Kerala

Cricket fans of a rare breed flock to Wayanad

The English foursome prefer the less glamorous cricket circuit

You will not miss them at the Wayanad Cricket Stadium — four elderly foreigners watching intently the unofficial Test match between India-A and England Lions.

Harry Trapp, Phil Hilton, Jimmy Strong and Neil Fish have hardly missed a ball in the game. How can they, when they have taken the trouble to plan their tours to watch their team, England, live at the ground?

They have all retired from work, or semi-retired as Hilton says. “We got to know each other on another tour like this,” says the former printer. “I have been to several cricket-playing countries, including Australia, South Africa, and the West Indies.”

Fans travelling the world to watch their favourite teams is not unusual, but it would mostly be for big-ticket events like the football World Cup or Olympics. But, these men want to watch the less heralded events, including India’s Ranji Trophy.

In between, they were asked about a couple who had been visiting India for 15 years. Ian and Sue Jones could be seen at many Ranji venues. These men know them. “Sue died sometime back; she had been ill for the past few years,” says Trapp, who used to be a fire engineer. “But, Ian was planning to come for this match, but his train from Goa, where he is residing, was delayed. He had to cancel it.”

Meeting Dravid

After this match, the four men would travel to Mysuru for the second and final game of the series. When a newspaper wrongly said that match would also be held here, Fish got an opportunity to clarify with Rahul Dravid, the coach of India-A team. “While I was just outside the ground, I saw Mr. Dravid,” he says. “I said, ‘Congratulations Mr. Dravid on a wonderful career’ and then I asked him where the second match was. He said it was in Mysuru.” Trapp says they never bother the English cricketers with requests for selfies. “When we saw England coach Andy Flower we just wished him a good day,” he says. They are bowled over by the beauty of the ground. “It is the most beautiful ground I have seen in India,” says Fish.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 2:06:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/cricket-fans-of-a-rare-breed-flock-to-wayanad/article26226610.ece

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