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[For immediate international release]
By Our Special Correspondent, Chennai
India’s World Cup campaign received a timely pre-quarter final boost yesterday with the news that the team is prepared to make legspinner Piyush Chawla dress up in a dog costume to assist their chances in the quarter-final with Australia.
Dhoni’s men noticeably perked up in the field at the Chepauk in their successful defence of 268 against West Indies when a small dog sprinted onto the outfield like a quadruped Jonty Rhodes, and, roared on by a crowd excited at the rare sight of something moving with speed and urgency across the outfield, ran rings around assorted groundstaff, policemen and Suresh Raina for several minutes. A somnolent atmosphere was enlivened as the Chennai audience enthusiastically saluted the heroic pooch’s Ned Kelly-style efforts to escape both justice and Munaf Patel.
The West Indies, having been accumulating comfortably at 154 for 2, but whose pre-match psychological preparation unluckily involved visualising that they were cats chasing a mouse, promptly collapsed in a cavalcade of batting ineptitude to 188 all out, as India found some penetration with the ball and zest in the field.
In the post-match press conference, Man-of-the-Match Yuvraj Singh, was asked by Andy Zaltzman, one of the international journalism world’s most fearless investigative reporters, whether India would consider hiring a dog for the Ahmedabad quarter-final, or making out-of-favour leggie Chawla don a doggie outfit and run around the outfield. Yuvraj, without a moment’s thought, replied: “Yes, if it works for us. Definitely.”
As the shockwaves reverberated around the cricketing world, other leading teams, unwilling as ever to be left behind in the race to perfect the latest of the technological innovations to shape the modern game, were rumoured to be considering making their fringe players dress up as animals. England were seen taking receipt of a pantomime-horse costume clearly sized to fit a Collingwood-Yardy front-back combination.
Sources close to the England team suggested that the Collingwood-Yardy nag will be used in the Colombo quarter-final for Ian Bell, the Sledgehammer Of Eternal Justice himself, to ride in to bat like Alexander The Great, intimidating Sri Lankan players and spectators alike.
Chawla himself refused to comment on the breaking news, but was later seen under the floodlights at the Chepauk practising barking and chasing some sticks.
Andy Zaltzman is a stand-up comedian, a regular on the BBC Radio 4, and a writerFeeds: Andy Zaltzman
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Andy Zaltzman was born in obscurity in 1974. He has been a sporadically-acclaimed stand-up comedian since 1999, and has appeared regularly on BBC Radio 4. He is currently one half of TimesOnline's hit satirical podcast The Bugle, alongside John Oliver. Zaltzman's love of cricket outshone his aptitude for the game by a humiliating margin. He once scored 6 in 75 minutes in an Under-15 match, and failed to hit a six between the ages of 9 and 23. He would have been ideally suited to Tests, had not a congenital defect left him unable to play the game to anything above genuine village standard. He writes the Confectionery Stall blog on Cricinfo.