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Diary of the 17th Man – Mar 12

The ‘homework-gate’ volcano is spewing it’s red entrails high into the atmosphere burning a smouldering gaping hole wherever it lands, whoever it touches.

Today added it’s own splash of raw emotion and playhouse farce. Lucky faced a torrid time in the nets, caught short ball after ball by the quicks, playing for the spin. His pads have more red splotches than his bat. The Captain took a few in the ribs from the two quicks available for selection tomorrow, looking bloody pleased or pained – it was hard to tell.

When it was his turn, the speed gun clocked Rocketman’s 6 over artillery barrage at 158 each. After the first few, The Captain cleared out, claiming ‘pitch blindness’. It was hard to miss Rocketman raising a finger for each of the bullet points he didn’t submit to Coach. Prof said he’d have probably been rotated out anyway, being the best performer and all.

At the break, The Freak sidled over to the Coach to ask if he could bat at number 3. Coach looked at the smiling coconut-lathered gypsy non-plussed, mouthing a simple “I’ll consider it”. Puff split his sides. Darren was close by, looking confused, saddened and cross at the whole episode. Was this another team code violation, or irrepressible sardonic wit? He’d have to consult his text books, and the tea leaves.

The Captain ordered take away beef vindaloo for everyone – it was cheaper minus one big-eater. We sat at the bar downing soda water by the yard until Coach called time. He came round at 9.30 shuffling down the corridors – as if we couldn’t hear him – checking for lights out.

I was still reading under the covers when the Prof. knocked. He led me downstairs into the smiling
clutches of The Little Master and two of the Indian spin trio. The homework stuff was psyching them out – they wanted to nick it! Had we seen it? No. The Prof said that he was in – to manage the betting markets and the players pension funds for both teams. The spinners distributed face masks in the image of the ex’s – Gilly, Warnie,  Junior, AB and Chappelli – while TLM signed bats for the hotel night staff.

safecrackerCoach was sound asleep when we entered his room, half a cup of coloured pills on his bedside table. The safe opened easily, revealing the sound of 16 pulsating iPhones confiscated during the team meeting yesterday after the “Don’t Tweet, Don’t Tell” policy was announced. The incoming traffic was so strong, the phones were jumping over each other like cockroaches.


The homework lay underneath.

The top 3 player insights: 1) Bat better, 2) Bowl better, 3) Field better.

The top 3 Captain’s insights: 1) Sack Coach 2) Sack Darren 3) Lead from behind.

The top 3 Coach insights: 1) Sack Darren 2) Sack Darren 3) Drop Lucky, reinstate everyone else.

There was a stack of other notes, listed player by player in alphabetical order. I’m still going through the photocopies. We sent a few tweets to close it out, just to spike the traffic.

TLM left a wicker basket labelled “Cobras” open on it’s side on the floor as we cleaned up. “That should keep him amused” whispered The Freak, filling the doorway. “Mum’s the word, then”


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