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Fog and frisking end India tour

Phil Long | 15:58 UK time, Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Another tour of India, albeit one with a tragic twist that overshadowed much of the cricket played, came to an end here in chilly Chandigarh.

The events of Mumbai are still fresh in the mind for all of us who were in India on that fateful night and led to some hasty itinerary changes once it had been confirmed that the Test matches would go ahead.

Internal flights had to bought at extremely short notice - at sky high prices - and some of the routes home to the UK for Christmas from Chandigarh have to be heard to be believed!

But whether they travelled up from the first Test in Chennai or flew in from the UK for just this Test England's supporters will take away two enduring memories above all others - the frisking and the fog.

Let's start with the fog, which delayed the start of play on the last three days.

A Punjab police officer surveys a foggy scene

This wasn't just any ordinary mist but, at times, a good old fashioned pea-souper that enveloped the city until the midwinter sun finally broke through in mid-to-late morning.

One really had to feel sorry for those fans who were expecting a week in the Mumbai sun, having booked up many months ago, and who found themselves shivering in the Hotel Majestic as they sipped hot tea waiting to hear news on the prospects of play.

It was as far as could be removed from the images usually associated with cricket in India - imagine cricket at Headingley, not in April, but in December itself and you get the general picture!

But the fog was just a minor inconvenience compared to the searches conducted by Punjab Police officers of spectators wanting to enter the PCA Stadium to watch the Test.

The authorities in had promised to throw a 'ring of steel' around the stadium and they were as good as their word.

Around half a kilometre from the ground tickets were quickly checked and preliminary frisks, all normal and straightforward, took place.

However, it was at the gates to the ground where things got more 'interesting'.

Imagine if you will - and I'll make this all as polite as possible - four policemen assigned to ensure that each and every spectator is not trying to smuggle anything untoward into the stadium.

Now imagine two of those policeman sitting on chairs, one of whom is to check, very, very thoroughly, that you aren't smuggling anything alongside or underneath what we might call 'the family jewels' and the other whose role is to ensure that you haven't got anything hidden 'round the back' - and meanwhile, the other two more policemen are checking the usual places including a very close examination of your armpits!

Wait, because there's more.

You then turn into the gate itself and there are four more policemen to repeat the process and do an even more thorough and intimate job . It's no exaggeration to say that in parts of the world some people pay good money for a lot less!

On a personal level, however, the draw at Mohali was as good as it got for me.

Having missed England's initial warm-up victory in Mumbai, it was a sorry tale of seven defeats and a draw as I made my way by train across this massive but fantastic country.

It's been a long slog without an England victory to cheer, but as ever in India, other than maybe just one win, I wouldn't have changed a thing.


  • Comment number 1.

    Why on earth do they retain the same times for lunch on curtailed days is a mystery. If one sport shoots iteslf in the foot, its certainly cricket. A two-test series is absurd. I cannot believe Jonathan Agnew is so naive as to criticise India for not declaring. Why should any team do so ? You win a war, not a battle.

  • Comment number 2.

    I totally agree-why would india even give england a sniff of a chance to draw the series? They played the better cricket and deserved to win! Even the last over from dhoni showed just how little respect india had for englands cricketers-but england didnt do anything to earn this repect! And as for the fog and lunch breaks-farcical at best! Also why is this guy complaining about being frisked-would make me feel so much safer being there

    England are in decline
    Flintoff and Swann battled hard-i do rate broad but the rest of our attack is pitiful-It seither source new stock or go back to hoggard and jones!

    Bell is a waste of space at 3 not good enough! Cook is in a similar mode but can and has scored hundreds more often under pressure just needs the consistency collingwood who i always rated maybe now needs to be replaced-the last 12 months he has gone back into his shell after finally breaking through-flintoff is too high at 6 and prior has done what every keeper has the last 3 years-impressed to start and gone backwards-pick mustard for odi games

    The ashes could be embarrasing as england wont take 20 wickets all series

  • Comment number 3.

    aggers has lost the plot even yesterday on tms when he reminstraited with ravi shashtri stating a the indians had a duty to promote test cricket in the region and had not done so with thier attitude on the forth and fifth days i always thought the only duty of a test team is to win the test seris aggers get a grip

  • Comment number 4.

    KP should be proud - as should the rest of the squad and management team. Ok we lost 1-0 BUT the fact the guys went back, played competitively - in fact that they played at all, was just immense. The game means just about everything to the whole Indian population. Going back showed real solidarity to a country currently producing some of the world's most exciting cricket while also having more than it's fair share of problems. Meanwhile, Stephen Fry for President - or maybe Queen, whichever he prefers.

  • Comment number 5.

    Plus points from this tour was that India did not doctor the pitches as much as usual.

    Yuvraj was a bit of a disgrace and quite fat but overall this is the best discipline India have ever managed.

    I can' t remember the last series Indian players did not get fined or banned so well done India.

  • Comment number 6.

    The England team gave Yuvraj stick as well, so it's not as if Yuvraj was antagonizing some of the England players without rhyme or reason. In the first test, the England players wound him up, and Yuvraj gave some back. Yes, some of his gestures were OTT, but it takes two to tango, and England were involved in sledging in the first test that engendered the fued between Yuvraj and Pietersen. I am not denying that Yuvraj was childish in some of his actions, but a disgrace? No, I don't think so.

    Anyway, Pietersen himself didn't seem to make too much of it, so I think it will be forgotten about.

  • Comment number 7.

    England don't have it in them to win and now we know they don't have it within them to loose graciously.

    All excuses. Got beaten 5-0 in one days of 5 matches. And ran home, the sorry state of Bombay took eyes off the poor performance.
    There were no questions asked of the performance of players.

    Next the tests, England started brilliantly in tests and could have won the first, record breaking performance won it for India.

    Second test no performance from England at all.

    I'm surprised you talk about fog, no one talks about the rain which is why England won the ashes in 2005. Why the ball swung more for Harmisson, Anderson and Flintoff. It was the rain before English were bowling the same did not happen for Australia.

    Sore loosers. and will never win till you get off excuses and start to play.

  • Comment number 8.

    After the England team's brave decision to continue the tour despite the perceived security threat (or even if they did it for IPL reasons), I think it is a shame that India decided to waste the last match away for such a ridiculously selfish goal of allowing individual centuries.

    It wasn't even as if they were looking to save the match! They could have given England a big thank you with a sporting declaration. That would have been the best compliment for the English team, to make their visit to India worth their while.

  • Comment number 9.

    England were dire throughout the tournament. Awful in the warm-up games, atrocious in the one-dayers and managed to turn a winning position in the First Test into a defeat. As for the Second Test, they didn't deserve to win and Aggers, England could have had another day to bat but had India really wanted to turn the screw, they would have done.

    There are some plus points from the tour for England; Swann looks like he could be more than useful for the Ashes, K.P played a fine innings in the final test and Freddie is bowling well again. However there are many areas for concern; Panesar was inadequate, Collingwood and Bell would struggle to get a game for Zimbabwe and the pace attack doesn't look inspiring.

    The attitude of the players to return after the Mumbai tragedy should be applauded but one suspects they also had one eye on the IPL when this decision was made as well. Finally, when will they ever learn? If they concentrated on actually playing the game and spent a little less time sledging then we might see results; India can back up their words with actions, our boys can't and it all looks a bit pathetic.

    As for the Ashes, I can't see it being another walkover for Oz because they are now in serious decline, but it still could be a very hard summer for England unless there is drastic change.

  • Comment number 10.

    "no one talks about the rain which is why England won the ashes in 2005. Why the ball swung more for Harmisson, Anderson and Flintoff. It was the rain before English were bowling the same did not happen for Australia. "

    webdeepak - that is quite possibly the biggest load of nonsense I have seen typed on a computer screen

  • Comment number 11.

    don't agree to the point that England won ashes due to the rain, weather or any climatic conditions. it sounds so bizarre and childish to give such lame excuses like weather was not good or one of the player in the team was not feeling well. I run a business of packers movers in bangalore, sometimes i loose my business to my competitors. if loose my business no matter what the reason was i should not justify or crying. Accept reality be it in personal life, professional life or sports. England deserved to win ashes and they did. Just accept it


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