Ask Yazad: Elaborate ruses are back
Q. What do you make of Rohit Sharma‘s responsible knock in the tri-series final against Sri Lanka? – Shocked and Confused
A. If you count the Ashes and the tri-series final, that’s close to 12 hours of uninterrupted cricket.
Now I love cricket as much as the next guy. Unless the next guy is a basketball fan. Or a baseball fan. Or a football fan. Or a hockey fan. Or an ice-hockey fan. Or a synchronized swimming fan. Or a Sreesanth fan. But you have to draw the line somewhere.
So I decided to give the India-Sri Lanka game a miss. I know, opportunities to watch India play Sri Lanka don’t come around very often. It’s only the 42nd time they’ve played in the last 5 years. Anyways, I checked the score, and read match reports. It doesn’t make any sense, but it seemed that Rohit Sharma had decided to bat responsibly without throwing it away on a difficult surface.
And then it hit me, it was an elaborate ruse. So I decided to watch some highlights. It looked like Rohit, but it sure wasn’t batting like Rohit. I reasoned that all cricketers mature. But then I remembered this chap called Shahid Afridi.
So was it an alien conspiracy? Yes, I know. Very far-fetched. But so is the idea of Rohit not throwing it away. The only flaw in my reasoning is that aliens would have better things to do than take part in the India-Sri Lanka game; laundry for instance, or learning Taekwondo.
“Once you have ruled out the impossible, whatever remains
It’s a confusing time to be an Indian cricket fan. Jadeja has become good, Rohit is batting responsibly and Ashwin runs well between the wickets.
Okay, the last one isn’t true. You can’t have everything.
Q. Ashton Agar gives number 11 batsmen a bad name. Why is he batting so low? – Chris Martin fan
A. This time, it is an elaborate ruse. Either that or Darren Lehmann doesn’t know talent when he sees it.
But the fact of the matter is that Darren Lehmann does know talent when he sees it. Which is why he sent Agar in at 11. Because of his immense talent.
Confused? So were England. They expected a number 11 with the attention span of, well, someone who gets distracted easily and a technique that was a cross between Phil Hughes’s and Shiv Chanderpaul’s. Instead, they got a languid left-hander with a wonderful temperament who played an astonishingly swashbuckling knock.
So if he’s so good, why was he batting at 11? It’s really quite ingenious. Everybody knew there would be at least 1 Australian batting collapse. It was just a question of when. That knock could have happened anytime.
So Lehmann decided to lay a trap so cunning in its seeming innocuousness that England were caught completely unaware. They thought they had Australia down and out, and BOOM!
Had he come in at 8, they would have bowled differently. The beauty of the plan lay in its simplicity, put the good player in at 11 and they’ll never know what hit them. A sort of Trojan war-horse number 11. Had he played a similar knock from number 8, it wouldn’t have had the same demoralizing effect.
It worked too. Sadly, the Australian batting collapse wasn’t part of the plan. They were just that bad.