Satire: How the Indian World Cup team was selected
NOTE: This is a satire and the events described in this article did not really happen.
The Indian World Cup squad was announced yesterday, even as the Test team took a right good thrashing in the ongoing Test match against Australia, leaving fans stumped about what they should be angrier about.
An anxious fan said, "These are testing times for Indian cricket and its fans. Personally, I chose to fuel #KohliWorstCaptain on Twitter. However, those close to me were varied in their fury, choosing either #BringBackYuvi, #BinnyOut or #WhatWereYouThinkingMayanti."
This was only the tip of an unruly iceberg. Another group of fans said that they had found a loophole in the broadcast timings and hence, spewed rage at the Test team till the afternoon and then at the World Cup squad for the rest of the day. A member later revealed his cult tattoo that said, 'Munaf Forever'.
But amidst all the clamour, head of selection committee Sandeep Patil agreed to have a chat. Here are some excerpts from the interview:
Thank you for talking to us, Mr. Patil. Is it relieving to have finally arrived at the best possible combination for the World Cup?
Absolutely! In fact, the team was decided some time back, around the Boxing Day Test, and was to be announced on New Year's Day. But there were some last minute considerations we had to make.
I suppose that is understandable given how some of the probables, Uthappa, for example, have performed leading up to the selection.
(laughs) No, no, no, no, no. This had nothing to do with the rest of the squad! We just wanted to make sure Dhoni wanted to play. Can't have him leaving in the middle of a series again, can we? Also, we were waiting for Ireland to announce their squad to take some of the media attention away from us.
Right. So you're saying this team pretty much chose itself?
What do you have to say about the recent criticism regarding the exclusion of seniors like Yuvraj, Sehwag, Zaheer and Harbhajan?
We monitored these seniors very closely. They have nothing left to gain from the game, they've done it all – won the World Cup, been in the playoff stages of the IPL at some point, refused to show up for practice for their state sides. Heck, three of them have been in the 'Oo la la la la le oh' ad. And one has sued Vijay Mallya!
These guys are stalwarts, without a doubt. They've done themselves and India a great deal over the last decade, especially in the international press. But it's time to look forward.
We've seen in this Test series that our younger players have no hesitation in taking on a big team verbally for no apparent reason when being destroyed. These are good signs. Like you say, this team chose itself. Similarly, the senior players un-chose themselves. Can you print that? (smiles proudly)
Some will argue that Yuvraj was Man of the Tournament last time around.
This year, we have Ravindra Jadeja. And an exact replica in Akshar Patel. Left-handed batsmen, left-handed spinners. We have adhered to the Yuvi pattern AND made a backup too. Their arguments are invalid for the next two World Cups.
Are you saying Jadeja might not play in the next World Cup?
If Dinesh Mongia comes out of retirement as a backup for Akshar, we're not ruling anything out.
Some people feel Ambati Rayudu and Stuart Binny don't merit a place.
Ah, yes. I knew this would come up. I sat down with Saba Karim, Vikram Rathore, Roger Binny and...er...the Central Zone guy...and discussed the Ambati Rayudu slot for a couple of days. In our opinion, his experience as a Mumbai Indians player combined with recent performances just about pushed him in.
And what about Stuart Binny?
Binny was chosen as part of the Indian All-Rounder Project. Some people may not know, but this was a covert operation that started when Ganguly was selected all those years ago because he could bowl a bit of medium pace. It's the Indian dream to have someone who can bowl at Anil Kumble's pace with a longer run-up and come back later to match his batting average.
Guys like JP Yadav, Reetinder Sodhi, Laxmi Ratan Shukla and Joginder Sharma were successful graduates of this project. And in recent times, Abhishek Nayar and Dhoni have also participated. So we felt it was only sensible to resurrect this project and pick Stuart. Also, we couldn't find Irfan Pathan's number.
There are stories that Roger Binny arrived late to the meeting.
Yes, this is true. Roger was rather unlucky yesterday. Many people went out of their way to keep him from attending the meeting in a bid to keep Stuart out of the side. Apparently, he woke up late to find his alarm clock smashed to bits. His wife might have done that; we can't tell.
Later, the pilot refused to take off; thankfully, Srini knew a flying enthusiast who was in the cockpit and resolved this situation for us. So it was a bit of a tough day for Roger. He even lost his phone on the plane. But all's well now.
Do you think India has the firepower to defend the ICC Cricket World Cup?
Do you think that 'I' stands for International? (winks) (walks out)
Several other stories broke out immediately after we spoke to Sandeep Patil, including allegations that his car was being passed around like a crowd-surfing rockstar in the direction of the Arabian Sea. Some witnesses say Roger Binny might have been inside it.
There is no confirmation so far about these stories, but one thing is for certain following the announcement of the squad. Indian cricket fans are at their angriest and, by extension, normal.