I don’t quite know where we started to celebrate last night. The Natural (Ryno Harris) didn’t know. I think Puff said we started south somewhere in the Shire.At some stage we ended up in Surry Hills. We were making a hell of a racket in a disciplined sort of way until 9pm when the line outside the restaurant was so long that we agreed to sign autographs for the local kids. Hollywood said he had never seen so many short pyjama legs and clean feet. The faster we signed, the more wide-eyed children joined the line.
I was in the middle of the Test XI signing for ‘The Diarist’ with the flourish of Dostoyevsky. The Prof was up the order. I was in my element until I looked up into the eyes of some bright spark. He was short but I recognised trouble immediately.
“Who are you?”, he said.
“A member of the winning team. What’s your name?”
“Freddie. What’s yours?” He looked me over. “I don’t recognise you.”
“I don’t recognise you either.”
He drew his junior brow together in a quizzical way, ticking off the victorious eleven in his mind
“MUUUUUMMMMM! Who is this guy?”
Coach2.0 wandered over to the little sod.
“I know you. You’re Boof. You smoke. That’s disgusting.”
Coach2.0 replied “Look Freddie…”
“Only family call me Freddie.”
“Ok junior. You’re holding up the queue. Come and talk to Trapper Smith. He’s the Captain.” But the urchin wouldn’t let go. He was losing it.
“NO. Who is that bloke? Tell me who he is!”
Coach2.0 tried his best to conciliate the boy as he does when a batsman fails on a run-filled wicket.
“He is The Diarist. He plays when no one else is.”
“What? When did he play.”
“Once, in India. Do you want some ice-cream?”
“No. MUUUUMMMNMM! COME!”
I was giving my best impression of serene indifference waiting for the next onslaught. The boy would not be silenced .
“So he’s an imposter! The sign says ‘Meet the Australian Team’, not meet anyone. MUUUMMNM!”
“Look junior, he’s a Mossad agent, part of security. Leave him alone.”
“You’re lying. That’s rubbish.”
“No, it’s true. I’m telling you.”
Coach2.0 had stuffed it. I looked at him shaking my head. Christmas, who had seen the commotion from fine leg, grabbed the young whippersnapper by the hand. “You’re right. You’re always right. If he was Mossad he couldn’t tell you anyway.”
“Who are you?”
“The team psychologist.”
“Why are you afraid! Is there something you want to tell me?”
The boy turned a wicked smile.
“Are you going to show me a colour chart?”
“No… Why? If I did, what would you see?”
“A naked woman.”
Christmas had stuffed it. There was no comeback. She shrieked for the boy’s mother who was elbowing her way through a thin line of on-lookers. She was dressed to kill.
“Hi. Thanks for looking after Blumington. By the way, the Indian team is across the road. I had to wait ages to see Anushka. Your line is so short. I guess I arrived just in time.”
She grabbed young Blumington Churchill Crichton-Flinch by the ear, and left. The line started moving again. No one asked what I did, but I signed every bat, book and scrap of paper in sight including Christmas’ t-shirt.
On the street, the Indian line was down the road and through the Crown Street traffic lights. Police were redirecting the traffic into side streets. We wandered across the street into the Indian restaurant with a few beers tucked under our arms.
Virat’s men were celebrating hard with their supporters. Virat was happy. He said he wouldn’t mention 4-0 if we didn’t mention 2-0. Trapper agreed as long as Virat didn’t mention the timing of his 5 declarations. Virat agreed. They both agreed the pitches were too green and uneven to score runs.
Virat said the only thing he could do for us was to increase our autograph line. He tweeted “Anushka and MSD are signing autographs for the Australians. Come and see.” Within ten minutes there were more people in the street with Bollywood bling and Indian flags than fielders around the bat at the SCG on day 5.
MSD explained. “The best series loss we have ever had. We were so confident in batting out the fifth days. We won.”
Trapper consulted his scorecard. “Is that right. I’m pretty sure we won. 2-Nil.” It went on like this as we signed autographs and swapped pens when they ran out of ink. No one cared who I was.
The SCG was quiet. Every pitch curator in the country is busily preparing tarmac-like roads for the World Cup in February.
Bring it on.
The Prof and I are in the World Cup team. Coach2.0 said he needed to keep our selection quiet for security reasons. He hoped we didn’t mind.