Okay, Okay we lost it. We are the worst team in the world. Our bowling is toothless. Our batting is spineless. Our captain is useless. All our cricketers should be robbed of their personal wealth and thrown in the Indian Ocean. I completely agree with you folks. They did win the world cup but that was 75 years ago, wasn’t it? I would have loved to write about a win or draw. Alas, this useless team didn’t give me a chance – like always. Losing is the name of the game for us. So I request all of you - kindly grant me permission to write about yesterday’s loss. Not that your permission matters but still. Here is how Last innings at lords went for me.
India is chasing 458. No Sehwag, hence we are looking to bat out 120+ overs – 27 overs in the last session of Day 4. If it was the team of 90s, match going to Day 5 would have been a bonus. But this team is different. We have lasted 180 overs against a less potent attack. We lasted 82 overs against a really threatening attack. So I have high hopes but do we have 11 batsmen to defend the match?
In Gambhir’s absence, Dravid and Sadagopan Munukd open the innings. Oh I got the name mixed up – it IS Abhinav Mukund, it WAS Sadagopan Ramesh. But it’s natural to get mixed up in this case, isn’t it? To strengthen my confusion, Mukund gets out in the same way which Ramesh had mastered in his days – dragging a ball directed towards gully to his stumps.
It’s 20/1 when I am forced to give up by the younger generation at home. I sleep or rather try to.
I see a dream that we are 5 down for 60 by the end of Day 4.
I pray to Lord Shiva, please open your third eye, and let this planet turn into the ashes. Lord Shiva smiles and tells me “Rise and shine, son.”
I respond and switch the TV on while expecting a heart attack. “Wow 80/1. Just 98 overs more to go”
The match starts at 3:30PM. I have a meeting at 2:30 PM. It lasts for 2.5 hours. Agenda for the meeting - that is what we look for during the entire period.
A friend texts, “4 overs, 7 runs, 0 wickets”. I take a sigh of relief.
Another friend texts, “Wall fall”. My heart sinks. If there is one man who can eat more time at the crease than the Indian judiciary does in its own field, it was him.
“Gambhir. He was the man in Napier. He was the man in Cape Town. Him it will be today” I reply.
Meeting gets over. I come down rushing to watch it live. Laxman has just smelt the crisis. He is batting normally. In his case, being normal is being brilliant.
Laxman pulls; broadcast shows its monsoon tantrums, England celebrate. Laxman is gone.
Damn. 3 down. I come back to my desk.
A friend tells me on chat, “Gambhir gone. 4 down”
MPwala guy comes to me and says “Dude, hope you know that Sachin cannot bat”
“But he is already batting, isn’t it?” I wonder which Sachin he was referring to.
“Oh is it. Then he cannot bat for more than an hour”
“Chill, he will bat us to safety today”
“No. You are not getting it. He was out of the ground for almost entire day yesterday. Hence he cannot bat for more than an hour. It is a rule. You better check it”
“So what will happen if he doesn’t get out in an hour?”I keep wondering.
“He will have to go back in any case. It is a rule. Check it” he orders. I ignore.
“I had told you we would lose before tea on Day 5. We will. It takes guts to make such a bold prediction my dear brother”
'Wish you had some common sense too along with your guts' I think.
I heart is sinking. I spell the charm “Expecto Petronum” Charm works. Sachin walked into bat at 109/4 at old Trafford in 1990. He and Manoj Prabhakar saved the test. We still have modern Manoj Prabhakar in Praveen Kumar waiting in the pavilion. I sent this comment to cricinfo. They publish it.
'That was 5th comment for this match that got published. Not bad. Will Bhajji’s wicket tally in this series beat my score? I mean my score only in the first test, entire series will be too much for him' I think.
It’s Lunch. I leave for home.
“Too difficult now” a friend calls.
“Why Sachin gone?” I enquire.
“No. They dropped him. He gets out soon after getting a life. It’s against his principles” he responds and hangs up the phone.
He sends a text within a minute, “Gone. 5 down”
It’s tea time.
Dhoni and Raina are battling it out. England needs 5 wickets. They have 44 overs to bowl in the last session.
'“44 overs in the last session? Are you kidding me? Indians don’t bowl 44 overs in a day.' I think.
I start counting - 44 more, 43, 42. Hope is building.
Tremlett bowls it well outside off stump and short. Dhoni still manages to nick it. He is gone.
Tracer Bullet murmurs, “It was touch and go.” He thinks nobody has heard it. I did. For once I agree with him. Dhoni somehow managed to touch it and Rauf ordered him to go.
Harbhajan comes in, heartbroken. His captain has made a mockery of him. He must realize that his captain has made a mockery of even test cricket. Harbhajan is yet to make it large to become bigger than test cricket. But he looks in a hurry to go back to the pavilion and sulk. He succeeds.
Praveen Kumar comes. 'May be Raina is Sachin and PK is Prabhakar, for future generation' I think. PK outthinks me.
I put my analyst hat on. India needed to bat out 4 sessions. They lost one wicket in first session, 3 in second, and 1 in third. Going by the past trends, India should lose exactly 3 wickets in the final session. They have already lost 3. No more wickets now. We draw.
Raina tries to prove me wrong. Billy helps him. I don’t lose hope. But Raina succeeds. My hope is wronged.
It is down to the last pair. I see my pessimistic friends getting ready for their “I told you” assault on me.
MPwala guy tells me on FB,”I told you we would fold up by the Tea on Day 5. And we are going to do exactly the same. Guts my friend, guts”
'But we are in the final session, Tea is already over. Oh, maybe he was referring to his own tea. I am thinking.
Last time we saved the Lord’s test by 1 wicket. “Maybe we’ll do it again” I just refuse to lose hope. As it turns out, I was hoping against the hope. We lose.
MPwala guy can have his tea now. He has waited for a long time. Rest of you can assault me with your “I told you so” crap.
But it is hurting. After all, unlike the past, losses have become relatively rarer.
I refuse to discuss cricket with anyone.
Indiana Jones and the last crusade look to be more soothing. Indi finally gets to lay his hands on the Holy Grail which gives a new life to his father.
Hope we get our Holy Grail before 29th of July. I am very hopeful that we will get it.