Like the balloon in The Prisoner or the rubbish car lying ominously in wait for the losing competitor in a Top Gear three car challenge, something in my hotel room steadfastly refuses to go away. A tomato soup-red tourist leaflet advertising Amdavad City Sights.
I’ve told myself I’ll sign up for this when I run out of things to do in Gujurat’s second city.

Ahmedabad is a nice enough city. I like its people, its restaurants, its traffic jams, its endearingly shambolic fusion of old and new world architecture. Its tuk-tuk drivers are probably the most obliging and least argumentative I’ve come across anywhere in Asia.
I just don’t have the urge to immerse myself in it like I do other cities in this marvellous nation.

At lunch on the third day of the Test Match, there was a good chance I was going to be taking in the BRTS Bus Route, the Nirma University and the Rani Sipri (Didn’t he do the original version of It Must Be Love?*) Mosque among the other highlights of the aforementioned city tour. At tea, I was going to be doing this twice. Plus revisiting the National Utensil Museum of India for good measure.

I have come to India to watch cricket. Thanks to the tenacity and temperament of Messrs Cook and Compton, there’s a good chance I’ll get my wish of five days cricket at the Sardar Patel Gujurati Stadium rather than taking part in the Indian equivalent of The Stevenage Experience.

My attitude is probably appalling. The Rough Guide writers will be lining up to chastise me for my cynical viewpoint. Thing is, and all due to respect to The Gurjar Tourism Development Society and the upstanding citizens of this upstanding city, I’m quite happy to go through life having never had a dip in the Kankaria Lake or found out what the Adalaj Step Well is.

So bat on, my brave lads, bat on. I want to be sharing my thoughts with you all on the first game of A. N. Cook’s glorious England reign come blog-time Monday evening rather than giving you an inexhaustible account of the IIM, whatever one of those is.

England need a day’s worth of what they produced in the last session today. Two day’s worth really. We know the pitch is going to break up, that India’s spinners will want to have this sewn up tomorrow having completely dominated for the first half of this encounter. We know England have played very poorly for most of this Test, but they have two days to sort this mess out.
They have the ability and the players to do this, plus a new captain desperate to lay down a positive marker in his first match in charge.

There’s about two hundred people here, plus several million back home who hope they can achieve this. Otherwise your correspondent will have to change his name to Number Six….

Or Blakey.

*Hello Will! Hello Sian! X

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