It has been a brutally cold January – by Indian standards anyway – and, although Delhi has not suffered the same foggy weather and associated delays as last winter, it has been bloody cold. We have had heaters running day and night in a place that spends eight months of the year above 40oC. It is a bizarre climate and, more than once, I’ve longed to be back on the white-sand beaches of the idyllic Andaman Islands!
The cold weather, however, has been good for productivity, so, on the work front, my India Whitewater book is roaring along and looking on track for our March 31st deadline with its release still scheduled for May 2011. In stark contrast to my book’s speedy progress, preparations for next month’s Cricket World Cup have been somewhat less impressive…
The only thing colder than the January weather in Delhi was the heart of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) scoundrel who announced on last the day of the month that India vs. England, arguably the biggest match in the first round of the Cricket World Cup, had been shunted from Kolkata to Bangalore. Speculation about a venue switch had been rife ever since the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced after a recent inspection of Eden Gardens that renovation work was so far behind schedule that the ground was unfit to host the big World Cup showdown: a grudge match between India and the former colonial masters.
So here we go again … you remember the Common Wealth Games fiasco? Well, history is repeating itself as India, yet again, fails to impress on the world stage. While cricket fans are left reeling from the ICC announcement that Kolkata’s Eden Gardens isn’t ready for the World Cup (which starts in less than three weeks), it’s the financial sting of the decision that hurts supporters the most. Cancelling flights, hotels and match tickets without recourse to compensation is the final insult and a sharp slap in the face for avid cricket aficionados from India and abroad. Yet, nothing changes; the same inept villains retain their jobs, no one is hung out to dry by the Indian media for incompetency and all we get is the same nonchalant head bobble, a shrug of the shoulders and the far from placating phrase … “Well this is India!”
So I’ll sign off with the news that twenty mates and me are about to get cracking on cancelling our Kolkata flights and hotels, before investigating whether heading to Bangalore is even a feasible option. Well done India – you very successfully punished our forward planning and thwarted our best attempts at efficiency, yet again!