Thursday, 24 January 2013


As the wintry weather causes Scottish cricketers to shiver and wish they were in warmer climes - somewhere like India for example - comes the news that the final ODI in the series between India and England may be in doubt because of snow.  When Fantasy Bob first heard that he wondered, he is aware that anytime snow hits London it is an event only slightly more serious than the ending of the world.  But to cancel a cricket match 5000 miles away because of snow in St Johns Wood did seem a bit wimpish, even by London standards.  But then FB looked again and noted that the match is to be held in Dharamsala which is 1500m up in the Himalayas.  Exactly which genius administrator thought that this was a good idea is unclear, but he successfully tapped into the rich store of irony in the world.  Or was he thinking ahead and trying to help English players by getting them used to the temperatures likely to prevail at the start of the English season.

Dharamsala - a rival to GrangeLoan
A winter that went so well for England in the triumphant Test series has turned very flat in the ODIs and India have already wrapped up the series by virtue of their relatively simple win in Mohali.  This is disappointing for a number of reasons, not least because England were looking a force to be reckoned with in the ODI game on the back of their results last year.  And KP was in the ranks and fully committed to the cause.  But neither bowling nor batting was good enough against the Indian and some serious thinking will be required if England are to realise the World Cup ambitions.  The ICC Trophy will be a serious test of the progress they have made in this form of the game and there is still doubt about what their best side should be.  Root and Treadwell seem to have been the successes of the series but others didn't deliver.  So lots of homework for Ashley Giles in the coming weeks.

Grange Loan on a snow free day
But to return to the snow.  FB has seen the Dharamsala stadium on TV during last year's IPL.  It is a scenic triumph with the snow capped steeples of the Himalayas providing a dramatic backdrop which in world cricket is only rivalled by the majesty of Arthur's Seat towering above Grange Loan, home of go ahead Edinburgh cricket club Carlton.  And Grange Loan also shares with Dharamsala the risk that play will be prevented by snow.

The Dalai Lama
- thinking about becoming an umpire
While FB is loath to admit any superiority over Grange Loan, he has to acknowledge that Dharamsala is ahead in spiritual leadership, since it is home to the Dalai Lama.  The Dalai Lama has attended at least one IPL match at Dharamsala - incurring the wrath of the Chinese who issued a statement saying he pretended to like cricket to ingratiate himself with the Indians.  FB does not know whether the Dalai Lama intends to attend England's match - far less whether he will confer spiritual comfort on the players.  On his previous visit to the ground he is reported to have had a spiritual dialogue with the players before play and blessed them with white silk scarves.  Such a blessing could make all the difference for English players.

As FB has noted, Carlton is a bit behind Dharamsala at this kind of thing.  Players at Grange Loan have to do with the spiritual guidance issued by the Doughty Groundsman, which has the merits of being considerably more direct and less enigmatic than many of the Dalai Lama's utterances.


  1. The DG tells me that he has the greatest of respect for peace loving religious leaders of all persuasions. He therefore would not wish anyone to think that his own 'direct and less enigmatic' utterances are in some way superior to those of the Dalai Lama.

    He, however, fully intends to say what he thinks, particularly when faced with yet another lamentable attempt by some group of players or another to put the covers on. He would not see that, though, as constituting spiritual guidance.

    1. FB understands that players attempting to put the Grange Loan covers on have always found the words of the DG of great comfort in their time of trouble.