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Fighting Fit


(There's more IPL stuff here, if you like)

Davis Miller once wrote a tremendous magazine story called My Dinner With Ali, in which he called on the champ at his mother's house in Louisville. Ali was retired, slowing down physically but not yet ill. Miller was an Ali obsessive who'd become a champion kickboxer in homage to his hero.

Ali let Miller spar with him on the front lawn, and Miller was embarrassed by how easily he could tag the Greatest. Then later, after they'd eaten dinner and handfuls of biscuits and sat up watching fight films, Miller went to use the bathroom. Ali had fallen asleep. When Miller returned, he found Ali not just awake again but shadowboxing in the light of his old fights playing on the television screen. For a few seconds, he seemed to float and glow as his fists flashed out.

'Don't tell anyone,' he said to Miller, 'but I'm making a comeback. Four times champion of the world... Imagine that...'

And for a moment, Miller believed him, so convincing had the shadowboxing been. Then he remembered that the heavyweight champion at the time was Mike Tyson.

'Ha, tricked you...' Ali said, and sat slowly back down on the sofa, looking like an old man again.

I thought of My Dinner With Ali the other day after Rahul Dravid batted with Kevin Pietersen. While KP flapped, Dravid unleashed. They were proper shots too, stiletto thrusts through and over cover and cover point.

The cool Ruler is playing in a world of Mike Tysons out there but the orange cap sat atop his head, and has never been too far away since. Old school beats no school, anyday.

(The old Batsman - so called because he's both old and a batsman - blogs and and bats in Hampshire, England. He can also be found here)

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