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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cameron meets Sachin, says it is an ‘honour’

London: “It’s an honour to have met with and spoken to (Sachin) Tendulkar... I’ve been his fan.”

That was David Cameron, the United Kingdom’s flamboyant Prime Minister, in a brief chat with The Telegraph, at The Oval, on Friday evening.

It was around 7.30 pm local time.

Speaking exclusively while walking briskly to his dual coloured Jaguar, after having spent more than four hours at the ground, Cameron added: “I’m actually big on cricket and have been following this series...

“England had such a great day in conditions ideal for cricket... An entire day of sunshine, plenty of runs... Very enjoyable.”

By then Cameron reached his car and the five security officials surrounding him made it clear that the questions had to end.

The Prime Minister was off in a flash, with a Range Rover, driven by a lady, leading the way.

Cameron met Sachin in the India dressing room after making a “specific request” for a one-on-one with The Master. That was at the end of Day II of the fourth and final Test.

Late on Friday, Sachin texted the following to this Reporter: “The Prime Minister had just come to say hello... He said that I was welcome in the UK anytime.”

Cameron also met the India manager, Anirudh Choudhry, and ‘reserve’ Pragyan Ojha, who happened to be standing near Sachin.

To talk of the day’s cricket... An excellent first session, followed by two forgettable ones... From India’s perspective, the script didn’t change.

Friday, therefore, turned out to be another day of misery for Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his band of mentally and physically drained men.

Possibly, emotional wrecks too.

The first hour, though, had put England in a spot of bother. Alastair Cook fell in the very first over and captain Andrew Strauss scored two from 32 deliveries before getting out.

After that, it was Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen all the way. Both got ‘Daddy Hundreds’, pleasing Graham Gooch no doubt, and held India by the jugular.

That it would again become a one-way traffic became apparent in the afternoon itself, which is why former captain Andrew Flintoff, who’d come with his sons, left shortly after tea.

“A wonderful day for England, I enjoyed it,” Flintoff told this newspaper, holding each son by the hand.

By then, both Bell and Pietersen had got hundreds.

Pietersen fell shortly before the close, for a superb 175, which had one blemish only, but Bell is in sight of his maiden double hundred. His 181 not out has been chanceless.

Given India’s bowling, which lacks just about everything, another day of frustration is on the cards for those who’re still backing Dhoni and Co.

The state of affairs couldn’t be sorrier.

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