Mackay, a city in Queensland, is the sugar capital of Australia, informs Wikipedia with usual lack of fanfare. Twenty-two years ago, Indians and Sri Lankans landed there for a World Cup match. Only two deliveries were bowled before rain washed the game away.
Those of us who were there filed away a nugget for future trivia quizzes: Kapil Dev opened the batting for India, but didn’t get to face a ball.
But cricket wasn’t the highlight. The Indian team and the media had been in Australia for weeks by then following a Test series. And Mackay made the cardinal mistake of allowing free international calls from the phones (land lines) in the press box. Mackay’s sweetness was clearly not restricted to its sugar.
Long before the rain stopped, however, the kind offer was withdrawn. Cricketers from both sides, reporters and I suspect even casual passers-by kept the phones continuously engaged. I heard at least one player ask his wife what she intended to make for dinner. “We might have ruined Mackay’s economy in one...