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Jan 9 – Fourth Test – Day 4

Thurber Man was discovered in the late 1930’s in Columbus, Ohio in the American mid-west. Palaeontologists describe him as “an ordinary, often ineffectual person who indulges in fantastic daydreams of personal triumphs.” Let’s call him Walter.

The Prof and I missed the team bus to the SCG. We have a full day of appointments and conference calls with business partners and bankers. Coach2.0 excused us. He simply said that managing the Players Pension Fund investments was more important than swanning around in fresh whites in a row of seats poking our tongues at the wire spider. Impending retirements this year will bleed the fund like a latter day Abba tour [Ed. abbatoir?]. Coach2.0 wants the Fund cashed up.

We exchanged whites for suits, open necks and prefect badges for ties and the starched shirt front camouflage of the business elite. With his clear glass black rimmed spectacles, The Prof looked like the City Innovator he is. Christmas, the stand-in psychologist, said I looked good. She doubled as our security detail.

The oil barons were at 9.00 at the United Arab Bank, the Russians at 10.00 at their consulate, the Timorese at 11.40, Sandra and our UAE partners (by phone) at 12.30. Then the Israeli’s over lunch, the Russians again at 3.00, the Indian Curry Chef’s at 3.20, then back to the SCG for the last session. A full day.

Investment Fund No. 10 was in all sorts of trouble. The Russians were pumping the black gold to Europe for all it was worth to screw the higher cost shale producers and the Halliburton lovers in Congress. The falling price was squeezing the profits from our deep sea oil tenements faster than India leaks runs on an average day in the field.

The Bank was okay with it. The Shieks owned the bank,and were arbitraging Russian oil as they cut back their own production. The Prof and I agreed to airlift 200 old Russian tanks to the Kurds in Kobane in exchange for a 10% share in Fund No. 9 our investment in Dalmatian Coast Hotels. These days, the Kurd is everyone’s friend, except the Turk.

Sandra wanted access to Timor’s deep sea gas deposits. The Timorese agreed in exchange for building a deep sea container wharf and world wide cricket academy. They are forming a barbarian test and ODI squad from ‘stateless’ cricketers and shadow players.

The Israeli’s were tough nuts. They want to plant a Mossad agent in our team, and as they put it ‘get involved.’ They thought shirt fronting and sledging were effective and want to know how to do it. Was it like a slow acting poison or faster acting like a cluster bomb? What type of transmitter did we use? Can you hide weapons inside bats? Is the red ball an IED? The Prof said nothing. He engaged their security services for the World Cup and ditched the AFP. The liaison chap in the Minister’s office in Canberra was very pleased. He needed more undercover action types he can rely on.

The Mossad guy with ho looked like Moshe Dayan wasn’t happy. So we introduced him to the Russians. They were still working out their top 50 playing cards when we left. None were cricketers; most had funny names.┬áThe US shale producers are on everyone’s list. They are less liked than the North Koreans. Hans Blix is off everyone’s list and back on the A-list. It looked like we were playing cards. The OProf said we were. His wallet felt lighter.

It was complex. More complex than Henry Kissinger with more flapping ends than a batting collapse. Macquarie Bank tried to muscle in on a deal. The Prof sent Christmas to deal with them. She gives nothing away.

The Investment Funds are back on track. I tasted one of the pre-packaged curry meals we are airlifting into the Crimea. Solid as a brick, literally.

When we arrived at the ground for the final session I sat with my nephew in the stands to watch a typical ODI effort in our second dig.

Puff Warner bombed early. He said the ball was ticking when he nicked it [Ed. Bull. Mossad said it was only a test] UnLucky Rogers breezed to 50 for the sixth consecutive time. Hats off to the old bloke. Trapper scored 70 from 71. What else can you say? Forrest Burns and Wicky out a tired Indian attack to the sword to reach 5/261 off 40 overs and the World Cup is still a month away. Everyone was waiting for the end of play. Neither rubs nor wickets mattered.

We were sitting next to a couple of lads with a pile of plastic cups who were way past bedtime. My nephew, who notices everything, whispered “is that for alcohol?”

“Yes.”

“Gee, that’s a lot. Should they stop.”

I was about to reply with a Confucian word play when the big guy Paul leaned into me and said “Just quietly mate, are you his grandfather?”

“No mate”

My nephew started to shift in his seat.

“Is there anything wrong?”, I said. “Crabs perhaps.”

“No. Why aren’t you out here. Anyone can score runs right now.”

The big guy said he could hit a six off Ashwin with his bat between his legs.

It had been a long day. My Walter Mitty moment was over.

Trapper will declare overnight. He wants a full 90 overs at India tomorrow. The declaration criticism in Melbourne hit him hard.

Australia 7/572 dec and 5/261 dec. India 475

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