Match-day. Warm-up games alright but at least there’s some real cricket.
Make no mistake, I love watching nets, it gives a totally different perspective about players. The only flip to watching the players during the net session is the access to media is usually in such a way, it’s tough to watch it.
Usually, it’s a tad far and from angles which could make one suffer a back spasm more frequently than the cricketers themselves.
Netherlands take on Afghanistan in the first game & I am in time for the toss. Afghanistan call it right & bat. There are a few run-outs in their innings & those are run-outs from at least the distance of an entire pitch. One is probably by more than that; the batsman’s already crossed the other end’s stumps by when those at the other end are broken.
I am particularly interested in watching Michael Rippon bowl. Had seen him in the Dutch nets on the first day & was immediately impressed by his control. Oh and did I tell you, he bowls left-arm chinaman. An invaluable quality to possess in these conditions – in any conditions in fact – if one can maintain one’s control.
He’s not as effective on the day but he’s also given only two overs. Probably preserving him for the main games. At least I hope so.
Also interesting to see the articulate Peter Borren isn’t playing, which means he’s not captaining either. Pieter Seelar takes over the reins. Netherlands fail to chase down 153, falling short by 16.
We get the opportunity to speak with Afghanistan’s Samiullah Shenwari & surprise surprise, there are only three questions asked of him. Even he’s surprised. Wants to leave with one of the Gatorade bottles but is politely informed by the ICC guy it’s not cold enough. Double disappointment for Shenwari.
At this point, I also get a chance to interview Tom Cooper, Ben’s brother. Ben, I had spoken to, on day one. Tom was in the middle of his nets that day, so I excused myself but finally get my chance to speak with him.
Here’s also where I learn my third lesson in three days. This is fast turning out to be an eye-opener of a tournament.
I have my questions for Tom on my mail draft but while in the middle of them, I end up clicking on a button I shouldn’t have. There’s no internet and the page where I had the questions stored, crashes. My questions vanish and I am left to improvise.
Do a woeful job of it. Manage an interview alright but could have been so, so better had I asked all of them.
Moral of the story, back your questions up on your mobile phone or as a friend later suggests, by taking screen-shots.
That disappointment is offset to an extent by a follow back from Michael Rippon on Twitter. Safe to say he’s the first current cricketer to follow me. A jig in the middle of the press box is never a good idea, so I do a mental one. Like a head-bang. But a milder version of it.
Oman win the second warm-up game of the day against Scotland.
I am beginning to like this Oman team. Players are very accessible, easy to speak to, and most importantly are happy to do it.
They also have some interesting players. Like there’s Munis Ansari I had spoken to the previous day & I watch him bowl in the game. His action is Lasith Malinga-like.
There’s also a left-arm spinner in their ranks, Ajay Lalcheta whose action is a sum total of all the pauses Ravichandran Ashwin must have taken in his life while bowling. Like six steps in his run-up and almost six pauses before he finally decides on whether or not he wants to release the ball.
The Scotland batsmen look confused too and end up surrendering three wickets to him and the match to Oman.