Test of endurance on the Padang

As someone whose cricket-playing career has been mainly restricted to the grounds of Wolverhampton and the West Midlands, I always enjoy seeing the game played in more exotic surroundings. My hotel here in Singapore, the Swissotel Stamford, offers a lovely view over Marina Bay, with the famous Padang – headquarters of the historic Singapore Cricket Club – in the foreground. As I write, a game is being played – I’m too far away to tell you who’s playing or update you on the score, but I salute the stamina of the players for being able to exert themselves in this climate.

A few years ago I had the honour of playing on the Padang, back in the days when a friendly match for the travel retail cricketing fraternity (and sorority) was held prior to the TFWA Asia Pacific show. Now I love my cricket, but I have never been so relieved to finish a match in my life – in searing heat, another over or two and I certainly would not have made it to the Opening Cocktail.

Cynics and philistines will tell you that you don’t have to move much during a game of cricket anyway. Tell that to anyone who has bowled 40 overs or scored a century in Calcutta, Colombo or Karachi – or indeed here in Singapore. As I sit here sipping a cold Tiger watching the gladiators fight it out on the Padang far below, I’m glad it’s them and not me.

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