By Hunter Kindley | Posted: Thursday October 19, 2017
Well where to start? I have been given the task of somehow trying to write a summary of the 2017 India/Sri Lanka cricket tour and to be honest I genuinely don’t know where to start. Therefore, to save confusion lets start at the beginning of our journey. Dunedin airport, 5:30am. A full day of travel was a new experience for the majority of the 16 students, 6 parents and 2 staff members and potentially as a result, 6 boys fell to sickness after our first night in Bangalore.
Bangalore didn’t only bring sickness as we experienced the humidity, altitude, traffic and the nature of the locals, however, one of the stand out highlights was being able to step foot in the Chinnaswamy cricket stadium just a day after Australia and India played. Two things that I won’t forget anytime soon about Bangalore was firstly the shear amount of rubbish there was lying around and secondly the range of wealth found within the city. You could find multi storied hotel complexes right beside a number of shacks or small businesses and it was this lack of structure that baffled me. Our first game required roughly two hours of travel before we found ourselves in the “wop wops”, captain Max Chu won the toss against the M.C.C and decided to bat. He then led the way with a score of 69 and with help from Charlie Holt we posted a total of 212 however a poor bowling performance meant we fell 3 wickets short.
Our second game against Jain University proved to be just as difficult. Jain University are a leading school team in the state with a number of talented state players. One skilful bowler gave us the most grief however, a 13-year-old spinner who picked up 6 wickets. Max Chu again impressed with 60* and with help from Charlie Marsh 20 and some good hitting from Mitchell Sims and Tom Howie we were able to post a defendable score of 144. Mitchell Sims and Charlie holt shared wickets and were the pick of the bowlers but we simply didn’t have enough runs on the board as we fell 4 wickets short.
Our journey to Chennai began with a 4am wake up and travel by train that probably also appears in my list of unforgettable experiences. The amount of people in both the Bangalore and Chennai train stations was mind boggling and the stench and heat particularly in Chennai hit us all harder than expected. In 33-degree heat we were relived to discover a pool in our hotel and all I remember thinking was how do people live in this place – keeping in mind this was in their winter.
Chennai offered new challenges and experiences to us all as we encountered beggars, attempted to cope with the heat and bartered with locals over tok toks and various goods just to name a few.
Our last game in India brought the challenge of a much different pitch and 33-degree heat. Losing the toss to VB Academy, we were put into bat and Thomas Harding (27) set a solid foundation for Max Chu to again thrive on (69) with his 3rd consecutive half century. In the heat the team put together our best bowling performance to date and the pick of the bowlers were Charlie Holt with figures of 3/7 off 4 and Will Young with 2/17 off 3.
For me memorable moments from Chennai were visiting the crocodile park and seeing the Indian wildlife. Seeing cobras and vipers in the flesh was terrifying as well as surreal because we had the opportunity to see them extract venom which concluded the India leg of the journey.
Coming off the plane in Colombo I saw a sight that I won’t forget anytime soon. In the airport on a patch of grass there were a number of Sri Lankans playing what we would call back yard cricket. This itself sums up their love of the game in the sub continent. Although we didn’t realise before travelling over there it was monsoon season in India and Sri Lanka meaning they have a lot of thunderstorms and rain at this time of the year. With poor weather on the forecast we turned up at Moors sports club and were told the match would be reduced to a 25 over game. Batting first we rocketed off to a great start with 112/3 off 12 but the weather had the final say and the match was abandoned. Our second game in Sri Lanka against Nalanda College gave us a full day of play (35 overs due to monsoon season). We lost the toss and again were put into bat, unsurprisingly Max Chu again performed well with another outstanding knock of 51 however he had a lot of help from Charlie Marsh (21), Josh Kellet (26), Jack Pryde (29) and Thomas Harding (29*) which resulted in an impressive score of 203/7. In reply Nalanda struggled with Charlie Holt again impressing with 1/12/6 along with fellow opening bowler Will Young who picked up 2/14/4. Kashish Nauhira bowled well through the latter stage of the game to wrap up Nalanda’s innings with figures of 2/10. Nalanda ended up falling well short with 125 all out. Our final game in Sri Lanka and of the tour was a disappointing finish as rain prevented play however the Sri Lankan part of our journey was incredibly enjoyable. Reuniting with former OBHS First Xl cricketer Nathan Kelaart, seeing the elephants and experiencing another culture were all new incidents in Colombo that I’m sure will linger in the touring party’s minds.
We rounded off our tour with a couple of “touristy” days in Singapore, particularly Sentosa Island which is an island resort with theme parks and other activities. To conclude I want to say a massive thank you on behalf of the students who went to our parents and the supporters of the trip. Our experience has given us a much greater appreciation for the country we live in although I am also glad I had the opportunity to witness that part of the world.
Another big thank you has to go to Mr Hall and Mr Ford for the amount of time they have invested into us and sacrificed for this trip to take place as well as their expertise that they bought with us. It is truly appreciated.