Satire: India pull a mighty shuffle ahead of 4th test against England
Hello and welcome to the pre-show on the first morning of the fourth and final test of the India vs England test series. Trailing 2-1 at home and having played as though they’ve been fondly commemorating the British raj, India are finally looking to turn things around. They’ve certainly stepped out determined to unleash a whirlwind of change, having decided to go in with 5 bowlers and 5 batsmen: Sehwag, Ojha, Dinda, Chawla and Ishant will be the bowlers and MSD (Well ofcourse, MSD is a pure batsman! That he keeps wickets is his magnanimity and Indian cricket should be grateful to him for doing it without shouting “Aai ga” after each delivery), SRT, Pujara, Kohli and R. Ashwin will play as specialist batsmen. Ravindra Jadeja will make his test debut as an all-rounder. In the spirit of change, they might freely swap roles as they please.
Virender Sehwag has decided he will be batting left handed in fond memory of his best friend Gautam Gambhir’s test career. He actually wanted to bat with a runner who would be yelling out misleading calls on his behalf, but looked visibly gutted when he was reminded about the no runners rule. Opening the innings with him, will be the debutante, triple first class triple centurian, the million dollar IPL baby, the utterly insipid (with the ball, well ofcourse!) Ravindra Jadeja, who will not be batting right handed. There was serious deliberation to have the in-form Pujara and Ashwin open the batting but then, that would just be too logical. Where’s the ‘change’ in that!? The likely batting order to follow, will be Kohli at 3 and Ashwin at 4 (Well of course, the team’s best batsman always bats at No. 4), with SRT, MSD and Pujara playing a game of rock, paper, scissors, lizard, spock to determine when their turn to bat comes. In the event that India do manage to survive an evening session and there is a need for a night-watchman, Piyush Chawla and not Ishant Sharma, shall enjoy that responsibility. Yes, enjoy it, for a change!
The team actually camped at the ground the previous night, and completely shunned all non-cricketing forms of warm-up and practice exercises before the game. Instead, after a prolonged net session under lights (Well ofcourse, the T20s are coming up, no?) they lit a bonfire on the wicket and done a ceremonial rain dance someone had seen on discovery channel. As to who it was that came up with such a brilliant thought, is a complete mystery (Well of course, it was Duncan Fletcher who suggested it. After all, watching Discovery channel is all he is doing when you see him staring at that laptop screen). The support staff was tasked with arranging the rain and thunder-lightning effects. For a change, they actually did a marvellous job with the stadium’s floodlights, sprinklers and PA system.
Also, this time around, MSD has decided to lose the toss, and even if Alastair Cook manages to not win it, he will be electing to field first. The strategy has been carefully thought out. Ravindra Jadeja on test debut, will be given the new ball along with Pragyan Ojha. What’s more, they will be bowling left arm swing with three slips and two gullies with no reservations about the recently baked VCA pitch which looks more like a piece of the German Autobahn than the traditional Indian dust bowl. This, because the curator, for a change, did not apply any morals or scruples or such utterly inconsequential things, and instead completely handed over the task of preparing the wicket to MSD. Ashok Dinda and Ishant Sharma will be tasked with simply changing the pace, since swing bowling will anyway be taken care of by Jadeja and Ojha. They will not be expected to take wickets, and will be bowling to a never before seen “corona” field, with all men patrolling the fence.
However, as much as things change, some remain constant. MSD will still be leading the side, SRT will still be battling it out against bowlers he should be dominating, and well ofcourse, nobody will be able to explain exactly what the heck Piyush Chawla will be doing out in India colours. Ajinkya Rahane will still be doing 12th man duties at all the ‘silly’ positions around the bat when MSD wants him to, and Virat Kohli will be wagging a finger or two whenever he gets the opportunity.
The English team, meanwhile can be seen trying their darnedest to stop giggling like little girls and instead concentrate on their (by now, from the looks of it) completely redundant pre-match net session. And just from that, we know that India’s ploy is already working!
Disclaimer – This article is a work of fiction by the author and should not be taken seriously.