The Case Against (and For) Ahmedabad
by Devanshu Mehta
Jayaditya Gupta recounts the case against Ahmedabad as an international cricket destination:
Scyld Berry unequivocally called it “without doubt the most unpopular venue on the whole international cricket circuit”. Michael Henderson, writing after England’s engagement here on their 2001-02 tour: “Rarely can a group of sportsmen have been so relieved to put a place behind them, a place of dirt, unrelieved boredom, inadequate facilities, no booze, and, in England’s case, illness.” More recently Paul Winslow of the Barmy Army said Ahmedabad had “little else to offer” other than cricket.
Jayaditya Gupta’s adopted home is Ahmedabad. It’s mine as well– I’ve spent every summer and many weekends of my childhood there, playing lonely cricket against a wall, playing cricket with family, playing book cricket, playing the table-top cricket game Gold Cup, watching cricket, and so forth.
Some day, I’ll write an ode to Gold Cup. And to book cricket. And to lonely cricket against a wall.
Gupta tries to lay down the case for the city:
Yet slowly I saw the similarity with, first, my native east – in the sweetness, metaphorically, of the language, and in the sweetness, literally, of the food – and with the West, in the professionalism of my colleagues, in their time-management (time is money: in the six years I spent in Gujarat, not one day’s work was missed on account of a general strike or political agitation, unlike the countless man-days lost in union-run Bengal). I saw a society that was inherently democratic, reflected in the universal suffix “bhai” or “ben” appended to all names, regardless of age, caste, creed.