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Diary of the 17th Man – Mar 26

Day 5 – Fourth Test – Delhi

Well, it should be Day 5, but it seems like an age since we got rolled and the tour was put out of its misery.  There are a few sore heads around this morning, especially amongst the support staff who were really cutting loose last night at the end of a tense five weeks.  Darren – team psychologist – made the terrible mistake of having a few more beers than he’s used to, leaving his judgement somewhat impaired. He kept angling for information about the location of the “after-after party” – which is strictly “players only”.  It was Rabbit who stepped up to the plate, making his only contribution of the whole tour. He whispered something in Darren’s ear, slipping him a piece of paper. Darren read it and nodded slowly. A few mintues later, he snuck out of the room, and hasn’t been seen since.

We only got Rabbit to confess at lunch time.  Instead of a complicated plan, he had gone done the simple route – told Darren to go to his room and wait for someone to ring him and let him know where the party was.  “Oops, forgot to ring him!” said Rabbit, to raucous applause from the squad.

The members of the team who are about to play in the IPL are very nervous.  There’s talk in the media that those selected for The Ashes shouldn’t be preparing for facing the skillful English swingers by playing hit and giggle on the flat India pitches. No-one wants to give up their IPL contract, but on the other hand, everyone wants to be thought of as so important for the Ashes Tour that they are asked to miss the IPL.  Every phone call is answered as if it’s from Cricket Australia, but so far, only the Captain and his dicky back will be sitting out.

Those of us who didn’t get an IPL contract – we’re not bitter at all – are packing up to return home tonight.  I saw Wicky carrying three large black plastic bags down to the incinerator room himself, shrugging off all offers of help from hotel staff. He obviously didn’t want the contents falling into souveniour hunters’ hands. Or anyone else’s.

It’s hard to believe it’s all over, and even harder to believe that I made it from being a rank outsider to actually making my Test Debut.  I even scored a few under pressure, so maybe I’ve moved up a notch in the eyes of the Selectors – both the current ones and any others who might be appointed in their place. Not that I think that they should be replaced.  Or that any new ones won’t be as good.  You get the idea.

Bring on The Ashes!

Note:  The collected diary entries of The 17th Man will be available as an ebook for kindle and kindle apps from amazon.com shortly.

© 2013 Dave Cornford & Jeremy Pooley

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