Friday, March 03, 2006

Curried favour

While some cricketers relish the sub-continent tours for both its cultural and culinary experiences, others concentrate on ensuring they see through three gruelling Test matches and a one-day series without a hiccup.

Cuisine is the main cause for concern, as England found to their cost before arriving in Nagpur. Nobok's legends, who are into their third day on commentary with Sky Sports, know all about that. Nasser Hussain, Ian Botham, David Gower and Mike Atherton all had bad experiences with sub-continental curries during their careers.

A fifth legend, Mike Gatting, will arrive for the second Test in Chandigarh as host of a cricket tour group, and it has been well documented what happened to Gatt after a night sampling prawns in a Chinese restaurant in Madras.

But what of other past tourists? Abdul Razzaq, the Pakistan all-rounder who has produced some thunderous sixes down the order in his time, sticks to a spinach diet when away on tours. Suffering from nausea, Razzaq was told this special diet would put an end to his problems, but they have stubbornly refused to go away.

There is no such luck when it comes to stomach problems or Delhi Belly as well. It happened to New Zealand on their tour to India in 1988 when a bug ripped right through the heart of the side. So threadbare was it, the management had to haul former captain Jeremy Coney down from the commentary box as a fielder.

At least England will have four to choose from if the same happens here.