1 - Of Road Trips and Border Towns

23 March 2023

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I spent the night of 18 November 2020 at the Daydream Motel in Broken Hill. I’d driven there from Adelaide, after South Australia had ordered a lockdown at around 1 p.m. earlier that day. It meant that I had to cross over the border into New South Wales before midnight, which I managed to do with nine minutes to spare.

I was rather pleased with my great escape, having covered the 469 km in the dark of the night in my plush rental car, like I was in some sort of special-op scenario. In addition to the thrill of having pulled othis not-so-secretive mission, there was also the realization that I might have saved my summer of cricket.

‘Isha, I really don’t know when I’ll be back. I really don’t know what I’m getting into. Could be three weeks, a month, or two months.

’ These were my parting words to the wife as I picked up the Mitsubishi ASX from Adelaide Airport that evening. Maybe I was being a bit too dramatic, but at some level I was sincerely

not sure what lay in store. But I honestly could not have ever en‐
visaged just how the next two and a half months would play out.
In hindsight, I may have even undersold it to Isha. For, little
did I know then that it would end up as the most incredible pe‐
riod of my journalistic career. Or that this would be only the rst
of many road trips I’d have to make. That this would be the rst
of many borders I’d have to ee across. That Broken Hill would
be the rst of many border towns that I’d have to sleep in. All to
ensure that I could do justice to the most incredible cricket series
of all time.
I was in good company for most of this span. Gaurav Joshi,
that intrepid cricket nerd, was adventurous enough to not just
stick with me through some tricky situations othe eld, but he
was also on hand to witness all the phenomenal on-eld exploits
—which ranged from the awe-inspiring to the jaw-dropping—
from the best seat in the house, the one right next to mine.
My rst destination back in November was in fact Gaurav’s
spacious and very welcoming home in the western part of
Sydney. It was a 1200 km drive from Broken Hill, which should
have taken me 12.5 hours to complete. 

More Books by Penguin Random House India

The Miracle Makers
‘This is going to be the most unique cricket tour since the Second World War.’ Ravi Shastri’s prophetic words came true as India pulled off one of the greatest coups in cricketing history, beating Australia in Australia for the second time in three years, eventually breaching the Gabba fortress with what was eventually a skeleton team. Bharat was known as the ‘Eyes and Ears of the Tour’, being the only Indian-origin journalist covering this most memorable series live and seeing the drama unfold in real time. He drove the length and breadth of Australia, journeys that were as thrilling as the series that he was chasing, with the unnerving shadow of Covid always trailing after him. His camaraderie with the Indian team and his standing as among the most respected journalists in the world makes this book incredibly special. Filled with anecdotes from on and off the field, including conversations with coaches, players and other stars of the show, and inputs from his colleague Gaurav Joshi, this book hopes to transport you to the battleground of this never-imagined script. It promises to bring to life the most unique cricket tour, not just since World War II, but perhaps from the time when the sport was conceived.