Young cricketers from Clitheroe Cobras are in the UAE to support England in the one-day series, in Day Three of his blog, coach FAROUK HUSSAIN describes how his charges gained a spot of
Day 3 Another early start and the tour manager was not feeling himself, after yet another late night.
Rooming with Tarquin and his son is not doing my girth or sleep pattern any good at all.
A long but smooth drive brought us to the famous Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi.
A look round the mosque for the group was followed by a dash to the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium for the England game.
Not before the driver took us round the block several times. King Cobra was beginning to panic as the start time was drawing closer and he is renowned for his early arrivals.
Often even before the gates are open!
A very primitive ticket office 200 yards down the road from the stadium, plonked in the middle of a sandy mound – more akin to the Tardis, was where we paid our £6 per ticket to sit on the grassy bank, to be surrounded by 2,000 testosterone charged Afghans who were all thinking of only one thing. Which one of them would be the first one to ask Florence for her hand in marriage!
The game petered along unnoticed as the grassy mounds filled up slowly – word had obviously got around that chief Jester Tarquin had arrived accompanied by his harem of Cobras beauties!
It wasn’t long before he was leading the England chants and dancing.
He even showed off his drumming skills and gained the respect of the crowd. They took to him like a Cobra does to a Shandar curry and things just escalated from here.
Much merriment and a few cups of Asian tea followed as the locals embraced the Cobras and chief entertainer Sir Tarquin.
Even the local tv news channel Khyber News found a slot in their coverage to conduct an impromptu interview with the new celebrity.
The game became second fiddle to what was happening on the terraces and even the Sheikh of Abu Dhabi dropped in on his helicopter to get a closer look. He didn’t stop long.
Perhaps he was looking for a new royal court jester! Boom Boom Afridi provided a bit of entertainment but at the fall off his wicket the Afghans left quicker than the captain of the Concordia cruise liner.
The battle hardy Cobras stuck it out to the bitter end and posed for yet a few more photos with the friendly locals.
A long drive back and some hoarse voices ended a memorable day for all. Pity we can’t go back for Wednesday’s game – we (Tarquin) would be the star attraction I am sure.