Jaipur: A team of leading authors at the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival gamely took on the Royals XI today in a friendly yet passionate cricket match, the first of its kind to be held in Jaipur, home of the Rajasthan Royals.
There was an incredible atmosphere at the KL Saini stadium, with elephants, camels, dancers, drummers and a display of staggering horsemanship from the Cavalry Compliment. Local cricket fans mingled with authors and the teams, as an amusing commentary went on in a mixture of Hindi and English.
The Royals XI team comprised of high profile players and esteemed personalities from all over India, such as the Prince of Udaipur, who bowled the first over, and renown writer Tarun Tejpal, who described himself as ‘a fan of old fashioned test cricket. Tejpal, a speaker at the very first Jaipur Literature Festival, when there was an average of 14 members in the audience, said the Jaipur Literature Festival was a ‘terrific, incredible success, much needed in India.’
The UK team was the inspiration of Captain Charlie Campbell, who last year decided to reprise the famed Edwardian team chronicled by PG Wodehouse and Arthur Conan Doyle. The team Authors XI is currently on tour in India, and some of the team members are to speak tomorrow at the first day of the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival, to promote their book about their experiences of the team.
After the first innings, with the British team all out for 114 runs, Authors XI member Sam Carter said ‘I hope the fabled Jaipur hospitality extends to cricket, or we are going to be pulped.’ Royals XI wicket-keeper and Rajasthan Royals cricketer, Dishant Yagnik, who took 4 wickets in the first innings, said the match was ‘a good contest with very good potential on both teams.’ Another Royals member, Vicky Gohil, joked that although the Royals were professional cricketers, ‘still we will try to make the match friendly.’
The Indian team went on to produce a flurry of sixes, greeted with huge cheers from the crowd and rousing drumming, to win the match convincingly losing only 3 wickets in a masterful display.
After the match, Authors XI Captain Charlie Campbell said although the team had played and won many matches in the UK, so far they had yet to win a game on tour in India, adding ‘a lot of people blame the captain: it’s my responsibility. But it’s been a lot of fun.’ He went on to compliment the graciousness and ‘amazing professionalism’ of Royals captain Shreesanth. Fellow team player, Joe Craig, who was out for a duck, joked that the Authors XI team now ‘had unfinished business with the Royals XI. We will be back.’
Royals XI Captain Shreesanth, who made an admirable 34 runs, said the match was ‘a lot of fun,’ adding ‘I love Jaipur. Hats off to everyone, and thank you for having us.’ He also joked about the different dynamics of playing in a team with some famous, highly respected members, as it meant that some of the players were trying to be deferential in the middle of a game.
Festival Director William Dalrymple, who presented the trophies at the end, said ‘The cricket match is a lovely innovation, and I hope we can make it an annual event.’