The armchair pundits

Amol Gokhale
Tuesday, 26 June 2018

I was kind of back to the grind after the night at Nizhny Novgorod where I was more of an armchair pundit, discussing Colombia vs Poland game as Colombia comprehensively won 3-0.

On Monday, I went back to Moscow after four wonderful days in Nizhny Novgorod and it feels like I’m back where I belong. To those familiar announcements getting lost in the noisy metro, the usual Line 1 of metro to commute, and smiling faces in the Media Centre.

I was kind of back to the grind after the night at Nizhny Novgorod where I was more of an armchair pundit, discussing Colombia vs Poland game as Colombia comprehensively won 3-0.

The expert panel comprised an Indian journalist (me), an Indonesian journalist (John), host of our hostel (Yarick) and a fan of Man Utd from Manchester of course (Jake).

There was a guest appearance by another Englishman Jonathan in half-time break, and since it was break time, I and Jonathan talked about cricket.

It cannot get more cliched than this...

“Rahul Dravid is the best batsman I’ve seen play. I liked him more than Sachin Tendulkar, nobody comes close to him in Tests today. Dravid and Graeme Smith (former South African captain) are two best batsmen I have ever watched,” I quote Jonathan, and I knew, apart from football, how much he loved cricket.

He echoed the sentiment of many —T20 has somewhat affected Test cricket. “The matches get over within three days, nobody wants to grind it out, there’s no fun watching Test cricket anymore” he added.

It was a welcome distraction for me from football, while the other three listened to our conversation fascinatingly and Yarick was completely lost trying to understand how cricket is played. 

Cricket is not a simple game like Gary Lineker’s football.

On Monday night, the tiny kitchen of my hostel Nika-City again had a full house. The Russians were hoping for a win for Portugal and loss for Spain, as they know it would be difficult for their side to beat Spanish Armada. 

But their wish didn’t come true. Portugal and Iran match ended in a draw, and so did Spain against Morocco, and I was again on the receiving end of the banter. They knew, I wanted to see Spain in Moscow, I will get my wish fulfilled on July 1.

(The writer shares his travel and tour experiences, and also catches the fun and revelry during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.)

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