Offbeat April 29, 2009

That heady feeling

Don’t run singles at high altitude

Don’t run singles at high altitude. That is the advice of Gareth Lewis, 27, a British policeman who has just played a 20 over-a-side game at Gorak Shep, close to Mount Everest base camp, a staggering 17,000 feet above sea level. “It was difficult to bat and bowl at that height. There were not many singles. Batsmen hit lots of sixes and fours," Lewis said. "I took just six or seven paces to bowl instead of a full run-up."

Lewis was vice-captain of Team Tenzing which lost to Team Hillary by 36 runs on April 21, but he was not disappointed. "It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life," he said.

His team-mate Nick Toovey, 28, shared that feeling. "It was fairly surreal. There was Mount Everest next to you, and yaks on one side of the pitch. I was sad it was all over, I wished it had lasted a bit longer." Jonathan Hill, who umpired the game, had even thought up an excuse for possible poor decisions. "Concentrating was difficult because your brain works slower up there," he said.

It was literally a heady feeling for the two teams and the umpires, doctors and handful of spectators who climbed for nine days carrying their bats, pads and even a roll-up pitch to get to Gorak Shep for the world’s highest cricket match. Next stop? Getting the game registered with Guinness World Records.