What's to blame for India's performance?
Extracts from this year's bestseller The Book Of Excuses (continued)
75. ….and as we all know, with the moon in the ascendant, a Leo like Steven Finn is almost unplayable.
76. Like all stars, the Indian players love an audience. The media blackout in this series means that there are fewer people looking at pictures of Indian batsmen scoring centuries or taking lots of wickets. This is entirely down to a plot amongst Western media outlets, who conspired together in order not to pay the very reasonable fees charged by the BCCI, thus denying our players the opportunity to inspire their global audience. Crestfallen by their lack of media exposure, it is no surprise they are playing badly.
77. It should be noted that Monty Panesar's parents were born in India. At this very moment, BCCI lawyers are putting together a case to put before the ICC's Tall Story Committee to have all of the wickets taken by Monty subtracted from England's statistics and added to India's, thus putting a very different "spin" on the series. In return, as a gesture of goodwill, the BCCI have decided to give England sovereignty over Harbhajan and Ojha.
78. Having been forced to play on green tops in England and hard wickets in Australia, when our players arrive on home soil, what do they find? That Indian groundsmen have produced spin-friendly pitches, thus giving the advantage to touring teams. We have asked the public prosecutor to have all of India's groundsmen arrested and sent to re-education camps where they will learn how to prepare the kinds of pitches that will be to Team India's liking; as soon as we've worked out what kinds of pitches they might be.
79. Duncan Fletcher does not understand what makes Indian cricketers tick. Indian cricketers do not like to be told that they have to practise fielding, particularly not after dropping 17 catches the day before. Should a caring coach force his players to relive painful memories and humiliate them by making them rehearse something they aren't very good at? Unless Mr Fletcher starts to make the effort to understand the Indian way of doing things, we at the BCCI will be forced to conclude that he is to be blamed for everything (because he is).
80. The absence of the DRS system in this series gave the English spinners an unfair advantage. Having used it regularly and benefited from all of those lbw decisions that would not have been given in the old days, they have developed a sunny and optimistic approach to bowling. The Indian spinners, on the other hand, can't remember what an lbw looks like, which inevitably leads to long faces and pessimistic half-volleys. We have launched an enquiry to establish who is responsible for denying India the use of the DRS system, and though our investigation is at an early stage, we cannot rule out the possibility of a nexus of evil, involving little green aliens, Osama Bin Laden and Steve Bucknor.
81. The rice served to the Indian players in the Sourav Ganguly Sushi Bar was found to be seven and a half degrees below optimum temperature. The head of catering at Eden Gardens has been summoned by the BCCI's Rice Standardisation Committee to explain himself and we cannot rule out legal action or even wok confiscation at this stage…
Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England