Tuesday, March 31, 2020
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Diary of the 17th Man – Feb 14

Feb14Got the call up from Cricket Australia this morning.  It would have been better if I’d been named as an official member of the squad, but under the circumstances, being the extra secret batsmen on tour to cover for the Captain’s dodgy back is better than hanging around in Oz.  There will be no action at finals time after our appalling Shield season, and I’m sick of my mates paying out on me after I got passed in at the IPL Auction last week.  US$100,000 sounds like a lot, but Warnie always said it costs more to live there than you realize, even though mobile phone plans are fairly cheap.

Most of the team has already left for the tour.  It was certainly a second string team that didn’t quit make the runs against the Windies last night.

From what I can tell, the team has split up into little “in-groups” and headed off to do some “specialist training”:

  • The fast bowlers are in Chennai, acclimatizing to the heat.  I bet this means they’re practicing minimizing the effects of shrinkage in the ice bath.
  • The top order are in transit after a debacle in QLD. Team Management had organized a dust bowl for them to practice in, but being 35 km from Rockhampton, the whole thing’s gone pair shaped in a pool of mud.  They can’t even salvage some PR out it by helping flood victims because the whole thing is a massive secret.
  • Wicky’s kit got lost in transit and ended up in Phuket.  He’s gone chasing it,
    against Team Management’s advice. There is one essential part of his luggage that he needed to keep eye on, apparently, but he’d better make it in time for the tour match on Saturday or one of the batsmen will be making an idiot of themselves behind the stumps.
  • The spinners are in Mumbai doing an acting school.  Apparently they’re practicing not giving anything away to the batsmen after another one of the pies they threw into the dust is dispatched to the mid wicket boundary by [insert name of wristy middle order batsmen].  Surely they’d learn more about spin in Tony Abbott’s press office.

I guess someone has a plan for all this to work and result in winning a test or two on this tour.

A suspicious package arrived while I was on the phone.  Wife signed for it, even though it was marked Strictly Private & Confidential.  It was a large jar of a special “Surviving the Subcontinent” supplement from some sports medicine guy I hadn’t heard of before.  How he knew to send it to me, I’ll never know.  I put face mask and gloves on as soon as I realized what it was, parceled it up, wrote return to sender on it, and put it in the postbox at the shops.  Didn’t want any races of that nasty stuff on my person if I got tested at the medical this afternoon.

The medical was uneventful, although the bitter quack who’s been left behind from the tour was not gentle at any stage of the examination.  Talk about ball tampering.

No drug test today, just a 25 page legal document I had to sign which basically said that I guaranteed that all I ate or drank outside of regular meals was scotch finger biscuits and apple cider.

There’s a packing list just come in on the email, and I need to get to the airport for the late flight out tonight.

Wish me luck!

The Diary of the 17th Man – as told to Dave Cornford and Jeremy Pooley


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