India ia a nation of cricket fanatics. The wound is still raw from India's shellacking at Britain's hand losing all five matches in their recent tour of England. The Indians have won the first three matches of the British tour in India. As we arrived back at our hotel in Mumbai today, the team was just boarding their bus to go out and face England in the fourth of five matches. Opposite us on the square in front of India Gate, there were throngs of excited fans, cheering and waving each time another player came out to the bus. There three army men with machine guns pointing out from an armored vehicle protecting the illustrious coup. (this was the Taj hotel where the attack and siege took place some years ago.). Our Indian friends tell us that India won't be satisfied with anything less than a five-game whitewash to redeem their pride.
We also saw cricket at the local level today at the Oval Maiden. The pictures you see were taken from the walkway midway of the field, which must have measured at least four football fields in length. There were myriad games going on, of varying degrees of formality, some teams with uniforms, some not, some all in white with an official referee. But here's the kicker: the pitches the games were being played on were all overlapping. The fielders from one game might be standing behind the wicket of a game two or threes over from their own game. Deliciously Indian. Just like road traffic. Thank goodness they were playing with a tennis ball, because a regular hard cricket ball could have been perilous, since a ball could arrive from one of many games.