GOOD preparation is essential for every commentator worth his salt. I reckon on five hours research for a game, otherwise you’re skimping.
You can still be thrown though. A car due to take me to the stadium in Shanghai failed to turn up, so I hailed a taxi which promptly crashed into another car in the middle of a six-lane highway.
The excitable driver was clearly not going to proceed with the journey, so the alternative was to get out and find another cab. No chance in the rush-hour in the middle of goodness knows where. I don’t read mandarin as well as I should.
It was pitch black and pouring down as Typhoon Wipha approached. Nobody I asked spoke a word of English, though one person asked if I wanted a massage, until one girl nodded “a little bit” and gallantly directed us to a metro station from where we went on.
Not great prep and the game was awful. Incidentally, Wipha should have been renamed Whimper from what I saw. I played golf in a stronger breeze at Crosland Heath in April!