Friday, March 10, 2006

Sounding out a spot

Chandigarh is reputed to have one of the largest rose gardens in Asia. There are road lanes, speed limits (of sorts) and the PCA stadium here resembles Hampshire's Rose Bowl. Even Jerusalem rang out over the tannoy before play today; all sweet memories of England. So it was even more of a comfort when I passed a local whose mobile ringtone rang out the BBC's Rugby Special theme tune.


While colleagues back home are having trouble sending material to the office from Cardiff and Dublin, life couldn't be much easier when it comes to filing in India. Expecting the usual trouble of forgotten leads and connection problems, it has been a revelation that each ground's press box has been equipped with wi-fi internet speeds. I'm sure the England and Wales Cricket Board could learn a thing or two from this, especially when told at Nagpur that these initiatives were first planned four years ago.


"Right, whose up for doing some radio commentary for the next five days?" This was the BBC's Jonathan Agnew's line when he walked into the press box minutes before play was due to begin. TMS were having technical difficulties among other problems in their box and Aggers could be heard muttering that it was the worst he'd seen in 15 years.

The former Leicestershire and England bowler is not new to these experiences. In 2001 he was locked out of the Galle cricket ground over a radio dispute and had to commentate from the Galle fort during the England-Sri Lanka Test. It also got worse for Five Live's Kevin Howells. Filing his first radio report of the day from the press box, the scorer couldn't have timed his moment better to inform us of the runs total over his loud microphone.


So Geoff Boycott had to be content with a press box viewing until the troubles were ironed out. It wasn't the first time the written media had heard his voice on this tour. Freddie Flintoff was giving his post-match conference in Nagpur when his comments were suddenly drowned out by the Yorkshireman's voice a full two partitioned walls away.