World T20 2016 Diaries – A much-needed lesson on punctuality

Inzamam-ul-Haq Afghanistan

As a kid, I was always punctual. On time every place I went. In fact almost always before time.

Some way down the years I seem to have lost that habit. I mean, I still am yet to miss a flight or a train because I usually am one of the earliest patrons to the airport or the station, but there are other occasions when I miscalculate stuff. Despite math having been my most favourite subject in school.

This is the precursor to the second lesson I learn this World T20 – and we are just on day two of my World T20 coverage – and it’s to do with punctuality. Or if I were to be less harsh on myself, calculate my timings a tad better.

The Dutch practice is supposed to end at 1 pm and I am expected to speak with one of their cricketers. At least I am hoping I do but combine a broken shower, a last-minute stopover at the gas-station and a general lack of idea about the road to the stadium despite being on it for the second day in running – my sense of direction is a lot poorer than my math – I get to the ground 10 minutes late.

Read: Six pauses in a six-step run-up

Later than the scheduled end-time. One day I will discover the switch to the Google Maps of my brains.

I still see players, except they are the Afghan players and not the Dutch. There goes. Lesson learnt.

And so for the second day running, watch the Afghanistan team go through their drills. Today, Inzy is a lot cooler though. Which is good news because the Afghan media manager is able to convince him to talk to us.

No questions on India-Pakistan cricket is his only condition. Fine by us, we are interested in Afghanistan alone. He’s happy to explain how the domestic structure in Afghanistan is changing for the better, which is good news too.

Shapoor Zadran speaks to us too. He understands English but prefers answering in his native language, which is fun to hear despite understanding not a word. The media manager is happy to translate it for us.

The only word we understand of the interview is Shoaib Akhtar. He wanted to bowl as fast as Akhtar but admits he only managed to get his run-up as long as him. Funny chap.

Later, the Oman side, led by their coach, Duleep Mendis gets to their practice. The media manager is more obliging in that he allows us a one-on-one interview with a few of their players. I speak to their Indian-born speedster Munis Ansari and Karachi-born batsman Zeeshan Siddiqui.

Ansari left India when he didn’t make the Ranji Trophy for reasons he says he cannot fathom. Siddiqui did the same because of financial issues. Both have touching stories to narrate.

On my drive back, I stop my car at a signal like all law-abiding citizens should.

I am checking my mobile phone too. Like how all law-abiding citizens should not.

I hear the siren of a police van behind me and I think I am going to stopped for checking my phone but at the same split second, I also realise I cannot be stopped if I am already stopped.

Umm, anyway, the traffic cop in front tells me to start the car and get going despite the signal because, lo and behold, behind me is a police van manning the Oman team bus.

The fan in me wants to get out of the car and run after it for autographs. Or selfies.

Then I realise I have an angry-looking traffic cop to contend with in front of me and I quietly put my car into gear and race off.

About Suneer Chowdhary 121 Articles
Cricket Analyst | Freelance Cricket Writer | Cricket Radio | Cricket Videos | Football | Tennis

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