The Circus rolls on

Nehra, the potface
After the game against Punjab, which can only be described as an insomniac’s dream come true, Pune Warriors tried to make it up to fans by sending in Ashish Nehra for the press conference. And the move didn’t disappoint.

Like a non-tutored candidate at an IIM interview who blames everyone except himself for his graduation scores, Nehra blamed everyone from Uthappa to Ryder for their loss.

“Our fielding cost us the match,” said the legendary fielder. It’s unlikely that a blacker pot has ever called a kettle black. On a scale of absurdity, this would rank somewhere close to Arjun Rampal blaming others’ acting for his flop films.

To give him credit, though, Nehra put his vast international experience to good use in the next match. He took Pune’s suspect fielding out of the equation by allowing batsmen to hit him straight out of the park. Not once, not twice, but thrice.

As Nehra often says when trying to look smart, “No bamboo, no playing flutes”.

Honest teammates
He looks every bit a thinking man’s cricketer and a thinking woman’s teddy bear. And now he has his teammates to validate this perception.

In a survey amongst CSK players, most said that Ashwin would have made a better engineer than a cricketer. “Of course he would. An engineer doesn’t need to run after engines, does he?” one of them said.

“Well, a cricketer doesn’t need to run after crickets either,” Ashwin replied.

A darker future
No water, polluted air, violence all around, and memories of IPL’s opening ceremony. That’s the world we are leaving the next generation of cricket lovers with.

And, while we had inherited players like Dravid, Ganguly and Kumble to hero-worship till we reached the age of cynicism and senility, we are leaving the next generation with Ravindra Jadeja.

Already in this IPL, Jadeja’s scored two 40s, taken a Michelle, snapped up a rampaging Gayle, and hit the winning boundary off the last ball of a match. And, he’s also managed to look crap while doing all this. Now that will take some beating.

Showing all the signs of a future star in the same mold as Ravi Shastri and Ajit Agarkar, Jadeja is sure to play for India for another ten years by managing the delicate art of a decent performance every time he’s on the brink of being dropped.

My sympathies are with the 18-year olds who’ll have to endure him for the foreseeable future.

Money can indeed buy you love
Bollywood taught us wrong. Remember those movies where the hero throws wads of money back on the girl’s father’s face saying ‘Mera pyaar daulat ki bazaar mein bikaoo nahin hai Singhania saab’? That’s bullshit. Money can indeed buy you love.

Take Kevin Pietersen for example. This is what he said in a recent interview.

1. “Delhi is my favorite city in India.” Replace Delhi with Bangalore and you’d be redirected to his interview a few years ago when he was with RCB.
2. “Delhi has a great stadium.” Yeah, right. Those stands that were intended to look like a bird in flight but ended up looking like outstretched arms of an obese man do make a great stadium.
3. “Delhi has great owners?” What? Really? Those Meru cab drivers seen sitting on the owners’ couches during Delhi matches?

A reluctant Pietersen leaves the IPL midway to join his national team for a test series.

So KP, the move from South Africa to England doesn’t feel that smart anymore, does it?

Off-spinners have lost it
What’s up with India’s off-spinners going off the boil?

First Bhajji argued, threatened and intimidated the umpires in the match against Deccan as if his owner was the richest man in the country. And later, his off-spinning competitor Ashwin went finger wagging at Steve Smith as if his owner also owned the BCCI. Oh wait…

Ep 1: A Game of Chinese Whispers

“The toornaamaint will be as good as the opening ceremony,” Humpty Dumpty had declared last week. As time would prove, even Mr. Brainy’s astrologer couldn’t have been this prophetic.

The cricket’s mirrored the opening ceremony perfectly. There are those who fell asleep right in the middle of a Priyanka Chopra performance at the opening ceremony. And there are those from the opening match who are yet to wake up.

They haven’t missed much. It’s been business as usual. Lordie’s come back again. The Night Riders are safely tucked into what they call home – the bottom of the barrel. Gadheja failed against a good team and feasted on the minnows. And, nobody’s managed to lock Kanhaiyya in the lift again.

After 8 successive duds, it took the sixth day to produce one entertaining match, coming as a huge relief to the MCBCI. They feared, if the spate of duds continued any further, the tournament ran the risk of being rechristened Abhishek Bachchan.

Like in the past, the real contests have been away from the field.

Behind the botoxed faces, the arc lights and flash bulbs, behind the backslapping bonhomie and camera-friendly smiles lies a world of mistrust, deceit, and intrigue. In this murky world exist the powers that be. And, at the moment, most of them are frantically searching for the riches they could so clearly see just the other day. It’s a feeling not too dissimilar from that quick trip to the loo that cost you an entire Sehwag inning.

This is how the Chinese whispers go. Mr. Brainy says Slimeball siphoned off all the money. The owners are starting to challenge the theory saying that the only time they saw any money in this was when he was still around. Amongst each other, they are asking if Mr. Brainy’s greed and ego is taking the whole ship down. Moreover, they feel not only fleeced off their money, but also ripped off any chance of winning the tournament. A bit like how teams felt playing in Australia in the pre-neutral umpires era.

What should worry Mr. Brainy and Co. is that Slimeball’s name is being taken very often now in cricketing corridors. That he is in touch with the right people is known. What they should also know is that, if pushed to the edge of the cliff, the same people may not mind jumping onto Slimeball’s ship if it happens to show up.

Don’t believe the advertisements, there’s no mineral water brand that’s uniting the teams. There are 2 cliques – the big three and the bottom three. Off the three remaining fence sitters, the Bengali stud Macho Da will prove to be decisive. At the moment, he’s looking for an invitation to join the big three. If he doesn’t see it coming, he might jump on to the other side spoiling the carefully manufactured balance.

As the undercurrents start spilling out in the open, the edifice of this world is crumbling brick by brick. Will the hyped up league live to die another year or will it implode in this Mayan year of obliteration?

The drama will unfold over the next six weeks.

Disclaimer: Remember, fake is stranger the fiction. And more believable than fact.

My Coke Fanstation posts during IPL 2012

Hey there,

Here’s the much-delayed link to my posts on Coke’s Fanstation during the IPL. It’s been a bit of an experiment because I hadn’t been maintaining a blog for a while. All I was doing was posting my Columns on my blog.

After some experimentation, I landed up with a format that got me really excited.

You’ll know it when you see it.

Enjoy.

Click here for the link

Missing, but in action!

Hi guys,

Sorry. Been missing for almost the entire IPL from my own blog. How ironic and stupid at the same time. A combination of various reasons led to this.

Pitch Invasion (www.pitchinvasion.in), my baby for the last one year has been on full-time during IPL. 47 consecutive days of live broadcast. Plus, I’ve been writing a blog for Coke’s Fanstation and was putting stuff up there through the IPL. Also, I really didn’t think there was anyone coming to this site anymore. Until, that is, I accidentally saw some comments on previous posts asking me ‘what’s up?’. I am very sorry to those who’ve been disappointed.

Am putting up a link to the fan station where you can see all my posts. I’ll also post them here one by one.

I am much more regular on twitter and have almost started to believe that all those who are interested in my content are following me on twitter. I realise how naive a thought this is. So, will be more regular here than have been in the recent past. But anyway, if you are on twitter, please follow me @_fakeiplplayer. If you’re not on twitter, get on it pronto. :)

Cheers.

Of Munaf’s confidence and Vijay’s travails

Originally published in the Mirror Click here

Just because you’re not watching it, doesn’t mean that you should miss out on all the fun that’s been on in this year’s IPL. Barely nine days and a dozen matches into it, the tournament has already thrown up some star performers.

Here’s this week’s picks.

1.Munaf Patel
When Mrs. Nita Ambani said that Mumbai Indians is like a family to her, Munaf Patel seems to have taken it far too literally. Munna’s been behaving like his father earns 5% of India’s GDP.

Tu jaanta hai mera baap kaun hai?

In the game against Deccan, he bullied and terrorized the umpire into referring a decision to the third umpire, and kept ranting about it as if he would have left the ground taking his bat, wickets and ball if Sangakarra wasn’t given out. He was docked a percentage of his match fees, but looking at the grin he sports these days one would assume it counts for nothing.

Other than that, Munaf has been brilliant in the two matches he’s played at Wankhede under the watchful eyes of Bobby Darling. He took a diving catch, the kind he doesn’t even attempt when he plays for India, and is now proudly wearing the purple cap, which should do his looks a world of good.

2.Murali Vijay
Murali Vijay, this season, has a completely different look about him. Gone is the swagger that carried him from that lone century in 2010 till the dropped sitter of 2011. Gone is the cockiness of the man signaling the world to shut up after taking another sitter.

This season, Vijay has the same look that Dinesh Karthik and Abhishek Nayar wore last season – a look of desperation.

At the opening ceremony, he looked like a school kid being punished. Little did he know that the real punishment was to come later.

Vijay started by running out his partner in the first game. Was clean bowled by a little known left-arm spinner in the second. Was runout without facing any ball in the third. And, in the last match he showed that there are batsmen who try to hit their way out of trouble and there’s Vijay who stays right there.

Vijay doesn’t seem an appropriate name for him at the moment.

3.Ravindra Jadeja
At the start of the season, everyone wanted to know how the $6 Mn man would do. Generally, he’s lived down to the expectations India cricket fans have off him. Except for that one match against Deccan, the franchise that drove CSK to a tiebreaker over him.

4.Yusuf Pathan
Over the years, Yusuf Pathan has built a reputation of someone who feasts on IPL’s substandard bowling and fails at the international level. He’s been desperately trying to change that.

This season promises to be the one when he finally sheds that reputation by failing even in the IPL.

5.Piyush Chawla
Plates of rajma-chaawal drop on the floor more elegantly than Piyush Chawla did while attempting a back peddled catch in his opening game.

Yo Piyush

Other than this blooper, Chawla has tonked a couple of sixes, been tonked for few more and has generally lived up to his Wikipedia page description.

“Even though Piyush Chawla got lucky in the warm-up matches of the world cup, he showed his true bowling quality in the real World Cup. He played only 2 matches because his bowling was extremely pathetic. His participation in the World Cup was due to a new government policy that requires at least one idiot to be part of the team.”

This paragraph has been removed from Wikipedia due to factual inaccuracy. There’s no such government policy in place.

You can hear the Fake IPL Player’s live commentary during match hours on www.pitchinvasion.in

From anglo twang to ‘toornaamaint’

Originally published in the Mirror Click here

If you want to know the difference between IPL then and IPL now, all you need is to compare pictures of former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi and current IPL Commissioner Rajeev Shukla.

The former commissioner, no Adonis by any stretch of imagination, still had the flair to carry off his expensive suits. The current commissioner looks like someone who has recently shed his safari suit. One ended his sentences with a strange Anglo-American twang, while the other still calls it a ‘toornaamaint’. One looked every bit a 21st century success, the other is a throwback to the Babu era.

Lalit 'The Czar' Modi

Humpty Dumpty Shukla ji with Katy Perry

Not that the IPL was any better or cleaner then, it just had the look of another example of India Shining, a symbol of a resurgent Indian economy looking the world in the eye and screaming ‘I have arrived’. Today, it’s viewed as yet another Indian establishment ridden with corruption, nepotism and power mongering.

Back then, people wanted two IPLs every year. Today, they ask ‘IPL? Again?’

From being the reason to look forward to the summer, IPL has now become another by-product of it, like heat, power cuts and water problems.

Grand opening
“We have thought of great innovations in this IPL, like having an opening ceremony one day before the start of the toornaamaint,” said Shukla ji at the opening ceremony, staking a claim for Steve Jobs’ spot in the list of world innovators.

Excitement writ large on the captains' faces at the opening ceremony

As for the opening ceremony, organisers deserve full credit for pulling off the impossible – using the vast amounts of money at their disposal to put up a show full of drivel and dimness of mindnumbing proportions. It couldn’t have come easy.

Even the word 'bizarre' can't capture the opening ceremony

The stage made the event look like a garish wedding, the anchors compensated their lack of humour with loud noises, performances by the stars seemed like spoofs by body doubles, and viewers were subjected to an interview of Shukla ji when Katy Perry was singing right behind him.

“This year IPL will be just as good as the opening ceremony,” Shukla ji said towards the end of his interview.

And, for once, it looks like he’ll be proven right.

Grander opening
With the opening match between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians, IPL’s 2012 season has taken off exactly where the previous season had ended – a one-sided affair that, by the end of it, was being watched by only those who need to seriously relook at their lives.

The previous day Shukla ji had elaborated on another great innovation this IPL, that of having instructed curators to prepare pitches that ensure at least 160 runs. With leaders like him, Indian cricket is in safe hands.

Wouldn’t instructing each team to allow the other to score 160 runs be simpler, Mr. Shukla? Or, better still, start each inning with a score of 160 already on the board?

What can save IPL?
IPL governors need to realise that film stars cannot save IPL anymore, nor can massive advertising campaigns. Nor can slogans or star player endorsements. Such has been the cricket burnout that even close cricket matches are not going to get people to shut down their lives and log on to IPL for 54 days.

What IPL desperately needs is a controversy, a scandal of earth shattering proportions. Something that involves inter-team espionage, wads of cash, betrayal, and may be even the underworld. Or, a rebellion from within with a few teams threatening to pull out midway through IPL.

If Shukla ji wants his toornaamaint to survive, he should be fervently praying for it.

You can listen to the Fake IPL Player’s live interactive commentary during match hours on pitchinvasion.in

It’s that time of the year when hype is the only stock-in-trade

Published in the Mirror Click here

After 130 days of cricket in the 270 days since last IPL, it’s finally back to real cricket for India. ‘Yeh IPL hai boss,’ the voice on TV says, followed by a collective groan from all corners of the country.

Much like the car behind you hell bent on honking the life out of you, the gala opening ceremony in Chennai is designed to make so much noise that the country will have no choice but to take notice. Salman Khan has been brought in just so people watch Shahrukh Khan for the next 50 days. Big B is lending the perception of bigness. And there’s the customary foreign artist.

If this is the evidence to go by, this season of IPL will be no different from the previous one. Except that this time we will be denied even the sight of Romesh Powar dressed in orange and purple.

Fan is king
After four seasons of subjecting their audience to shameless advertising plugs, a series of clownish anchors, commentators exhibiting signs of serious midlife crises, and generally mediocre cricket, IPL stakeholders are finally waking up to the needs of the fan. Going into this season, every team finally has a fan program in place.

Deccan Chargers is first off the blocks. Their recently launched fan blogs are of such high quality that opinion is divided on who is writing them – Ishant Sharma or Saeed Ajmal?

Ishant Sharma - Writer par excellence

Sample this. We used to call, the 30+ players of Indian Cricket “Boys”, who in fact were not. But the scenario has changed from “old-boys” to “Young-Boys”. Today team India has only “Young-Boys”.

Now, who’d watch IPL when writing as entertaining as this is available freely on the net?

Kings XI Punjab has tied up with Indraprastha All India Sports Foundation to come up with a cricket-reality show. After all, with a name like Indraprastha All India Sports Foundation, you are bound to be the best in the reality-show business. In the show, budding cricketers can showcase their talent to millions of viewers by dancing with Piyush Chawla and playing cricket with Preity Zinta.

Viewers will be allowed to vote as soon as they figure out where the show is being aired.

Kolkata Knight Riders has already unveiled its ‘New Dawn New Knights’ campaign, which is resonating strongly with their fans.

Owner Shahrukh Khan, though, is upset with typos in the new tagline. Apparently, the version that Khan had communicated on the phone was ‘New Don. New Nights. Ask Shirish Kunder’.

With the excuse of ‘Not enough space on the website Sir’ not cutting ice, the management is trying to come up with a believable explanation for why the third part of the line was omitted.

Royal Challengers Bangalore has formed a ‘fan advisory board’ to co-ordinate various activities of the RCB Fan Club. The Board consists of 20 “die-hard” fan-members who will facilitate all activities.

This management style worked so well with Kingfisher Airlines. Exactly the same results can be expected for RCB too.

The Dilshan effect

Dilshan - Not exactly Tom Cruise

Bollywood starlet Nupur Mehta, allegedly the Matahari of match fixing, is milking her new found fame for all it’s worth. She claims that she was seeing Sri Lankan cricketer Tillakaratne Dilshan around the 2009 T20 world cup. Though, how anyone can see Dilshan for more than three minutes at a stretch is hard to fathom.

“England is ashamed that it could not perform well in the World Cup,” Nupur said explaining why The Sunday Times has dragged her name into the match fixing controversy.

Dating Dilshan can surely lead to an exalted perception of self-worth and delusional grandeur.

You can hear the Fake IPL Player’s live commentary during match hours on www.pitchinvasion.in

Crouching Gauti, Hidden Virat

Originally published in the Mirror Click here

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dhoni vs Sehwag is passé. Wake up to the latest rivalry of Indian cricket. South Delhi and West Delhi come face to face in a clash of personalities and egos between two players, both aggressive top order batsmen, one the angry not-so-young man, the other the enfant terrible; one a former future India captain, the other who currently wears that mantle. The two players are Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli.

On Tuesday, in India’s opening match of the Asia Cup, the two batted together for 37 overs in a partnership of 205 runs. But numbers don’t tell the story that lurks just beneath the surface.

It’s a story of two fierce competitors whose careers have lately headed in opposite directions and have collided head-on. Which way they go from here makes for compelling viewing.

The history
Gambhir played his first ODI more than five years before Kohli did. For the entire time they have played together, Gambhir has been the senior player. If a friend of a friend who claims to know Indian cricketers is to be believed, there have been occasions in the past when Gambhir has shown his seniority unequivocally.

Legend goes that in the middle of a series a few seasons ago, a party was on in the room of an up and coming cricketer with all the embellishments that adorn any superstar sportsman’s late-night gatherings. Two party poopers barged in and brought it to an immediate end. Apparently, one of them stood by the door sporting his trademark sweet smile as he watched the last of the guests leave the room.

We can leave it to one’s imagination on who pooped and who partied, but it’s safe to assume that Gambhir and Kohli were not on the same side.

Year 2011
Gambhir and Kohli will remember the year 2011 very differently.

Gambhir missed out on a world cup final century, while Kohli scored one in his world cup debut match. Gambhir, in fact, went through the year without any international hundred, while Kohli ended up as the highest ODI run scorer of the year. To make things worse for Gambhir, Sehwag had a terrible season as well.

In October 2011, in a Champion’s League match between RCB and KKR, Kohli, in an unusually aggressive mood even by his standards, was seen jeering, taunting and heckling the KKR bench, who were being led by Gambhir in the tournament.

Power equations were changing and the Viru-Gauti side was looking increasingly weak. While Kohli, firmly on Dhoni’s side grew from strength to strength, keeping his place in the test side and being elevated to vice-captaincy.

Tuesday was the first time ever when Kohli started a game as Gambhir’s senior.

The race
Gambhir had scored his 9th ODI century back in December 2010. Kohli, at the time, had only 4.

15 months later, Gambhir and Kohli stood at 9 centuries apiece. Both players wanted their tenth, and neither wanted to be the second to get there.

The race to the magical 10th was an interesting cat and mouse game. Gambhir held the lead till the 80s, but Kohli reached the 90 first. The result seemed a foregone conclusion when Kohli was on 98 with Gambhir six behind. With Kohli on 99, Gambhir tried to hit a six to get to 101, but the ball fell inches short of the ropes. It was the last ball of the over and Kohli had strike with both players one short of their hundreds.

In keeping with changing fortunes, Kohli got there first. And Gambhir showed a Kohli-esque emotional outburst after reaching his.

Honours may be even after the first two rounds. But more drama waits as the next few rounds unfold over the next couple of seasons.

You can listen to the Fake IPL Player’s live commentary during match hours on pitchinvasion.in

Things that might happen on the day Dravid retires

Originally published in the Mirror Click here

Today is likely to be a big day for Indian cricket. Rahul Dravid and BCCI president Mr. N. Srinivasan are set to address the press at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.

Since good things rarely happen to Indian cricket fans, one can safely assume Mr. N. Srinivasan won’t be announcing his retirement from cricket, but India’s greatest ever No. 3 batsman will bring down the curtain on a glittering 16-year international career.

The man who Sourav Ganguly called his biggest match winner, Dravid was the bulwark of Indian batting during India’s golden run in overseas tests in the 2000s.

Amongst many other memorable knocks, Dravid will always be remembered for the 180 he scored in Kolkata when Laxman scored 281, the 153 in Hyderabad when Sachin scored 186, and the 145 in Taunton when Ganguly scored 183.

Given the track record, punters are betting on something else happening today that’ll push the Dravid retirement off the front pages.

Some of the events being punted on are:
1. Tendulkar finally scores the century. Arjun Tendulkar, that is.
2. In an epic battle between two slappees, Shirish Kunder slaps Sreesanth.
3. Poonam Pandey finally does what she has been promising for a year, only to reveal that she is actually a he.
4. As a show of solidarity for his good mate Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakarra changes his name to Kumari Sangakarra.
5. A TV channel launches a reality show called Mayawati ka Swayamvar.
6. The other Rahul, who shall remain unnamed to avoid Kapil Sibal’s wrath, retires.

Experts believe that Dravid’s modest returns in the Australia tour in which he scored 194 runs in 8 innings may have led him to the decision.

In a case of mistaken identity, Congress leader Digvijay Singh has taken responsibility for Rahul’s Australia series.

Social media impact: Facebook to rename its Wall ‘The Dravid’.

Chris can. And he does.
Former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns may soon be immortalised in India.

A proposal within the BCCI recommends renaming them as the Board of Chris Cairns in India. The honour is in recognition of Cairns’ achievement in doing what the BCCI has failed to do over the last two years – drag Lalit Modi to court.

Chris Cairns is suing the former IPL Commissioner in London over a 2010 tweet that suggested his involvement in match-fixing activity during his time as captain of the Chandigarh Lions in the ICL.

This is the root of all evil - Lalit Modi

In keeping with the trending topic, Lalit Modi has decided to retire from Twitter. He has requested Mr. N. Srinivasan to sit by him while he announces his retirement, via a tweet.

Social media impact: Twitter, in memory of Lalit Modi, has decided to add a self-destruct button. They will call it ‘The Modi’.

Oh no, it’s Greg again!
India is to Greg Chappell what clothes are to Poonam Pandey. Every time he wants to be in the news, he takes off on India.

This time round, while peddling his new book that obviously needs some desperate peddling, Chappell said that Indians lack leadership skills.

Junk this Greg

“The culture of India is such that, if you put your head above the parapet someone will shoot it. Knock your head off. So they learn to keep their head down and not take responsibility,” Chappell said, showing signs that he has stopped his medication and re-started his video game bingeing.

Social media impact: Gmail renames its junk folder ‘The Greg’.

You can listen to the Fake IPL Player’s live wacky cricket commentary during match hours on www.pitchinvasion.in

Cricket faces crisis of confidence

Originally published in the Mirror Click here

Cricket in the subcontinent is in crisis. And the powers that be are too consumed in their petty politics, ego tussles, and greed to even notice it.

Months of accumulated cynicism have led to a total loss of confidence amongst cricket followers in the establishment responsible for governance of the sport. Such is the cynicism amongst fans that delirium has been replaced by disbelief, outrage by ridicule, and disappointment by indifference.

Take for instance India’s chase of 321 in 36.4 overs in their last league game against Sri Lanka. No sooner than this happened, social media was abuzz with match fixing chatter.

Questions being asked were:
• Why did Jayawardene take Malinga off immediately after Tendulkar’s wicket?
• Why did he delay the PowerPlay allowing India 10 straight PowerPlay overs towards the fag end of the chase?
• Why didn’t Malinga try the shorter one to Raina or vary his length and pace to Kohli when he got smashed for 24 in one over?
• How could a dasher like Dilshan score the slowest 150 in the history of 50-over ODI cricket?

I am sure there are perfectly good cricketing explanations for all these questions, but none of them will convince fans who have seen subcontinental cricket boards continuously further personal interests while glossing over important issues, and cricketers line up for lucrative T20 leagues while finding reasons to skip national duties.

Already, the owner of Chittagong Kings in the Bangladesh Premier League has said that “BPL has become a stage for gambling” and that he “doubts everything in the tournament”.

BPL’s richer cousin IPL, which has never been above suspicion in public’s eye, starts in a month’s time. All those players complaining of fatigue, injuries and homesickness will certainly recover and turn out for the IPL in full franchise colours.

But, this time round, don’t be surprised if the public does not.

Hot like Cheeka
What’s tougher than selecting India’s national cricket team? Explaining it to the media, as chairman of selectors Krish Srikanth found out recently.

On Wednesday, Srikanth spent two hours selecting the side and the next twenty-two hours explaining it.

During the course of it, he barked at a reporter asking him to ‘shut up’. As time would prove, that’s the only thing he said all day that made some sense.

Srikanth was in visible physical pain as he tried to explain what injury Sehwag was being ‘rested’ for. Physiotherapist’s report, doctor’s advice, lack of knowledge of “technical medical words”, Srikanth used his entire vocabulary to explain. Unfortunately, it proved insufficient.

In between all that, he talked about people fingering him and told a journalist on live TV that he (the journalist) was “getting hot like him”.

There was no need to explain, Cheeka. We all know that ‘rested’ in cricket is the same as ‘Just Friends’ in Bollywood.

Shastri lifted high and handsome
During the last match, a lift at the Bellerieve Oval in Hobart got stuck for 55 minutes with Ravi Shastri in it.

Shastri described the incident as something the doctor did not order. He said the light in the lift flashed just before it went off. And while he sat in darkness waiting for the power to return, he feared that the lift might go down like a tracer bullet. But, he also had a feeling that something’s got to give. Eventually, he said, the lift was the winner.

The lift, still reeling from 55 minutes of Ravi Shastri, said, “Next time I flash, I’ll flash hard”.

You can hear the Fake IPL Player’s live commentary during match hours on www.pitchinvasion.in