Part 2 of "some extracts from the Over 60's India Trip" - Text courtesy of Kevin Anderson
Day 8After being runner up in the first series against India, we had to sit on the bus licking our wounds. And sit on the bus we did! Left Delhi hotel at 7:45 am and arrived in Jaipur at 11 pm! Fortunately there was a pit stop at the magnificent Taj Mahal. We got there around 12:30 and left to go to lunch at 3:30 at Marriott Agra.
The building is as spectacular as the photos you see, but there is so much more. This was followed by retail therapy at the Kashmiri Rugs and Carpet display. I would hate to guess how much the group spent! Rugs 3m X 2.4m down to 1m X 30cm were all purchased, and on the way out marble, jewelry and scarves were scooped up. And just when you thought nothing else would fit in the bus, a room with marble drink coasters and cheeseboards blocked our exit. By now it was 6:15 and facing a 4 and a half hour drive in the dark, the tour group prepared for a quiet trip. A spectacular afternoon could not be dulled by the mind numbing trip home.Day 9:After the “big drive”, today was much more relaxing. However, we did cram a lot into the day. We started with a short drive to the Amber Fort - because there is already a Red Fort in Delhi! - and an elephant ride up the drive to the Fort. Great views and amazing architecture as well as great craftsmanship. This was followed by more rug and scarf sales primed by some local rum and cola. Then lunch back at the hotel before some shots of the Lake Palace. Back on the bus to visit the Observatory which was amazing because the marble was carved into the shape of a sphere for incredible accuracy. Our final day visit was to the Museum with the usual pomp and ceremony.
The girls were dropped off at a jewelry store on the way back so the boys could have beer! Home before 5 o’clock! Dinner was at Chokhi Dhani, a resort style place with entertainment but the “40” minute drive became 80, and some of the boys were not happy! Then we find out the dining will be alfresco - the boys in short sleeves were not happy and neither were the girls with light tops on! The trip home took 35 minutes so maybe the guide was right. Now to prepare for the 6 hour trip back to Delhi.Day 10 - back to Delhi!On the bus by 10 without Graham Arkinstall and Michael who were off to find a Bengal Tiger! Aileen Martin had her name written for her on the carry bag containing her marble purchase, but it was clearly lost in translation as the photo shows. Good run early but construction works slowed us down as we approached Delhi. Delhi has elevated its railway like Melbourne’s but about 100 km of it, especially in the central areas. Road construction is probably more extensive than home. I guess with 30 million citizens it needs it. I will never complain about Melbourne traffic ever again! Some of their road signs are cute.
Day 11:Game 4, this time against another doctor ‘s XI, although the average age was closer to 50 and not 30 like game 1! When we woke at the hotel it was raining, so match prospects didn’t look good. However, after getting lost on the way there, the pitch was uncovered and looked better than Citizen Park! Eane won the phantom toss and we batted. Under overcast conditions their bowlers swung the ball around and Kevin Lanigan 30 ret and Shane Way 25 ( caught and stumped on same ball!) weathered the onslaught to help set up a solid score. Terry Martin 30, Greg Watsford 31 and Peter Anton 35 all retired and Jeetu belted 19 from 8 balls at the end.
Even Virenda came to the party with 10 not out as we finished on 3/209 from 36 overs.Out came the doctors, and after 8 overs they 0/55! However a couple of bowling changes slowed the run rate and wickets began to tumble. Terry got one and Kev L got two as we worked our way back into it. Peter Anton got another then Jeetu grabbed a couple, Dhruv our sub got one and they were 7/165 with 11 overs to go. Another wicket and they were gone but alas they got lucky, and despite a late wicket, they won with an over to spare! Another great day with fantastic hospitality. The girls went shopping but we beat them home by an hour. Yes, we made happy hour and relaxed upstairs before the girls came in.Day 12:Very foggy morning as we headed off to Gougaon for a T20 against the Blue Panthers, allegedly a police team but turns out to be another group of young guns playing behind the Police complex! The trip took nearly two hours and when got there the bus couldn’t get over the driveway so we had to walk off last night’s drinking to get to the ground. Unfortunately they had 5mm of rain two nights back and the pitch got wet, so they were still rolling it when we got there.
Television crew from India First was there to record the event for all to see. After “winning “ yet another toss, Eane decided to bowl first. The first ball on a good length almost took the batsman’s head off so we were glad we weren’t batting. However, the Panthers got going and with some massive sixes quickly powered their way to 5/174 off 20. A new recruit, Kajal, a 17 yo young lady and in the Delhi U19 squad, was our best with 16 off 3 overs, while the Lollipop twins Shane and Eane both took 1/6.
When we came off, we discovered that what we thought were lights square of the wicket were actually cameras for their DRS! In the container which was the change room a TV set showed live action and side on shots for the third umpire to use! (See in the photos) Kevin Lanigan again made 34 ret and Shane Way 31 ret, but without the power hitters of the Panthers we fell short by 30 odd runs. But another terrific day followed by a trip to Virender’s helmet factory to see the human production line. Very impressive. Tomorrow is our last match and back to Oz! Time seems to have flown!Day 13:Setting off at 9 for a 10 o’clock start, turned out to be 10:30 arrival and 11am start. Gotta love Delhi traffic! Today was a match against Madan Lal’s Academy XI at Siri Fort Sports Complex, which was used during the Commonwealth Games in 2010 for badminton. There is a driving range, shooting range and a Children’s museum and much more!
We batted first because Madan Lal had to leave, but he was gracious enough to bowl the first over to Eane Whitton, who was run out fourth ball but sensationally called back and went on to retire at 20. The wicket started keeping very low and runs were almost impossible to come by. From 0/36 in 9 overs we reached 6/50 in 20. Eventually we were bowled out for 105 in the second last over. Peter Anton, Greg Watsford and Shane Way all got double figures in a disappointing effort.
Our young lady Kajal took a wicket with her second ball and finished with 4/36 from her 6 overs. The Academy boys were belting us everywhere but we kept getting wickets, including a sensational catch by Ian Gibson behind the stumps. At 6/86 in the 14th over we had a rough chance, but a few lusty blows and the opposition were home. Presentations followed the match and a quick visit to Virender’s house for coffee on the way home was very much appreciated by the group. Our bus driver and his assistant were presented with a group tip before we disembarked and then it was onwards and upwards to the twelfth floor for the last time! A great social evening before the big flight home tomorrow.Day 14:The 12 hour flight home, not exciting but it has to be done. A fortnight of fantastic company and enjoyable cricket - substitute “shopping” for the girls! - has come to an end. We had a few Gippsland Goannas on the trip to fill up the numbers but they fitted in perfectly. As luck would have it, Richmond Union is drawn to play the Goannas on the long weekend, so we won’t have to wait long for a reunion. Thanks to everyone for making it a truly unforgettable tour. I can now call myself an international cricketer! Just don’t look too closely at the stats!