Peter Chismon: This 77-year-old fan is a patron of domestic games
On the eve of India's second Test match with South Africa, Virat Kohli waited to sign an autograph for an unmistakably aged man who was taking rounds of the MCA stadium through the humid weather.
Peter Chismon, 77, has been across the globe, witnessing over 100 Test matches and about 200 domestic fixtures. A retired British army-man, Chismon, travelling alone like his usual journeys, was collecting Kohli's signature for a friend, who is not keeping well. He went back and took his seat in the stands, adding the Indian skipper's autograph while he flaunted his collection.
"Bishan Singh Bedi (former India left-arm spinner and skipper) was one of the first ones to sign my book, in Delhi. How is he doing now?” asked Chismon who funds his trips with his pension.
He was in Pune to witness the city's first ever Test where India played Australia in 2017 but he generally enjoys his second visit to a stadium. "I like to do the scoring in the first Test match of a ground (shows his scoring notebooks) and I watch the other ones," said the man from Ipswich who is an avid fan of Sussex's county team.
Chismon does not generally buy tickets to games either. "I'm hoping that someone is standing on gates with a ticket for me," he quipped. English umpire Nigel Llong, who will be one of the umpires of the Test, has arranged a seat for the veteran.
He has been on the road since 1994, seeing some of the top cricketing contests over the years. From Allan Donald and Lance Klusener's last-ball fiasco in the 1999 World Cup to Sachin Tendulkar missing a century (95) in India's ODI win over Pakistan in Lahore in 2006.
But somehow, Chismon seems to love the Indian conditions where he visits small stadiums for Ranji matches. He was in Dehradun this year when Uttarakhand were promoted from the Plate group to the group C. "It's such a beautiful sight, that stadium, with the hills. I will watch the team play this year in the higher division," he said.
Chismon flew from England to India on Monday after watching Sussex's match with Worcestershire being washed out on September 28. He will fly to Ranchi for the third Test and the veteran plans to come back for the domestic season.