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VIDEO BLOG: 36 Hours in Sangli

May 1, 2010

I’ve loved my time on the bike since Goa. As I’ve headed inland towards Hyderabad, I have begun to get used to eating curry for every meal, the villagers have got more and more friendly, and I’ve had penty of opportunity to witness the passion Indians hold for cricket.

Since I left Lord’s on my bike in October, I’ve been called foreigner, white man, friend, Mister, Mr English, Sir, Mr Oli and, on Australian radio promoting the expedition a while back, I was introduced as a ‘cricket tragic’ and a ‘cricket nut.’ Tragic I may be, but stand me next to an Indian, and my enthusiasm for the game begins to look rather pale.

Most kids in India have never strapped on batting pads, have never held a decent bat or bowled with a real cricket ball. They have never worn whites or been taught how to play a textbook cover drive. And yet there’s no doubt in my mind that this is cricket’s heartland. It’s a place where every kid grows up dreaming of being the next Tendulkar or Sehwag, and where cricket dominates male conversation like football does every else in the world. It’s refreshing, and very infectious.

I was cycling through extremely poor villages on Tuesday afternoon – subsistence farm after subsistence farm – when a motorbike pulled up alondside me on a particularly busy and narrow stretch of road. Motorcyclists in this part of the world seem to share Morrisey’s opinion that being hit by a ten ton ruck would be a nice way to go. I wish they wouldn’t. But on this occasion, before I had time to lose my temper, the passenger (there are always at least two, and normally a family of 4 or 5 on Indian motorbikes) asked me, in good English, why on earth I was cycling in such heat. As we rode along he told me that he was a budding filmmaker from Sangli, a town some 30kms down the road. Still riding along, we decided to make a film at a couple of cricket venues in his town.

During 36 hours in Sangli we filmed and edited this short movie. Huge Thanks to Kapil and Amit for slowing down to chat to me from the seat of their motorbike, to the Maharashtran Cricket Board for asking me to toss the coin before the match, and especially to the young cricketers of Sangli, for showing that you don’t need any money to have a great game of cricket, just a bundle of energy and enthusiasm.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Brian Read permalink
    May 1, 2010 6:42 am

    Fantastic, fascinating and informative and enjoyable…….and VERY professional. A great insight into grass roots cricket.
    All power to your legs,

  2. May 1, 2010 6:54 am

    awesome Oli!! congrats to the guys…

  3. Dad permalink
    May 1, 2010 8:09 am

    Maybe we are a bit biased but what a great clip that shows yout trip and India at its very best. Congratulations to Amit and Kapil on a superb effort: lets hope the rest of the India embraces you in the same manner but dont forget you’ve got to get to Australia! Remember our advice when you were young: “Never talk to strangers”! Sorry. Love from us all

  4. May 1, 2010 9:39 am

    Everyone at Caldicott is very proud of you. Fascinating insight into cricket in India. Keep going. With very best wishes, Simon Doggart

  5. Gabs permalink
    May 1, 2010 12:16 pm

    This is by far the best video so far. Moving. You’re doing so extraordinarily well. Well done.
    Gabs 😉

  6. Hemmerfru permalink
    May 1, 2010 1:09 pm

    This sound great! I’m gearing up for some long rides (not a patch on your efforts) and your adventures are really inspiring me. Thanks!

  7. Annie permalink
    May 1, 2010 5:50 pm

    what a wicked video pops!! the boys did good. xx

  8. David permalink
    May 2, 2010 5:02 pm

    great job on the film, well done. especially your knowledge on the wicket!
    and the kids are loving it..almost as much as my kids are loving me being their new cricket coach! Take it easy

  9. Stuart permalink
    May 2, 2010 9:47 pm

    Great to see whay pleasure those kids get from minamal facilities,not an electronic game in sight,Who are the lucky ones??Well done for grabbing every opportunity.Keep biking LOL S and S

  10. Avinash Pol permalink
    May 3, 2010 5:54 am

    Hey Oli nice to see the video made by Kapil & Amit. They are my best friends from last many years, they are just awesome these guys are rock !!!!!!

  11. Mark Singleton permalink
    May 3, 2010 6:37 pm

    Great video lad – highly entertaining, think I’d be wearing more than a gumshield to keep on a track like that, in fact you might want a helmet just fielding in the outfield! Loving the updates, keep peddling buddy!

  12. laura permalink
    May 4, 2010 7:52 am

    the commentating is awesome!! and the hair isn´t as bad as I thought…

  13. Jayadeep Waghmare permalink
    May 4, 2010 5:50 pm

    Nice try…………Keep it up!!!

  14. May 6, 2010 7:53 am

    Good work.
    @jayadeep… Nice try to Amit & Kapil or Avinash??? [:D]

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