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Cricket couple’s Test of love

Ann Hill, 66, listens to cricket commentary on radio while cooking in her northern Scotland home. She keeps the TV in the lounge on so that she does not miss out on any action either. When someone hits a boundary or a wicket falls, she scurries to catch the replay.

She and her husband Martin, 68, from whom she has acquired her interest in the game, have been the North Star of the Barmy Army-heavy Block B at Eden Gardens, sitting in their little corner.

“I used to be a tennis fan. Only after my husband retired around 10 years ago, did I learn about the game from him. Actually, he bought me a book of cricket rules,” smiled the lady.

Ann hasn’t even let osteoporosis come in the way of her love for the game and has toured the West Indies, Australia and Sri Lanka with her husband to watch a Test series featuring England. “We love the longer version of the game,” she said.

Martin, a former hotelier, is the original cricket fan of the two and takes pleasure in discussing the game with his wife.

Sometimes they also get into debates on the finer aspects of the game.

On the third day, Martin had difficulties explaining to Ann what the fuss over the dismissal of England captain Alastair Cook was, because “he was clearly out of the crease when the ball hit the stumps”.

Martin and another England supporter, Alex Wilson, an English teacher who lives in Paris, tried to explain that it could be construed to be against the “spirit of the game” to send him on his way because it appeared that Cook had reached the crease and then withdrawn his bat.

But Ann held her ground. “I don’t see how this is against the spirit of the game, dear. It’s a pity but he was out of his ground and he has got to go,” she said with a sad smile. Those in the middle seemed to agree with her and Cook did go.

Martin, who has been following cricket since childhood, was still shaking his head at Cook’s dismissal.

“To go like this at 190,” he kept saying about the man who, he thinks, plays like Geoffrey Boycott and who, according to him, is the best captain he’s seen leading England ever.

Rith Basu