(Note to readers: 'The Enemy Camp' will be the tongue-in-cheek name for Yahoo! Cricket's coverage of the English press during India's tour of England.)
Lord's. The 2000th Test match. The 100th between England and India. And there's a huge milestone Sachin Tendulkar is expected to cross.
But as things stand, cricket is the last thing on the minds of some members of the Marylebone Cricket Club, who are miffed at 'inappropriately' dressed female spectators at Lord's. In 1999, women were allowed into the MCC after a 212-year-long ban.
There are now 50 female members, who sit alongside some of the 18,000 male members sporting their yellow and pink striped ties, pocket handkerchiefs and blazers. Some of the men, whose average age is 57, have protested that the women are not required to wear jackets.
But the biggest concern seems to be that some women are just too scruffy. One member said the cricket maidens wear “garb fit for a vigorous weeding session in the herbaceous border”.
Another complained that two women were seen wearing jeans – which are banned – in the famous Long Room. The member said: "One pair had several large holes in them." Insiders say standards have slipped since members were allowed to bring two guests into the pavilion rather than one for Twenty20 matches at Lord’s this season.
Coming back to Tendulkar. Angus Fraser — incidentally the bowler Tendulkar drove for four to bring up his first Test hundred — recalls the 1990 series.
It may seem something of a major oversight now, but I do not remember Tendulkar occupying a huge amount of our time at team meetings during that series. Yes, we were aware that we were playing against a highly-rated 17-year-old who looked pretty tasty. But at the time it was the genius of Mohammad Azharuddin who was occupying the focus of England's bowlers. Azharuddin had struck a brilliant 83-ball hundred against England in the first Test at Lord's and a thrilling 179 in the first innings at Old Trafford. Tendulkar was good but nobody would have predicted him achieving what he has.
Lawrence Booth pays his tribute in Daily Mail:
So many stats swirl around Sachin Tendulkar that the effect can be dizzying - like staring too long at the Taj Mahal. You may have gathered that the man they call the Little Master is diminutive in the physical sense alone. By any other measure he is monumental. Tendulkar has played 631 times for India in all formats, scored nearly 33,000 runs and hit 99 hundreds.
But the number most likely to induce vertigo is a simple date: 1989. On November 15 that year, only six days after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Tendulkar first played for India.
Former England seamer Matthew Hoggard points out Tendulkar's poor record at Lord's. In seven Test innings, he has failed to cross 40.
It is 10 innings, if you count three ODIs. We'll discount the blistering 125 he made for the World XI against MCC XI in 1998. But Hoggard concedes: "Yes, on his day Tendulkar is No 1."
An aside: a lot of experts use this vague "on-his-day" parameter to define brilliance. The question is, who isn't fantastic on his day? On his day, Australia couldn't get Javagal Srinath out.
Time to bin this expression.
“Since 2005, I have not spent much time with my family,” he said, thinking back to the year of his Test debut against Sri Lanka. “In fact I have spent more time at the Taj Lands End in Mumbai. It was my 100th visit recently, which means I have spent more than 400 days in that hotel, and that is a lot more than I have spent with my family.
“I feel awful as I am talking right now,” he added, “because I miss my parents. But at the same time I know I will have fair amount of time with my parents once I finish cricket, after these two, or three, or four years - whatever it is. My wife tells me when I am not around at the house, 80 per cent of the conversation is about me. But I told my dad, this is the time when I am doing something for the country, and the country comes first. I feel he really understands that.”
Stuart Broad writes in his latest column for Daily Mail:
There’s also been much talk about my role in the England team and this term ‘enforcer’. I don’t know if that’s the word for it but part of my job is to bowl with aggression and hostility. If I’m told to rough people up, that’s what I’ll try to do. My bouncer has been effective and is a big weapon in my armoury but I know I can’t overdo it.
It is unclear if Broad will be in the starting line-up tomorrow. There's the usual talk about bouncing Indian batsmen.
Chris Tremlett, with his 6'7 height, would play a similar role for England. His dad, former Hampshire pacer Tim, tells the BBC:
"He's got big hands and a big mouth and that has been his party trick from a very early age," says Tremlett senior with a smirk.
Other links worth your time:
- Andy Bull recounts the greatest spell in cricket history: 10-10 by Yorkshire's Headley Verity, who eventually succumbed to a German bullet during World War II.
- Nasser Hussain sizes up the Indian team
- A collection of vintage cricket photos
- Geoff Boycott says the ICC All-Time Dream XI — loaded with four Indians and a Pakistani — is a joke.
- The Telegraph comments on a Hindi news channel's dramatic reporting of the window-smashing incident at Lord's. [Photos of the incident on Y!C]