With the declaration confirmed, we settled in to watch the boys bring it home. Not much happened in the first session, and we waved them off for the second session with high hopes.
Two blokes wearing Cricket Australia overalls showed up just after lunch. One was carrying a tool box and the other a black device that looked suspiciously like a small version of spidercam. Without asking, one started measuring up the corners of the dressing room while the other unpacked a big-boy drill and started running a long orange extension lead from the sole power point in the room. He unplugged the power board that was charging everyone’s ipods without a hesitation.
I was about to challenge them when The Prof put his index finger over his lip. He motioned with a title of his head and I followed him outside.
“What’s that all about?” I hissed. “The Captain won’t have a spider cam in the dressing room, not after what happened on Thursday.”
“Agreed. And we don’t even know if they’re actually from CA.”
“We’d better do something.”
“No shit, Sherlock,” said The Prof. He tapped his phone against his chin a few times, then dialed.
“Hello. Is that SCG security? I want to report some inappropriate behaviour in the Members’ Stand.” The Prof listened intently to the response. “Yes, I understand. These two gentlemen are not wearing collared shirts. It’s appalling. They’re hanging about near the Australian Team’s dressing room, you should kick them out.” Again, The Prof listened intently. “Thank you very much.”
“Dress code violation? Is that the best you could do?” I said.
As I spoke, six security officers dressed in black suits appeared from nowhere, and filed into the dressing room. We followed them in, but by the time we got inside, they already had the two offenders in their grasp and were escorting them out the side door. They were wriggling a bit, but as they had their mouths covered with what looked like gaffer tape, the whole things was over noiselessly in a flash.
The security men grabbed the toolbox, drill and extension cord and left without acknowledging us.
The spidercam sat on the bench. A red light on it blinked.
Again, The Prof indicated that silence was required.
A metal jug filled with ice water and covered in condensation sat on a side table next to a pile of plastic cups. The Prof sauntered over to it, picked it up and poured the contents into Wicky’s kit. There was a hissing sound and a waft of green smoke rose from the opening. He deftly put the jug over the camera much like you capture a spider under a glass, slipped a piece of paper ripped from Hollywood’s Players Souvenir Booklet under it and flipped it over. He put the jug back on the table.
“Ask a steward to replace the water jug, will you 17th?” he said, and walked out onto the balcony.
I was just trying to work out how to do that when one of the stewards arrived, replaced the jug and replenished the Jatz biscuits. He took the original jug and left.
“What was that all about?” I asked The Prof when I joined him
“Who knows? One of the parties we met with yesterday. Someone from Channel 9 or Sky. Or CA trying to develop some more pieces of marketable footage. Either way, we’ve saved Trapper the embarrassment of having to say “No” to his bosses, so we’ve done our job.”
We got back to watching the game after a while. Kohli again batted well, and we just couldn’t get the breakthroughs we needed until it was too late. Never mind. A draw is a win when the score is 2-0. The Indian Team can be proud of their effort, the SCG groundsman less so. Plopper was a bit sheepish after leading the team song – I think he felt he could have done better. [Ed. That’s a bit harsh. He can’t sing and he bowled a zillion overs.]
After the main press conference, one of the hacks shoved a microphone in Puff’s face and asked him what he thought about Charlie Hebdo. Why do these people bother? Sarah (Head of Marketing) intervened just as Puff started to say ” The New Zealand opener should do well in the World Cup.”
With the Trophy in hand, we’re celebrating big time tonight.
Australia 7/572 dec and 5/261 dec. India 475 and 7/252. Match Drawn
This work of fiction © Dave Cornford and Jeremy Pooley