Empty stands for most of the domestic cricket matches might well reflect the dwindling passion for the sport, especially when the big names are not to be seen in action.
But, for the 70-year-old Briton Peter Chismon, it is unbridled love for cricket which makes him go around even for the Ranji Trophy matches.
This former British Army officer, coming from Sussex, hometown of England spinner Monty Panesar, was here for the Mumbai-Hyderabad Ranji match and will be in Vizag for another domestic match.
He has planned out a schedule of 90 days exclusively to watch only cricket in India this time around. And it also happens to be his fifth visit here.
“I love the sport and am really delighted to witness these wonderful matches,” says Chismon, who interestingly never played big-time cricket, even while stressing that he has already watched 55 Tests at different venues across the world since 1994. In fact, he even was the scorer for the Test match between Australia and Bangladesh across the border.
“It was a rare honour for a normal fan like me. I will never forget that Test for Jason Gillespie scored a double century and was never picked again for Australia,” he says with a big smile.
A big fan of Hyderabad’s V.V.S. Laxman, he felt sad that he could not meet his favourite cricketer.
‘I love his wristy elegance. It would have been great to meet him,” says Chismon who will also watch the Nagpur Test between India and England next month. “I watched two of his Test hundreds too and he was a real special batsman”.