Thursday, 15 November 2012

Downtown in Ahmedabad

Fantasy Bob faces a significant dilemma today.

Whether to give some consideration to the Test series between India and England which gets underway at 4.00 GMT; or whether to celebrate the 80th birthday of Petula Clark.

Looking good for nearly 80

Looking good for 4 Test series
Of course the 2 need not be mutually exclusive. The connection is self-evident.

All the pundits think England face a hard task.  There have been solid performances in the warm up games, but the quality of the opposition was not at the highest level.  There are anxieties over selection in the Indian camp, with worries about the batting line up.  Even so England's record in India tells against them and there is doubt as to whether their capitualtion against Pakistan's spin attack last winter was a one off, or has been forgotten.  Nevertheless all England's batsmen got some significant runs in their warm up games and they may feel more confident about striding out to bat on the dust bowls that they are bound to encounter.  Injuries to Finn and Broad have hampered the bowling preparation and the seam attack cannot expect too much assistance from these same dustbowls.

How long will it be therefore until the team begins to think of home and the wickets that they are used to?  how long before comes through their mind the refrain from Petula Clark's 1967 hit The Other Man's Grass is Always Greener?  

FB is surprised to find that this song, Petula Clark's only cricket song, got no higher than number 20 in the pop charts.  It seems worthy of greater respect.  It was part of the great string of hits Petula Clark had in the 60s with song-writer and producer Tony Hatch, the greatest of which was the evergreen Downtown.  Unlike The Other Man's Grass, however, Downtown has no cricketing significance.

Neither is Tony Hatch a cricketer of any note.  However as well as composing these fine songs for Petula Clark he also wrote a string of TV themes, including Neighbours and Emmerdale Farm.  But sports fans, including cricketers, may get more from his theme tune for the long lost BBC Sportsnight, which ran from 1968, when the BBC covered nearly all sports, to 1997, when they didn't.   Find the tune and titles from 1986 on this link.

There is an on line petition demanding a Damehood for Petual Clark.  If England make progress against India in this series, there should be an on line petition for a Knighthood (at least) for Alistair Cook.

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