‘Don't Stop Me Now’ played before play and other hits occasionally accompanying the fall of a wicket. It was fitting not only because today could have been Freddie Mercury’s 61st birthday, but also because Brian May, their lead guitarist, decided to pop into watch the cricket.

Sitting in the balcony at the Vauxhall End, May appeared to be thoroughly at ease at the cricket. Struggling to come to terms with being a few feet away from one of the greatest guitarists in classical rock, I tendered a nervous introduction but May’s response was almost apologetic, “Queen is big in India?”

It must feel great to sit in a stadium and have your lyrics blaring away at every opportunity. “It’s funny,” he laughs as another to play before stopping abruptly when the batsman is ready.

May is so versatile that he’s deep into physics and mathematics. His PhD thesis was titled ‘Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud’. There’s too much to ask but he is too busy with the cricket. “Time to watch,” he says.

As England left the field there was Don't Stop Me Now. Dimitri Mascarenhas has just finished the innings with five sixes in as many balls and leaves to: 'I'm burnin' through the sky yeah, 200 degrees thats why they call me Mr Fahrenheit'.

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In other details John Major, the former British prime minister, is, expectedly, at The Oval. But songs he may have penned are not blaring from the loudspeakers.

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is a former assistant editor at Cricinfo

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