Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Wankhede chapter

An announcement was made over the scorer's microphone in the Press Box yesterday - by our very own Nobok Legend Farokh Engineer.

It came shortly after tea and began: "Hi I'm Farokh Engineer. Some of you may remember me...." although he didn't launch in to how he nearly scored a ton before lunch.

He was upset with sections of the Indian crowd and was embarrassed as a Bombayite. Farokh was having a drink with Andrew Flintoff and Matthew Hoggard the previous night and the pair were upset at the abuse the England captain was given on the field. Of the printable banners on view one read "Hoggie is a Doggie".

Booing Sachin Tendulkar and now barraging the England captain? What will happen if the Little Master gets a pair and Freddie does a lap of honour?


The Wankhede may look an imposing ground for the players in the middle, but on further inspection things are slightly different.

The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) built the Wankhede to take over from the Brabourne as Bombay's primary Test venue in 1975. It holds 50,000, floodlights were installed in 1996, but that's about the size of it.

If you can imagine a sloping glassed squash court then that's what the Press Box resembles. Dried paint which has dripped from hurried workmen is evident on the windows, while around the ground the seats have the same - only there's more dust.

Police security employed by the MCA has also been attendance and the treatment forced MCC president Robin Marlar to walk out in disgust at lunch on the first day; none was laid on anyway.


At the close of play press conference, even Indian journalists were amazed at the treatment handed out to the media. Half of the reporters were stopped from hearing what Andrew Strauss had to say, and a fight ensued, involving some British media.