World Cup 2011 February 25, 2011

No rogue snacks please, this is Delhi

A vastly impressive South African performance yesterday was overshadowed by an even more impressive effort by the various security forces in operation at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in Delhi
90

A vastly impressive South African performance yesterday was overshadowed by an even more impressive effort by the various security forces in operation at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in Delhi. Their indefatigable determination to ensure that no rogue snacks entered the ground was reminiscent of Albert Einstein’s quest to unlock the secrets of the universe.

Those lorryloads of contraband nibbles missed out on being chomped on to the backdrop of a fairly routine match, but one illuminated by two innings of extreme class and an outstanding international debut by much-travelled legspinner Imran Tahir, who gave every impression of being the missing piece in South Africa’s team jigsaw.

This is not to say that, as in previous World Cups, when the pressure cranks into hyperdrive, South Africa will not find a way of dousing that jigsaw in coffee, or letting the Australians tear it up and throw it into a bin, or reading the instructions wrong and feeding it to a dog. But this was an imposing opening by the 1999 and 2003 Sporting-Blooper-Of-The-Year award winners.

Johan Botha has seldom seen the words “bowled an incisive new-ball spell” directly next to his name in match reports, but he should be guzzling those words down with his breakfast this morning. Dale Steyn gives his team the useful option of summoning the world’s greatest bowler in the middle of the traditional mid-innings lull, which is good news for his skipper and spectators alike. And offering an international cricket captain an experienced, accurate, wicket-taking legspinner is like offering a child a large tub of ice cream, and, as Tahir probed and tricked his way through the West Indies middle-order, Graeme Smith spent most of the afternoon with metaphorical chocolate chips all over his grinning face.

Smith himself played a steady supporting role to the electric brilliance of AB de Villiers, who timed the ball through the off side like a champion pudding chef times his soufflees. The South African captain will never be accused of excessive elegance. He often bats as if he had just stepped out of a tumble dryer and is still working out where all his limbs are. At the polar end of the style spectrum is Darren Bravo, who played with almost supernatural panache. He hit one early cover drive off Steyn with such melting perfection that even had the Delhi Police been patrolling the extra-cover boundary, they would have let it pass through untouched. Even if it had water, pens, coins, cameras and cigarettes in its bag. And I can think of no higher compliment for a cricket shot than that.

There has been much criticism of the removal of such objects from paying spectators. An English friend had a bottle of sun cream confiscated, which might have left him vulnerable to the subcontinental sun, but at least prevented him from getting so overexcited by the squelchy noise sun-cream bottles tend to make that he ran onto the pitch and squirted sun-cream all over the wicket, causing the game to be abandoned. No-one wanted to see that.

I had my wallet searched for coins. Intriguingly, I was ordered to put my Indian rupee coins into a charity collection bucket. But I was allowed to keep my British pounds. Has my country’s currency fallen so low in the world’s esteem that it is now viewed as (a) not worth being collected for charity, and (b) so embarrassing to its owner that it would never be used as a missile in a public location?

There are, however, extremely sound reasons why such seemingly completely inoffensive objects were rightly prohibited from entry into the stadium:

Water: Water has been scientifically proven to be extremely dangerous. The following people all drank water: Julius Caesar, Florence Nightingale, J Edgar Hoover, Elvis Presley, Jane Austen and Douglas Jardine. What are the only two things they all have in common? They all drank water. And they are all dead. Draw your own conclusions. Furthermore, there were potentially 40,000 people in attendance today. If they had each taken a 500ml bottle of water into the stadium, they would collectively have had enough water to fill a 20 cubic metre tank – enough in which to keep a small shark alive but angry for the duration of a 50-over cricket match.

Coins: Money is the root of all evil. Cricket fans, just like investment bankers, need to appreciate that there are more important things in life than money.

Pens: A ban on pens has been made necessary by a number of events. In Chennai in 2004, a spectator armed with a set of indelible marker pens ran onto the pitch during the drinks break in a Test match and drew a graph about agricultural yields on Sourav Ganguly’s back whilst he was distracted talking tactics with Rahul Dravid. At Lord’s the following year, Michael Clarke claimed he missed out on a century because of a pen. He was bowled out after being distracted by the sun reflecting off a fountain pen in the chest pocket of a retired army colonel who was snoozing in the pavilion. And in 2008 in Barbados, the Pope, paying his first visit to an ODI, tripped over a broken biro and dented his mitre on a bin. So, from a health and safety perspective, a pen ban is necessary. Plus, pens can distract spectators. The last thing the ground authorities wanted was for an unlucky cricket fan to miss seeing Darren Bravo unleash another bolt of perfection through extra cover, because that fan was busy drawing a cartoon dog on the back of a cigarette packet.

Pencils: Pencils are dangerously sharp. As my friend No-Eyed Geoff, the narcoleptic former court sketch artist, can vociferously testify.

Sun cream: The first refuge of the coward. The sun is 93 million miles away, and yet you are running scared of it, slavering your own head in some overpriced yoghurt-mayonnaise-body lotion hybrid? Besides, who are we to play with nature? Nature made the sun hot, we should not interfere with it by trying to stop ourselves burning.

Food: This is a cricket tournament, not a cookery competition. During a game, journalists, spectators, groundstaff and players should all be focusing their attentions on the glorious combat of cricket, not being distracted by whether their chicken burgers have enough ketchup on. Cricket is a spiritually nourishing game. It is not right to sully its purity with physical nourishment as well.

Cigarettes: See Pens. Furthermore, smoking kills a million people a year in India. It would have been a major embarrassment for the ICC if all 40,000 hypothetical spectators at the Feroz Shah Kotla had dropped dead due to smoking during the match.

I understand Delhi has had its problems in the past with excessively jaunty crowds scarring cricket matches, and spectator and player safety is a paramount concern, but whoever was responsible for today’s cocktail of incompetence, intrusive overzealousness and administrative dinosaurism seemed intent on stripping the joy from a sporting event.

Extras

● Ricky Ponting’s altercation with an Ahmedabad television has been variously interpreted as an act of childish petulance, an unfortunate confluence of physics and a strop, and the conclusion of a long-standing man-versus-machine feud dating back to when the 10-year-old Ponting’s telly broke just before the final scene of Gone With The Wind. However, it seems clear to this columnist that Ponting was launching an heroic one-man protest against the intrusive ubiquity of 21st century TV. We may disagree with his methods, but we can applaud his sentiment.

● Imran Tahir was superb on his international debut. However, as a proud Englishman, I find it more than a little disappointing that South Africa should resort to recruiting so many players from outside their own country. In contrast to England’s entirely homegrown squad – to qualify under ECB regulations now you have to prove that you have a bloodline descending directly from 10th century Saxon king Aethelred The Unready ‒ South Africa’s team today included not only Tahir, but also Jacques Kallis (obviously French), AB de Villiers (Uruguayan), Morne Morkel (born in unexplained circumstances in the Vatican City), and Faf du Plessis (escaped Kazakh freedom fighter).

To conclude, and to add a bit of back-story interest to the rather overlong group phase, here are some lies about World Cup cricketers:

● Australia’s Mitchell Johnson collects photographs of walruses. He owns 437 photographs of walruses. Johnson: “Walruses make me feel safe.”

● Indian seamer Munaf Patel likes to guess how old trees are.

● England’s James Tredwell once accidentally broke a child’s glasses while trying to explain the rules of American football to him on a crowded London Underground train.

● Pakistan paceman Umar Gul’s lifetime ambition is to discover a new chemical element, and to name it Umargullium. Gul: “Ideally, it would be a metal, but I’d take an inert gas too.”

● Ireland’s Ed Joyce is afraid of carpets.

● West Indies wicketkeeper Devon Thomas would like to learn to play the harp, but is worried about cutting his wicketkeeping fingers on the strings.

● Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews buys boxes of eggs just so he can crush them in his bare hands.

Andy Zaltzman is a stand-up comedian, a regular on the BBC Radio 4, and a writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Murthy P on March 9, 2011, 10:00 GMT

    Andy's take on why allowing water inside stadium can be harmful and criterion for SA selection are simply superb.

  • Vvn on March 4, 2011, 18:43 GMT

    Geez my bad!!!Someone had warned in comments section not to read Andy's blogs at work. Ignored it and burnt my finger. Apart from the permanent grin that prevails while reading the article, there are frequent moments which compel loud, inappropriate chuckles/laughter that leads your peers to believe that either you are high on something or insane (especially when you have a presentation open on your screen alongside to show you are working) Anyways, wonderfully funny article from a wonderfully witty writer.

  • Vijay Chachra on March 3, 2011, 8:58 GMT

    Take a bow...Andy...now thats something i would define as HILARIOUS...!!!

    I am waiting (infact suggesting) for your article on Indian commentators...:)

  • yogi on February 28, 2011, 12:31 GMT

    as far as I know, every Indian ground has similar restrictions. And has had them long before 26/11 or any other terror strike. It's our own bad behavior that has brought this on. Some years back, during a Test match at the world's most spectator unfriendly ground,Wankhede Stadium, I asked a senior police man why these restrictions. He said anything he allows in the stadium will end up being thrown onto the field of play, esp water bottles. Anyone remember the 1996 semi finals ? Or the sight of Imran's Paki team fielding on the boundary with helmets in Ahmedabad ?

  • TJ on February 27, 2011, 1:53 GMT

    Masterpiece!! From start to finish. Keep up the brilliant work man!!

  • Jayne on February 27, 2011, 0:39 GMT

    Andy, either the guys writing the ball by ball commentary for CricInfo are reading your blog, or you are there in the booth with them. Sri Lanka v Pakistan, Sri Lanka batting, 11.5: "5 wides, Umar Gul may want to discover a chemical element, but he's not in his element today."

  • haskens on February 26, 2011, 14:59 GMT

    Well, its nothing new that India cannot hold any major tournaments without embarassing themselves. We still remember the pathetic attempts at hosting the Commonwealth games. The whole tournament should have been given to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, they sure are doing a much better job of it so far. They may not have a billion plus people to choose a cricket team from, but they know how to host a tournament....unlike India, sadly.

  • Haskens on February 26, 2011, 14:57 GMT

    Well, India can't hold major tournaments, they can only embarass themselves by trying - We still remember Delhi games. And now they screw up this. Pathetic really. They should've given the whole World Cup to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. We may not have 1 billion plus people to choose 11 cricketers from, but we sure don't embarass ourselves hosting people.

  • Whiz on February 26, 2011, 6:48 GMT

    All this qualifies for your travel agent to charge you a premium for this trip, he seems to have thrown in the adventure stuff free of cost. People pay big money to experience the thrills and hardships of an adventure tour. I hope you stood in line like the poor natives to get your tickets, it surely should qualify you for a medal of honour at your regular pub back home.

  • Anonymous on February 26, 2011, 6:26 GMT

    Ha ha ha! hilarious; excellent sense of humor!!

  • Murthy P on March 9, 2011, 10:00 GMT

    Andy's take on why allowing water inside stadium can be harmful and criterion for SA selection are simply superb.

  • Vvn on March 4, 2011, 18:43 GMT

    Geez my bad!!!Someone had warned in comments section not to read Andy's blogs at work. Ignored it and burnt my finger. Apart from the permanent grin that prevails while reading the article, there are frequent moments which compel loud, inappropriate chuckles/laughter that leads your peers to believe that either you are high on something or insane (especially when you have a presentation open on your screen alongside to show you are working) Anyways, wonderfully funny article from a wonderfully witty writer.

  • Vijay Chachra on March 3, 2011, 8:58 GMT

    Take a bow...Andy...now thats something i would define as HILARIOUS...!!!

    I am waiting (infact suggesting) for your article on Indian commentators...:)

  • yogi on February 28, 2011, 12:31 GMT

    as far as I know, every Indian ground has similar restrictions. And has had them long before 26/11 or any other terror strike. It's our own bad behavior that has brought this on. Some years back, during a Test match at the world's most spectator unfriendly ground,Wankhede Stadium, I asked a senior police man why these restrictions. He said anything he allows in the stadium will end up being thrown onto the field of play, esp water bottles. Anyone remember the 1996 semi finals ? Or the sight of Imran's Paki team fielding on the boundary with helmets in Ahmedabad ?

  • TJ on February 27, 2011, 1:53 GMT

    Masterpiece!! From start to finish. Keep up the brilliant work man!!

  • Jayne on February 27, 2011, 0:39 GMT

    Andy, either the guys writing the ball by ball commentary for CricInfo are reading your blog, or you are there in the booth with them. Sri Lanka v Pakistan, Sri Lanka batting, 11.5: "5 wides, Umar Gul may want to discover a chemical element, but he's not in his element today."

  • haskens on February 26, 2011, 14:59 GMT

    Well, its nothing new that India cannot hold any major tournaments without embarassing themselves. We still remember the pathetic attempts at hosting the Commonwealth games. The whole tournament should have been given to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, they sure are doing a much better job of it so far. They may not have a billion plus people to choose a cricket team from, but they know how to host a tournament....unlike India, sadly.

  • Haskens on February 26, 2011, 14:57 GMT

    Well, India can't hold major tournaments, they can only embarass themselves by trying - We still remember Delhi games. And now they screw up this. Pathetic really. They should've given the whole World Cup to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. We may not have 1 billion plus people to choose 11 cricketers from, but we sure don't embarass ourselves hosting people.

  • Whiz on February 26, 2011, 6:48 GMT

    All this qualifies for your travel agent to charge you a premium for this trip, he seems to have thrown in the adventure stuff free of cost. People pay big money to experience the thrills and hardships of an adventure tour. I hope you stood in line like the poor natives to get your tickets, it surely should qualify you for a medal of honour at your regular pub back home.

  • Anonymous on February 26, 2011, 6:26 GMT

    Ha ha ha! hilarious; excellent sense of humor!!

  • TD_160 on February 26, 2011, 5:41 GMT

    The 'lies about cricketers' thing at the end was pretty stupid. I could easily have written that myself. I did enjoy the rest of it though.

  • Jonathan on February 26, 2011, 1:16 GMT

    Don't take it personally Andy. I had my 2.5L blue water cooler confiscated on my way into the Aus V Eng Australia Day game at the Adelaide Oval. The (Indian) security guy must have previously worked at ground security in India because be informed me that blue water coolers can be used as weapons. I still don't know how.

  • Openerbat on February 25, 2011, 21:36 GMT

    Good one! "In contrast to England’s entirely homegrown squad"... :-)))

  • Ammit on February 25, 2011, 21:16 GMT

    Smart , sharp and surreal, after all your head gets more oxygen. ;)

    Wonderful man.I listened to your podcast too. Please take pain to get these recorded. At times its more fun to listen to you than read.

  • Soumya on February 25, 2011, 20:33 GMT

    You are a funny funny man. Keep the stuff coming.

  • CricketFan on February 25, 2011, 19:08 GMT

    Andy Zaltzman -Whaddaaplayaaa... (in the blogosphere, I mean; certainly way above genuine village standard)

  • Nisar Ahmed Virk on February 25, 2011, 18:32 GMT

    Andy! You Beauty!!

  • venky on February 25, 2011, 18:17 GMT

    andy you are rocking! Masterpiece! But anyways according to hindu mythology sun, water, sand, land, air all are nature and are enemy to humans. you have proved that myth is right!!!

  • Zalztanuim on February 25, 2011, 18:17 GMT

    Umargullium !!! Classic !!!

  • SK on February 25, 2011, 17:37 GMT

    To Mara Mandan and all those who think these ridiculous restrictions actually have anything to do with security: What damage can pens, pencils, and sunscreen do? And if coins are considered dangerous projectiles, why only disallow Indian coins and allow British ones? And what dangers are there in bringing snacks to the stadium?

    And before going on about how India is a victim of terror: so are the UK, the US, etc. Yet their sporting events have none of these ridiculous restrictions, which only serve to irritate the public and such up police time that could be used on activities / surveillance that may actually be related to security!

  • DK on February 25, 2011, 17:24 GMT

    Hilarious as usual, Andy. I particularly liked the part about Delhi Police against Darren Bravo's sweet timing and Munaf's hobby. As most of Indians wrote, Indian police seem to be still stuck in crowd control mode from the Raj days. We can only hope things get better soon as at least part of rest of India seems to be headed in right direction in spite of all the jingoism and neo-conservatism.

  • Sohel ahmed on February 25, 2011, 17:03 GMT

    If i was about to be hanged and was asked about my last wish,i would say,'i wanna read the latest andy zaltzman blog before i die'.You have certainly made cricket more enjoyable and colorful.You are a very powerful and gifted writer andy,dont ever lose the edge.

  • Aditya on February 25, 2011, 16:27 GMT

    Absolutely hilarious...You have taken both the Powerplays at the end!

  • Madhu on February 25, 2011, 16:06 GMT

    This article is fantastic!

  • Vijay on February 25, 2011, 15:32 GMT

    Andy you are absolutely amazing and one of the funniest writers ever. ( for those who don't find this article hilarious, seriously go get yourself some sense of humor )

  • Vijay on February 25, 2011, 15:26 GMT

    Andy you are absolutely amazing and one of the funniest writers ever. ( for those who don't find this article hilarious, seriously go get yourself some sense of humor )

  • swj on February 25, 2011, 15:19 GMT

    A few years ago in a security crackdown at jodhpur airport they wouldn't allow round things on the plane. A friend had an orange which was deemed a) round and therefor b) dangerous. When he cut it in half it was no longer a) round nor b) dangerous and the officer happily let it through. Perhaps you should try taking ice instead of water next time Andy.

  • Mara Mandan on February 25, 2011, 14:07 GMT

    Sure it is easy to make fun of the police and write about them as if they are a nuisance. But what has escaped Andy's bird brain is that it is this very police presence and action that resulted in everyone being able to enjoy the game in peace.

  • Harry on February 25, 2011, 13:31 GMT

    As a wicketkeeper-harpist myself, I can confirm to Devon Thomas that playing the harp has no adverse effects on your ability to keep wicket. However, if Devon Thomas is serious about becoming the next Carlos Salzedo, he should probably think of giving up his wicketkeeping

  • Abhishek Dutta on February 25, 2011, 12:52 GMT

    I completely lost control of myself at Umargullium..ROFL..U totally rock Andy..want an article on ponting issue with tv & indian medias obsessiveness with ponting...Keep it up.:D

  • Theo on February 25, 2011, 12:41 GMT

    Hi Andy, I was one of the SA fans at the match and I really enjoy this blog.

    What was really amazing is that under ICC ticketing terms and conditions the following items are ALLOWED: - cameras (for personal use) - food and water (small quantities for personal use)

    But not that Delhi police cared. Incidentally I managed to take in my bag, camera and even anti-mosquito cream with the help of an ICC official. (I was really impressed with the ICC officials that tried their best to help fans).

    To all who think these security arrangements are necessary - REALLY!? Terrorists can relax at home when the security agencies are terrorising people on their behalf. Why have a list of approved items and then come up with a new list at the venue!?

  • Tony on February 25, 2011, 12:35 GMT

    To Subir Ranjan Das

    Please post us a link to your own cricket blog. I am sure it is many many times better than Andy's.

    Keep up the fantastic work Andy! Hilarious as always!

  • Ali on February 25, 2011, 12:29 GMT

    Umargullium LOVE IT :) great article as usual

  • I-Love-India on February 25, 2011, 12:20 GMT

    Lovely article!

    We shouldn't be surprised by the way policemen behave in India. It's an underdeveloped country. The majority of the people are uneducated or undereducated, the leaders are corrupt, the society is definitely not as civilized as those in developed countries.

    As a result, the thought process of the basic administration is underdeveloped as well. The best place to watch a cricket match in India is from your living room (or bedroom, wherever your tv is placed).

  • Agnel Pereira on February 25, 2011, 11:44 GMT

    Hey Andy, what you would have said if you were there at the Chinnaswamy stadium to see Bengalooru police lathicharge the cricket fans!? Very hilarious, very true too. For a humourist like you, you have chosen the right places to visit to give you more fodder for your funny bones (in your fingers, not face).

  • Wasim on February 25, 2011, 11:37 GMT

    Absolutely brilliant keep Andy......Specially the bit about Mitchell Johnson , Munaf & Umar Gull

    Keep up the good work

  • Anonymous on February 25, 2011, 11:29 GMT

    Nice one :)

  • Samar Singh on February 25, 2011, 11:15 GMT

    conclusion is Indian management is so crap and disgusting ...crowd is so unsporting that they do not understand that in a game there is win and loss and one has to learn to accept that... is this any hidden fact ???

  • sulaiman on February 25, 2011, 10:57 GMT

    Andy you are a genius. Even your throwaway jokes are priceless. Umargullium...how do you come up with this stuff?

  • johnathon josephs on February 25, 2011, 10:56 GMT

    LOL... angelo matthews buys eggs just so he can crush them with his hands

  • Aditya on February 25, 2011, 10:47 GMT

    @Aniruddh: Dude -- thanks so much for confirming the stereotype that we Indians can't take a joke about us if it comes from someone who's not Indian. If you actually understood the article, Andy was simply pointing out that it's ridiculous to ban things like pens, pencils and sun cream. I can understand bottles/coins, but the rest is going too far. Further, the Kotla is an absolute embarrassment for a ground that is based in the country's capital. Never mind the pitch farce a few years ago that caused a game to be abandoned -- the catering was terrible, the wi-fi broke down, many of the ID cards didn't work, and generally people weren't allowed to watch the game like they wanted to. The ground is managed by the DDCA, which is one of the worst cricket administrations in the country (and given that we also have the BCCI, that is something).

  • Satyajit on February 25, 2011, 10:39 GMT

    LoL Andy, just brilliant, haven't laughed so much in front of a computer for so long ....the way you paced it and built it up was pure artistry. Loved the SAf team origins and the lies at the end. I am sure you are helping half the cricketing world take life not so seriously.

  • Matt on February 25, 2011, 9:50 GMT

    Another classic. Andy, does Angelo try to crush the eggs lengthways?

  • Circe on February 25, 2011, 9:41 GMT

    I think the reason for the cigarettes was that smoking at "public places"(which for some reason do not include roads but do include stadiums) is banned in India.

  • Naveen on February 25, 2011, 9:30 GMT

    Andy, you are the GOD of humor! I dont know how much you get paid but I am pretty sure no amount of money can do justice to your contribution to Cricinfo. Thanks so much, Keep them coming.

  • Usman Ahmed on February 25, 2011, 9:19 GMT

    Australia’s Mitchell Johnson collects photographs of walruses. He owns 437 photographs of walruses. Johnson: “Walruses make me feel safe.”

    :D best line ever!

  • GrandmaMoses on February 25, 2011, 8:45 GMT

    Hillarious Andy! One thing this site lacks is the ability to subscribe and be notified of your posts. I pains me greatly when when I find out I could have read your post hours earlier! Keep them coming!

  • Anurag Singh on February 25, 2011, 8:41 GMT

    The entire read was akin to a boxer throwing punch after punch, only those punches instead of giving a bloody nose were giving me stomach ache because I was laughing so hard.

    And yeah watching matches in stadium here is a spiritual experience to say the least.

  • Balaji on February 25, 2011, 8:12 GMT

    One of the most HOWLARIOUS blogs I have read.. thorough masterclass !

  • Moemz7 on February 25, 2011, 8:04 GMT

    Classic classic comedy!!! Andy, please could you do a piece on what would happen if all the captains in this world cup had to form a single team and play!!! We'd have a few tough decisions like who should keep... MS or KS? i think you could make it really funny

  • Zain on February 25, 2011, 7:56 GMT

    Another home run by the Zaltman. lol @:

    Mitchell Johnson collects photographs of walruses.Johnson: “Walruses make me feel safe.” & They all drank water. And they are all dead & and Faf du Plessis (escaped Kazakh freedom fighter).

    Mr Zaltman, I'm a fan!

  • Ian Jackson on February 25, 2011, 7:51 GMT

    Does anyone find this sort of thing amusing?

  • Morne on February 25, 2011, 7:46 GMT

    Now, this was fun reading. post some more stuff like this.

  • Anupam on February 25, 2011, 7:22 GMT

    Great stuff...keep coming man!!

  • Mahek Vyas on February 25, 2011, 7:10 GMT

    Come on guys, the least you could've done was put a picture of the security at the Kotla. This one is from the lower pavilion at the Motera.

  • Ankan on February 25, 2011, 7:06 GMT

    Andrew, you give quite a correct account of the circus that India is. it was hilarious! :D

  • dirkie on February 25, 2011, 6:59 GMT

    Hahahahahahahahaahhaa!!! Oh it's so awesome!

  • Abhishek on February 25, 2011, 6:53 GMT

    xtremely hillarious,please keep on entertaining us with ur sharp wit n humour,a big fan of urs really

  • shankar on February 25, 2011, 6:44 GMT

    Very good work. Come to think of it, the sun is so far away and why are we scared. This world cup might be bringing the best out of Zaltzman. Keep it up chappy!

  • deepak on February 25, 2011, 6:36 GMT

    as usuual andy is superb..... great wits

  • lahori4ever on February 25, 2011, 6:21 GMT

    awesome piece! the best i've read in connection with this world cup thus far

  • Aniruddh on February 25, 2011, 6:18 GMT

    Hi Andy,

    Didn't know you were at the Kotla or i would have hunted you down to get your recommendations on how to do away with these laugh lines. Started appearing since I stumbled upon your blog and I hold you completely responsible. This particular piece was a bit much though. I understand that watching this match was like watching paint dry and a columnist needs fodder for his blog but picking on the security arrangements? Really?? You do realise that all this was for the benefit of your fellow countrymen who are the first to pull out from a sporting event if a water pistol is found anywhere within a 500km radius of the venue. Last I checked, people only needed their sense of sight and sound to enjoy a cricket match but i might be mistaken. Afterall, millions have died after being separated from their beloved suncreams and doctors are on the verge of declaring it an epidemic.

    Keep up the good work though.

    Aniruddh

  • PLI on February 25, 2011, 6:04 GMT

    The last one about Angelo Mathews is not a lie.

  • G. CHANDRAKANT on February 25, 2011, 6:04 GMT

    "....if all 40,000 hypothetical spectators at the Feroz Shah Kotla had dropped dead due to smoking during the match" - one of the funniest sentences I have read for a long time. Zaltz always reminds of the great Wodehouse.

  • Oshada on February 25, 2011, 5:57 GMT

    The interminable schedule of the World Cup is greatly eased by Andy Zaltzman's delightful daily blog!

  • life is a farce on February 25, 2011, 5:48 GMT

    Not that I support the actions of Delhi police, but I would suggest you watch the 2nd half of the 1996 WC semi-final (Ind v SL) @ Eden Gardens!

  • GT on February 25, 2011, 5:43 GMT

    Gold.

  • alisial3 on February 25, 2011, 5:43 GMT

    hahaha this is definitely one of the best articles on cricinfo, definitely one of the most funniest and random ones. Sorry to hear about your encounter with the famed indian authorities LOL. I, myself, am baffled by the bans on those items.

  • Deke on February 25, 2011, 5:42 GMT

    what a writer man ! Good going Andy !

  • sujith on February 25, 2011, 5:42 GMT

    Andy to some extent you are justified in being irritated with the security measures. And I personally have very little regard for Delhi Police or the efficacy of their methods.

    But please realise that India has it's unique set of problems. It's not only the irresponsible coin pelting fans but possible terrorist elements that Delhi police has to contend with.

    Only a year back we had an explosion outside Begaluru stadium. The Mumbai scars as well as the attack on Sri Lankan team have not yet been forgotten.

    Unfortunately terror has a new target in the form of cricket. Rather hassle few people in the name of security than be sorry later. What do you say?

  • TEA BANDYO on February 25, 2011, 5:38 GMT

    Zaltman actually missed some other essential things which we should possess whenever we pay a visit to the LORDS or COMMONS except for water bottles, pens ( ball and fountain )along with pencils crayons and paintbrushes , harmless non carcinogenic cigarettes, coins, currencies of all cricket playing nations and counties(!), cosmetics of all kind to prevent an iota of sunlight affecting our endodermis and food ( irrespective of the presence of a food court in the premises). They can be harmless guns, knives for sharpening the pencils at a cricket match, lots of acid for cleaning the dirt of the stands and occasionally to prevent handsome faces having a suntan and some crackers to celebrate. OOPS I forgot canon balls were the pommie way celebrating

  • Shafaqat Ali on February 25, 2011, 5:36 GMT

    Great article Andy. You would see the same police style in all subcontinent countries but a great way to put it together for the readers. The PENS part was simply amazing :)

  • Katherine Amatuer on February 25, 2011, 5:30 GMT

    Thankyou Zaltzman, bugle may be extinct for a few weeks, but i welcome its replacements.

    Go Aussies.

  • Subir Ranjan Das on February 25, 2011, 5:28 GMT

    Too long for comfortable reading though the attempt is commendable. I find it slightly humorous, but stretched too far and lost its sharpness. There is too much of sprinkling of the hashed metaphor. Had this been shorter it would have been much better.

  • Vishal Dixit on February 25, 2011, 5:28 GMT

    Delhi police have managed to secure, at least, one label....A Failed Agency. After failing to help out citizens, they have targeted spectators. They have denied carrying anything inside stadium rather than conducting impressive security checks. But entire India will be having same type of security checks (prohibition of carrying things). This saves a lot of time at least, by simply taking away every thing from a person rather than conducting various checks.

  • Mihir on February 25, 2011, 5:27 GMT

    That is hillarious. No doubt about that.... hats of to Andy's humour here

  • jumbo on February 25, 2011, 5:25 GMT

    Nice funny article! :-)

  • Sunnygaur on February 25, 2011, 5:25 GMT

    I know i am going a bit too far but andy seeing your consistency and your skills at writing "YOU ARE THE SACHIN TENDULKAR OF BLOG WRITING"

  • Anand on February 25, 2011, 5:24 GMT

    nonsense article..i am sorry but didnt find it a bit hilarious

  • Dave Long on February 25, 2011, 5:22 GMT

    Actually laugh out loud funny. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this piece, thank you for a ray of sunshine on my grey Friday afternoon in a windowless office that actually looks over the Sydney Opera House... Just got one more lie about a World Cup cricketer for you - Australia's Shane Watson likes to count bricks on large buildings on the weekends. Its a shame he can only count to 10...

  • Andy on February 25, 2011, 5:21 GMT

    Andy Zaltzman get a life dude.....

  • Arsh on February 25, 2011, 5:19 GMT

    tee he he :-) Indian seamer Munaf Patel likes to guess how old trees are.

  • Ankit on February 25, 2011, 5:19 GMT

    Very nice article.

  • Vivek Rajdev on February 25, 2011, 5:17 GMT

    ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!!!

  • Anonymous on February 25, 2011, 5:16 GMT

    A Statutory Warning Andy - You will get the same treatment in PCA, Mohali. Atleast that was my experience when I had to hid a water bottle under my tshirt to enter the main gate and pretend I am fat and they didnt look deeply into it since they were probably hiding bottles on their bellies themselves:)

  • swar on February 25, 2011, 5:14 GMT

    Excellent stuff, Hillarious... Throughly enjoyed the reading.

  • kaiser on February 25, 2011, 4:54 GMT

    I love your sense of humour! Pls continue entertaining us for years with your brilliant tweets, blogs n articles!

  • saurabh on February 25, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    Hi Andy,

    I want to apologize for the crassness shown by the Delhi Police(DP)which is notorious for such acts of barbarism. The DP is full of itself and is unfortunately a hand down legacy from the old Raj days where the DP considers itself the law of the land, without realizing that even the Raj has moved ahead and embraced all cultures with aplomb in its society. Furthermore the Delhi Police incident and the Incident in Bangalore has shamed me and many Indians. It is appalling to know that such behavior is still prevalent I would have thought that at least with an international event the government would have learned its lesson but I was wrong.

    Andy, you are most welcome to be the guest of all the ordinary Indians, we are a far better lot that these idiot policemen have shown us to be. We will make your stay pleasant and the most enchanting.

    Hope you get inside the stadium in Bangalore in one piece, best of luck and enjoy our hospitality.

    -Saurabh

  • KC on February 25, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    Brilliant!! Was waiting for your article on the Delhi fiasco..

  • P S Swathi on February 25, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    Brilliant article. Welcome to the world of the Indian spectator. Too bad you didnt have the pleasure of lining up for tickets in Bangalore yesterday. Can't be in two places and have all the fun, can we? Like our good friend George Harrison said of the taxman, "If 5 % appear too small, be happy I dont take it all". You should be happy that they let you keep your clothes on.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • P S Swathi on February 25, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    Brilliant article. Welcome to the world of the Indian spectator. Too bad you didnt have the pleasure of lining up for tickets in Bangalore yesterday. Can't be in two places and have all the fun, can we? Like our good friend George Harrison said of the taxman, "If 5 % appear too small, be happy I dont take it all". You should be happy that they let you keep your clothes on.

  • KC on February 25, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    Brilliant!! Was waiting for your article on the Delhi fiasco..

  • saurabh on February 25, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    Hi Andy,

    I want to apologize for the crassness shown by the Delhi Police(DP)which is notorious for such acts of barbarism. The DP is full of itself and is unfortunately a hand down legacy from the old Raj days where the DP considers itself the law of the land, without realizing that even the Raj has moved ahead and embraced all cultures with aplomb in its society. Furthermore the Delhi Police incident and the Incident in Bangalore has shamed me and many Indians. It is appalling to know that such behavior is still prevalent I would have thought that at least with an international event the government would have learned its lesson but I was wrong.

    Andy, you are most welcome to be the guest of all the ordinary Indians, we are a far better lot that these idiot policemen have shown us to be. We will make your stay pleasant and the most enchanting.

    Hope you get inside the stadium in Bangalore in one piece, best of luck and enjoy our hospitality.

    -Saurabh

  • kaiser on February 25, 2011, 4:54 GMT

    I love your sense of humour! Pls continue entertaining us for years with your brilliant tweets, blogs n articles!

  • swar on February 25, 2011, 5:14 GMT

    Excellent stuff, Hillarious... Throughly enjoyed the reading.

  • Anonymous on February 25, 2011, 5:16 GMT

    A Statutory Warning Andy - You will get the same treatment in PCA, Mohali. Atleast that was my experience when I had to hid a water bottle under my tshirt to enter the main gate and pretend I am fat and they didnt look deeply into it since they were probably hiding bottles on their bellies themselves:)

  • Vivek Rajdev on February 25, 2011, 5:17 GMT

    ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!!!

  • Ankit on February 25, 2011, 5:19 GMT

    Very nice article.

  • Arsh on February 25, 2011, 5:19 GMT

    tee he he :-) Indian seamer Munaf Patel likes to guess how old trees are.

  • Andy on February 25, 2011, 5:21 GMT

    Andy Zaltzman get a life dude.....