There was an old man of Bombay Who purchased a bat and a ball, Some gloves and some pads— It was one of his fads— For he never played cricket at all!
— With apologies to Alfred Ainger
When I was a young man, I was, in the Madras fashion, much given to cricket statistics— reeling them off, like mantras, to settle disputes that broke out frequently among my cricketing fraternity. Young habits die hard. The apogee of this veritable mania occurred in 1952 when I went to meet my idol, Vijay Hazare, captain of the victorious Indian cricket team which had won its first- ever rubber against the touring Englishmen led by Donald Carr. I soon rattled on and held the helpless Hazare in thrall rather like the wedding guest in Coleridge’s poem.
Our talk turned, at one point, to his first appearance at Lord’s and to his unlucky dismissal against the MCC for 94— just 6 short of what would have been a rare distinction— only C. K. in ’32 and that other Vijay (earlier in the same...