Thursday, April 9, 2020
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Diary of the 17th Man – Mar 7

Today was travel day. As usual, that meant total chaos as bags were packed, checked, double checked and loaded.

Some of the squad settle in to a hotel just a bit too much.  Mr Bean unpacks meticulously into his hotel room, and insists on discussing at length the sharing of wardrobe and drawer space with his room-mate.  The trouble normally starts when he unpacks his matchbox car collection, which he takes everywhere with him. Of course, by the end of a test-match length stay anywhere, one of them has always gone missing. He interrupted breakfast today by accosting every member of the squad at least twice, asking at the top of his voice “Have you seen my Porsche?”.  Mr Darcy has never roomed with him so had no idea what was going on, but yelling “I think I saw Slats driving it yesterday” was a little insensitive. Everyone knows Slats is a surfer Ferrari man.

Jacka’s travel kit can get out of hand

On the other hand, some of the squad don’t unpack at all.  Jacka’s travel kit just sits in the corner of the room for the entire stay, slowly disgorging it’s contents until it looks like Krakatoa has spewed out a mixture of clean and dirty underwear all over the room.  This morning,  he and his roomie spent half an hour jumping on a pile of stuff in a vain attempt to squash it all back in.


More than a little home sickness is setting in at the half way point of the tour.  Some players are more emotionally self-sufficient than others and when it comes down to it, our poor on-field performances aren’t helping. Very few players are receiving congratulatory emails and calls from family or friends. Lucky’s Dad is emailing him a video of each of his innings, with ball by ball commentary on what he’s doing wrong. At least these are short – the price the hotel charges for wifi downloads is a killer.

Some of these jokers are just plain mummy’s boys.  Rocket Man is really struggling. Judging by the smell, he’s a case study in how not to bring up a future test cricketer. All Mrs Rocket needed to do was teach him how to fill out a Laundry request – honestly, it’s not that hard.

The flight north to Mohali started out uneventfully, but just after take-off one of the hangers-on from Team Management was sent round with a questionnaire (24 pages!) for us each to fill in and sign about the medications and supplements we’re taking. The phrase “Don’t shoot the messenger!” has never been more apt.  Tying him up and leaving him in the economy class toilet seemed fair enough. Honestly, this squad is squeaky clean.  If anyone has secretly been on the juice, they need to change their supplier.

There’s one big thing to like about Mohali – it’s cooler.  Rain is forecast for late next week, which raises a serious question – are we up for a come back, or glad to avoid the possibility of 0-3?




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