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I am pleased to report, however, that any unfortunate unpleasantness was avoided as the hosts were attentive to their duties and did their bit in keeping up acceptable standards of hospitality. To the approval of several onlookers, the Chennai gentlemen were fastidious in their attempts to set their guests at their ease, freely distributing dollies and lollipops to the visitors, as is the local custom.
Particular credit in this regard should go to a Mr Hayden, who though an Australian by birth and inclination, showed himself a fine judge of social niceties, making a generous offering of his wicket to Mr Collingwood. Messrs Raina, Vijay, Hussey and Morkel were similarly hospitable, and the innings was brought to a pleasing conclusion with an impromptu display of timber swinging from a Mr Bollinger.
There were, regrettably, some unseemly moments. Mr Badrinath’s perspiration was the cause of some perturbation, and I understand that several ladies of a refined disposition found the sight of this young man dripping onto the field of play to be most unsettling. It is to be hoped that in future he follows the example of his elders, notably Mr Dhoni, who, recognising that a gentleman does not exert himself unduly in such conditions, modestly departed the crease soon after arriving.
It is also to be hoped that the amply proportioned drum operative who entertained us marvellously all afternoon with his delightful banging will bear in mind GH Hardy’s words. “It is a tiny minority who can do anything really well and the number of men who can do two things well is negligible.” We humbly suggest that he should, in future, restrict himself to the percussive arts and resist the lure of the cheerleader’s podium, where I gather he was to be seen shaking himself about in a most distressing fashion.
These incidents aside, the day passed off smoothly and Mr Gambhir, the leader of the visiting party, declared himself satisfied with the festivities. I understand that the gentlemen of Delhi were all smiles as they boarded their coach, so congratulations to Mr Dhoni and Mr Fleming on being the perfect hosts. And without wishing to breach any confidences, I am reliably informed that their ticket to the semi-finals may well be in the post. Fingers crossed chaps!
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Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. Providing his ransom demands continue to be met, he has promised never to write a whimsical book about village cricket. @hughandrews73