The queue for the eagerly anticipated Third Airtel Test Match stretched around the walls of this iconic old ground. The promise of a day’s play at the home of Indian Cricket, the redoubtable Eden Gardens.
Rather than looking contemplative, the emotions etched on the faces of the gathering crowds was of collective resignation. What was it going to be today?

Every morning of every Test has been the same. A farcical inspection of your possessions and a full-on frisk of your person, rigidly carried out by at least four gopherish police officers, one after the other, each with their own take on the rules of confiscation, as their overbearing, weasel faced Colonel Blimp-like superiors look on, and occasionally join in (especially the frisking). Next in line to the BCCI come the Indian Police Force.
Utterly loathsome. Together they form a horribly tyrannous alliance.

Cameras? No, you’ll sell your pictures to unaccredited sources who will print them thus undercutting any BCCI profits. Bottles of water? No, you’ll use them as missiles. Insect repellant? No, could be used as missiles and you could spray people with it, thus inciting a riot. Barely read copies of The Times of India? No, you’ll set light to them and use them as missiles. Bottles of suntan lotion? No, you could use them as missiles and inadvertently slather someone with it, thus inciting a riot, albeit a nicely bronzed one. Bananas? No, sorry sir, missiles etc etc.

Yes, really.

Everyday, the same scene. According to Lucky Paul’s mate Mark, the police in Mumbai, to their great amusement and his great embarrassment, made him eat a samosa he was cunningly trying to secrete into the ground in his pants in front of them.
What next, as one tour veteran opined in Ahmedabad, shoes?

So imagine my thoughts when I see a gargantuan stash of these being sold in the ground earlier today…..


So, we’ve got the idea here. Missiles are out. Right?

And, presumably, water bombs are definitely ok then?

Will the last sane person at the BCCI please turn out the lights?

Post Script: They tasted foul. The blue dye that came off on your hands as you drank made it worse.

Having said that, there are a few thousand England fans who would happily drink them all day for the next four days in return for more days like today. Superb start to a big, big game.