By Dilip Bobb
It’s Just Not Cricket. What that refers to is the performance of the Indian cricket team in South Africa. The performance of our batsmen can best be described as hero to zero, or ducks in a row. Many fans are waiting for the Last Post to be played so recent memories of the horror tour can be laid to rest but Captain Virat Kohli is also conducting his last post mortem (last as in latest) with the players. This is how it went.
Kohli: You know what you guys are missing—balls. Outside the off stump, on the middle stump, leg stump, and also you know where. As I said in the press conference, it’s a question of intent. What do you guys intent to do about this in the remainder of the tour?
Ravi Shastri: I only have four words for you guys, b*****m****
Murali Vijay: That’s the best advice I ever got from any coach in my career. Coming from the south, my Hindi is not that good. Does that mean front foot or back foot?
Kohli: I doubt the batsmen in this team know one from the other, judging by the way you have been getting out. I have been trying to emphasise the fact that the game belongs in the mind and the heart, I never said anything about the stomach.
Rahul: Do you mean our diet?
Kohli: No, I meant no stomach for a fight. Boys, the honeymoon is over.
Pujara: So soon? But your marriage was just last month…
Shastri: He is talking about the honeymoon with the press and the fans. India was ranked the number one test team in the world by the ICC. Before the tour, you guys were hailed as the best thing since the chapati maker. The media made you out to be lion tamers and the fans said you were going to rewrite history like that education minister from Rajasthan. Has anybody asked for your autograph lately?
Rohit Sharma: The chap who came for room service.
Kohli: He was a fan?
Sharma: Actually, he wanted me to sign the receipt.
Kohli: What did you order? Humble Pie?
Sharma: No, Bombay Duck, but they….
Kohli: That’s what they are calling you, a sitting duck, especially against Kasigo Rabada. What are you going to do about the rising ball?
Vijay: The problem we are facing is the speed.
Kohli: We saw that, you seemed in such a hurry to leave the crease—all those snicks to the slips while Maharaj was bowling, it looked like you had a plane to catch or you were giving them catching practice.
Shastri: We are also fast running out of options.
Pujara: What is your advice coach?
Shastri: Stop getting run out so fast. The only record the Indian team has set in South Africa is you becoming the first Indian batsman to be run out in both innings of a test match.
Kohli: There’s another record. The lowest average score in South Africa by the top six batsmen. Remember, this year we also play Australia and England on their pitches and their conditions. Our number one test ranking is up for grabs…
Shastri: Which reminds me, our fielding is also up for grabs. We can’t even seem to catch a cold.
Shikhar Dhawan: They said South African safaris are about big game hunting, but I never imagined I would become shikar.
Kohli: We had to drop you after the first test because the opening partnership had not crossed single digits. In fact, there is a single digit that is haunting us throughout the series.
Parthiv Patel: What could that be?
Kohli: The umpire’s raised finger.