Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 18 July 2018

World T20 diary, Day 13: Every sports journalist has a taxi story ... here’s mine

For use with Osman Samiuddin's Twenty20 World Cup Diary. 30 March 2016. Photo:  Osman Samiuddin/The National
For use with Osman Samiuddin's Twenty20 World Cup Diary. 30 March 2016. Photo: Osman Samiuddin/The National

30th March, Delhi

It is almost compulsory on any foreign travel for a journalist to have a cab story, so here is mine.

On Tuesday, after all four teams had completed their practice (England, England women, Australia women and New Zealand), I got into a cab to go back to my accommodation. India, incidentally, is all about Uber and Ola cabs now.

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Given where he was picking me up from, naturally, the driver wanted to know what I was doing. I told him I was a journalist. He asked how he could become one. I had no real answer for him. Watch a lot of sport and drift into writing about it? He did watch lots of it he told me. He understood cricket. Qualifications? Hmmm, sure, maybe.

He asked me where I sit to watch and I told him about the press box. He told me I was fortunate beyond how fortunate any man should be and I have to say, I could not disagree with him.

But the press box is a strange place. And this will sound like the mumblings of a man who perhaps does not realise how fortunate he is, but really, press boxes are often the worst place to watch cricket from.

The vast majority of them are enclosed so though the views are often great, you are essentially sitting behind a soundproof glass wall in what is a less glamorous corporate box. The idea supposedly to give journalists the peace and solitude they need to work in.

The press box at Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi has taken this to another level. The lounge behind the box has basically been dressed up so that it now looks like a snazzy airport lounge, or from some angles, maybe even a disco (purple lighting, white leather sofas, well-dressed people milling around to help).

But for me, however, open-air press boxes, of which very few if any remain, are the best. They are generally positioned lower and closer to the action, allowing you to watch as a fan. Which, to end, is really what we are.


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