For a group of British cricket players bound for Everest, the biggest obstacle to date hasn't been the rigorous training or long travel days—it's the Nepalese state officials. The team had already been granted permission to play on the Gorakh Shep, a plateau just below the Everest base camp, by the Minister for Forest and Land Conservation. Upon their arrival yesterday, however, the chief national park officer refused them entry because the area contained rare flora and fauna.
For all you high altitude, flat bat enthusiasts, there's no need to despair. The teams were granted access today to carry out the most extreme game of cricket ever played.
On April 21, Team Hillary and Team Tenzing, named after the first mountaineers to summit Everest, will compete in a Twenty20 style game of cricket. Cricket is intense enough—just ask any of your British friends—but there are a whole new set of obstacles when you're playing at 5,165 meters. Breathing at this altitude is like breathing through a straw and doctors warn of illnesses associated with running around at such a high altitude. They've been practicing in wooly hats and scarves to prepare and will be playing with a pink ball rather than the traditional white one to avoid an extreme scavenger hunt.
Although the match will raise money for various projects including the Khumjung School for Sherpas established by Hillary in the 1960s, the whole thing still seems a little weird. Richard Kirtley, the man who dreamed up the competition, told Cricket Next, "The British have a proud history of being eccentric. I am keeping up with the tradition."
Cheers to that. If this game hits ESPN, we'll be watching at the local pub with a warm ale and basket of fish and chips.
Everest T20 back on track after scare (Cricket Next)
Image credit:English Wikipedia