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Diary of the 17th Man – Mar 14 – Part 2

Third Test – Day 1 – Mohali

At the ground, the journo’s swamped The Captain and Coach like a pack of wolves.  The marketing team was busy signing autographs. Coach denied any rift between bowlers and batsmen, the Condemned and the others, players and coach, players and The Captain and Coach, The Captain and Coach, players and Lucky, Wicky and Lucky, spinners and quicks, squad and  spinners, middle order and top order.  The squad was rock solid.  The Test X1 would be announced 10 minutes before play.

rainThe day seemed to go on and on forever, but eventually, the team was named – with good news for Yours Truly and Gipper.  Everyone was too busy playing “SuperSoaker bingo” (betting on which if the SUperSoaker drivers would be first to fall over in a puddle) to get around to the presentation of my baggy green.  Not that I needed it – there was no play at all.

We’d been given our phones back now that the cricket, or lack thereof, had replaced HomeWorkGate in the news, but mine wasn’t working properly.  I found a quiet spot to make the call, and with fear and trepidation, waited to do battle with a real Indian Call Centre.  The call was answered by a bloke called Brian, who sported a thick New Zealand accent that I couldn’t understand.  Got things sorted out eventually, eh, bro?

Coach seems to be a little unhinged, wandering around with a vacant stare. The strain of the last few days has certainly taken its toll, but I wonder if TLM’s trick with the cobra basket has robbed the Coach of precious sleep.  It could have been worse – we could have been the men’s relay swim team or a Code Red team of marines.  As it was, he lightened up when white smoke blossomed from the Vatican – burying the remains of the last pope is a sure sign of renewal

The Captain relaxed as the rain came down harder before lunch slapping us on the arm or tweaking the spinners bums.  He knows we’re a 3-4 day side.

Having been couped up in the dressing room for ages, then coming back to the hotel when play was abandoned, there was lots of pent up energy in the room at the team meeting this afternoon.  Darren  spotted it, and took centre stage when Captain had given his pep talk.

“OK, boys, let’s do a few stretches and let out some of that nasty tension.  Stand up, move the chairs out of the way,” he said, flicking his wrists this way and that.

Then he said “Now, find a partner.”  This kind of thing always ends badly, as the competitive nature of an elite sportsman is always just under the surface.  We started with a few arm streches, but when it came to pushing against each other, things turned ugly. Darren was going “Ready, Set, Go” slower than a Rugby ref does “Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage.”  Rocket Man got impatient on “Set” and in three steps had slammed Plopper against the wall, winding him on impact.  Mr Darcy was about to take the strain from a muscled-up Puff, but stood aside at the last minute allowing Puff to rocket through the room like a rhino on heat, crashing into a pile of table and chairs under the weight of his own momentum.  Captain called an immedialte halt to proceedings, and all we could see as we left for dinner were Puff’s little legs up in the air, kicking about madly.

More showers tomorrow morning, so let’s see what we can do in three and a half days.

© 2013 Dave Cornford & Jeremy Pooley





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