The days have flown past. Arriving at the maidan in Mumbai now feels a lifetime away.. We are now battle-hardened veterans for whom 35 overs holds no fear or threat.
So when the opposition of academics ask to play 30 overs, we smell weakness. Sadly it is not to be. Apart from Dave Goring, none of the recognised batsmen makes much impression on the score book. Having virtually opened I am astonished to find, when I join him for the last two overs, that he is still rushing up and down the pitch. We scramble 14 runs but 119 never feels like a defendable total. His 37 will earn him some extra luggage.
Lunch is delicious, but we have to field thereafter. Before we can do so, we need solid countryman Dick Brown to deal unceremoniously with a crippled rat that is crawling around the kitbags . They don’t call him Chopper for nothing!
It starts promisingly with two seamers and then Thornie bags one and I induce three of the academic dashers to throw away their wicket and they are four down and not halfway there. The arrival of the 12-year-old son of one player offers the prospect of an easy wicket but he survives numerous snicks and pop-ups whilst Pop at the other end lets loose with a series of boundaries that quickly put the game beyond our reach.
The final over starts with two enormous sixes. And then there was tea and lookalike cucumber sandwiches.
The mood is not lightened by a misguided attempt at retail therapy on the way back which involves a three hour detour up to Panjim.
We are late back, hot tired and deflated and most opt for either a buffet in the resort Gardens or a short trip to the nearest beach shack.
There remains only Friday’s T20 to redeem ourselves.