Remember Lucky Paul? Course you do. Affable Yorkshireman, great taste in ale, pies and literature. Appreciates the value of an extravagant leave outside the off-stump and sports a beard Brian Blessed would covet.
Does the pre-match Test Match handshake superstition thing with me.
Yeah you do.
Anyway, while I’ve been gadding about in the Antipodes bleaching my hair, getting punched by girls, drinking effete beer, doodling crappy of pictures of wonderful landscapes and the like much befitting a stereotypical middle class, southern softie fop, Paul’s been doing some reet tough, real Yorkshire man stuff, tha knows. Proper travelling.
Trekking in Nepal. Up some bloody big hills. For four weeks.
It even got cold once he said.
Then he went to a jungle with real animals with just a stick of bamboo for protection. He saw some big dangerous buggers too; rhinos, elephants and crocodiles.
I saw a small brown bird with a Morrissey quiff on my nature walk yesterday.
Allowing himself a day off, our man in Kathmandu headed for an afternoon’s international football at the Dasarath Rangasala Stadium for the match between Nepal and Pakistan.
The atmosphere was good. Borrowing heavily from the Indian Cricket Supporters’ How To Be A Real Fan Book, chants never got above the two-syllabled, high-decibel ‘Nep-al, Nep-al’, Mexican Waves cascaded around the two thirds full ground as the locals vociferously got behind their team.
The pitch resembled the Sir Viv Richards Stadium eight balls in, circa February 2009 (Hello Ben! Hello Dan!) which didn’t do a lot for the football, which needed all the help it could get. A lot of rolling around and play acting went on and sometimes a game of football threatened to break out. It seldom did.
As a man who’s spent a lot of time watching Sheffield Wednesday (Hello HT Nige!) and York City, Paul knows rubbish football when he sees it. Nepal v Pakistan was a pertinent example of this.
My beloved Luton, the Mighty Hatters, would hammer both teams according to our correspondent. Which as a barometer of quality says quite a lot.
And the result of the match?
I meet up with Lucky Paul for a Ferg Burger and a pint in Queenstown for the pre-Test Match Series England friendly before heading on to Dunedin, Wellington and Auckland for three weeks among the Barmy and the Beige.
Looking forward to it fella. Go well.