Jaipur: A little after noon Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare takes the stage at the press terrace of the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival. For the many gathered here, this is less of a press conference and more of a fan girl/boy moment. On a balmy Saturday afternoon, a long way from his home in England, the popular novelist and former Mayor of London, is deftly dispatching questions from the two-score journalists on a wide variety of topics, ranging from his favourite authors to his intuitive style of writing to cricket, with quick wit and repartee.

It seems that Jeffrey Archer’s love for all things Indian started with cricket — in his heydays the Nawab of Pataudi (for the cricket illiterates — India’s iconic captain through most of 1960s and for millennials -Saif Ali Khan’s father) was a friend and the affair continues to this day. “What do I love about India? CRICKET. Fabulous. You best the Australians in Australia.” Now there’s a die-hard POM…

He confesses what a huge fan of the current Indian skipper he is: “ I’m a huge fan of Virat Kohli. Who’s not? I think he is currently the best batsman in the world. I think you have two of the best batsmen in the world. Pujara’s three centuries in Australia were great, weren’t they!”

Jeffrey Archer speaks at Zee Jaipur Literature Festival 2019

For an MP in the Commons who went bankrupt in 1974, 78-year-old Jeffery Archer has gone on to be a regular feature on the best-seller lists across the world for the last four decades, selling over 37 million copies sold in 97 countries and translated into over 30 languages. A cricket purist, Archer says he doesn’t consider the shorter formats of the game like One Dayers and T20 to be real cricket. “Real cricket is Rahul Dravid surviving against Australia in Australia for an entire day.”

A self-confessed Dravid fan, Archer says: “Sachin Tendulkar was a great but Rahul Dravid is my personal hero.”