March 25, 2011

ICC World Cup 2011

England’s party problems

Jayaditya Gupta

As if England don’t have enough problems: injuries, squad disruptions, playing Sri Lanka in a knockout World Cup game in hot and humid Colombo. The night before their quarter-final, the team was kept up till late by a raucous party that began at a nearby nightclub and then moved into their hotel. The noise – presumably nothing compared to expected levels at the Premadasa on Saturday – prompted the Twitterati among the England camp to complain. “If you happen to be in the nightclub of our hotel, could you possibly pull the plug from the socket,” Graeme Swann tweeted. “Or pour vodka on the decks.”

That was at 11-30pm, when he should have been tucked in and dreaming of perfectly flighted offspin. Almost an hour later, his bowling team-mate James Anderson sounded more accommodating: “The rave across the street has finished and my windows have stopped shaking but it seems they have moved the party into our hotel! If it’s still going in a couple of hours I might stick a pair of jeans on and hit the dance floor."

England’s players and fans will be hoping that the late-night distraction – even if Anderson can keep away from his jeans – will not have the same effect as the early-morning fire drill at their Leeds hotel before the first day’s play in the 2009 Ashes Test at Headingley. That day too the news was broken by Swann; England were all out for 102 and lost the Test by an innings and 80 runs.

You’d wonder how the Sri Lankans could sleep through the noise. Perhaps they are used to it, but the answer anyway is less complicated – they are staying in a hotel up the road and away from the action.

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Jayaditya Gupta is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo in India

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