For a little bit of fun I decided to see if I could met the Australian Cricket team whilst in India and was informed on the good advice of a dodgy rickshaw driver with a crocked eye that they would be staying at a posh hotel around the corner from mine.
On arrival at the hotel there was heavy security, Indian guards with guns patrolled the long lush driveway and I wondered if I would be stopped as my dirty old rickshaw approached.
With my head up and my chin in the air I strode though as if I owned the place.
On entering the hotel a man with a turban and a moustache that would make Merv Hughes envious let me in and directed me to the bar.
Like every good spy/stalker you have to dress the part. Wearing my backpacking best, which consisted of Havianna’s, a dress over jeans (it is India) and a little eye makeup I headed to the Rajaputan Hotel, Jaipor’s finest establishment and base camp for the ICC in Jaipor. Only in India would I go to such lengths to get a snap shot with my heroes.
I sat at the bar on a large lounge opposite reception and awaited their arrival from their devastating defeat against the West Indies in Mumbai.
The English team swarmed around me, Peterson, Bell and Mamood sat opposite deep in conversation, they were all tan and more buff in real life than you would expect.
Lonely was I the girl with the Ipod and notebook as I scoured the room for my first glimpse of the Aussies.
After draining one large local beer I asked the waiter to ask the English players if it would be ok if I came over for a chat.
Normally, never one to talk to the enemy I was alone and bored and thought I might be able to gain some useful insights for the Australian team.
On sitting with Mamood and Bell I was alarmed at their jovial attitude and friendly sprit. Mamood asked why I was so shy and said I should have come up earlier. Mamood’s Leister accent was difficult to understand and his size left me in awe, making me feel miniature.
We started sledging each other and before I knew it the match was on!
Mamood asked why I was going for Australia when they were going to loose and I replied with. 'We’ll see, but can you do me one favour, have a good game but not a great one with a wink…
The banter continued and Bell looked on, I left them soon after so they could talk real cricket.
An hour later I noticed a lot of commotion in the reception area and saw that the Australian team had arrived, cameras flashed and people cheered and I walked up some stairs and was almost knocked over by Simon Katich. For a second it just did not seem real. All the big names filed past me and I actually thought I was dreaming, they all said G'day and I was stunned!
I was too shy to takes pictures and hoped they would come to the bar. Within minutes Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist walked in and soon they were joined by Andrew Symonds and Glenn McGrath.
I watched from afar before summoning the courage to talk to Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist. I asked if would be ok to have a chat and a picture and they were very obliging.
Ricky joked 'I hope your camera is working' and I replied 'me too, it's not every day a girl gets her picture taken with the Australian Captain and Vice Captain' Andrew Symonds piped up in the background 'but he's not' and for a second I thought I was wrong.
Thoughts went flying through my head as quick as lightening, perhaps I had insulted them both, I wondered if Adam Gilchrist had been dropped without my noticing and I asked Ricky 'has something changed' to which Adam replied 'only in his head' we all laughed and posed for the photo.
I then spoke to Andrew Symonds who asked me which part of Australia I came from, when I replied Sydney he said 'bad luck', and said that he thought I might have been from the shire and I said 'please give me some credit'.
Next I chatted about golf with Collingwood an English player, he was lovely and like most cricket players could almost be a professional golfer if he wanted to with a handicap of 4 (so I was told).
Whilst chatting, Collingwood spun around when Glen MaGrath tapped him on the shoulder and I had to stand on tip toes to have eye contact with him (he is massive).
Collingwood introduced me to Glen and we had a good chat and I said 'you are huge' and as humble as anyone who is not the best fast bowler Australia has ever produced said 'well it kinda helps when you are a fast bowler'.
Glen then let me measure my height against him; in flat shoes my head does not even reach the top of his shoulder. He then asked if I wanted him to introduce me to Ricky Ponting, I was stunned by his openness and kindness and told him that I had already met him and he said ... 'cool no worries, if you see anyone else you want to met just let me know and I will make sure you get a picture...
I went home that night on a cloud and looked at the pictures again and again.
Operation met the Australian team- successful!