November 18, 2000

Alistair Campbell's Zimbabwe Diary

Hello again from Delhi, this time. Since my last report we have completed our two warm up matches, and achieved what we needed out of them, which was much needed match practice on Indian wickets. Most of the batsmen got amongst the runs and the bowlers got a look-in but found out how hard it can be on batsmen friendly wickets.

The matches did not pass without incident though, and in the first game, yours truly, was hit on the head trying to hit a bouncer and acquired two stitches for his troubles. The second game was played in a place called Faridabad, just outside Delhi, or so we were told. The information was probably right but with all the traffic and congestion in Delhi it took us about one and a half hours to get to the ground and about two hours to get back every evening, add to this a bus with no air conditioning, a very long three days.

Delhi is a very enthralling city steeped in culture and traditon, however the huge amount of pollution tends to grab your attention more. There is a constant haze in the air and root cause of this, I am reliably told is the vast amount of cars in the city. There are more cars in Delhi than Calcutta, Bombay and Bangalore put together. A new car rolls out onto the street every three minutes in Delhi. The authorities, I am told, have taken to planting a lot of trees and vegetation within the city and using the slogan 'Delhi - The green city' are trying to lure tourists and do away with the pollution, hopefully they meet with some success.

Back to cricket - this is the business part of the tour now, with the first Test starting tomorrow at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground. India are notoriously very difficult to beat on their home turf and we have no illusions about the task at hand. But I'd like to mention that we have formulated our game plan and if we can stick to it with every player doing his bit, then we have every chance of doing well. It will take a lot of mental strength as well as skill but the morale is good and the confidence high. All we need now is a bit of lady luck to smile and who knows, cricket is a funny game.