August 1, 2014

A day in the life of Pankaj Singh

When everything went wrong. And then some

"What do you mean you're not feelin' it?" © Getty Images

In a hotel somewhere in Southampton earlier this week.

7am: Get out of bed and have a shower. There's no hot water left as I'm stuck rooming with Ishant, who insists on washing his hair 20 times each morning. I got the short straw there, but that's the luck of the draw when you're a newbie.

7.30am: Head to the canteen for breakfast. Wait in the buffet queue. Realise I'm standing behind Marais Erasmus and Duncan. By the time I get to the table, there are only a few grapes left, so I have those. They're the ones with the seeds left in. I don't really like those ones, to be honest.

8am: Pop out to the news agent's to pick up a paper. The lady behind the counter tells me they haven't got any today because the delivery van was carried away by a tornado. I ask if tornadoes are common in Hampshire. She says, "Not really". Decide to buy a lottery ticket instead. Have to pick four numbers. I plump for 47, 12, 179, 0. I'm pretty confident they'll turn out to be lucky for me.

9am: Share a taxi to the ground with Jaddu. I offer to pay because he claims he's spent all his money on legal fees. He didn't tell me the Ageas Bowl seems to be nearer Delhi than Southampton. Cost me a fortune. Oh well.

9.45am: Eventually get to the ground and take the lift up to the pavilion. Lift gets stuck, but realise I'm sharing it with Wasim Akram of all people, so decide to use the delay to ask him for some killer bowling tips. I go to start a conversation, but Wasim points at his throat and mouths the words: "Lost my voice". Geoffrey Boycott is also stuck in the lift with us. He starts telling me about uncovered pitches instead.

10am: Get rescued from the lift by quite an attractive firewoman. She scribbles something down on a bit of paper and hands it over to me with a wink. Things could be looking up, I think to myself as I head to the changing room and get into my whites. I put on my lucky silver bracelet (it has a little picture of my hero, Sachin, inscribed on it). I should be focusing on the game, of course, but I can't resist having a quick look at the bit of paper the firewoman gave me: "Please give Ishant my number. He's so hot." Bit disappointing.

11.20am: I get into quite a nice groove. I'm bowling well and find the edge of Cook's bat. Jaddu drops it. He says he was distracted by a newspaper delivery van landing on top of the Shane Warne stand.

11.40am: I keep on coming in and have Ballance trapped plumb in front. I appeal to Marais, but he remains unmoved. I can't believe it. At the end of the over he apologises and says he wanted to give it but his loose trouser waistband was playing up again so he couldn't take his hands out of his pockets. Tough on me, but in hindsight agree he made the right call.

3pm: Clean-bowl Ian Bell but Rod Tucker calls a no-ball because my lucky bracelet is outlawed under ICC regulations. He says that because Sachin is now a member of parliament, it's a "political message". Seems a bit unfair.

3.40pm: Still no wickets, but as I walk in for tea the crowd gives me some nice applause. I meet Ajit Agarkar in the pavilion and he tells me that's the same way people used to applaud him for his batting in Australia in 2000. Can't remember how he did, but I feel very encouraged.

5pm: Pretty thirsty. Stuart B brings out the drinks, but then manages to trip over a pigeon and spill them just before he gets to the middle. Orange squash everywhere. MS gives him one of his looks.

5.01pm: Back on to bowl. Want to put Virat in at fourth slip but it's right where Stuart spilt all the drinks. Virat says he can't stand there because Anushka bought him his trainers and she doesn't like it when he gets them too dirty. No fourth slip, then.

5.02pm: Find the edge yet again. I think you know where it went. Still no wickets.

5.45pm: MS throws me the new ball. I wasn't looking so it lands on my head and really hurts.

8pm: Get back to my hotel room. Switch on TV to find the lottery draw is about to start. Don't expect I'll win after my bad luck today, but it's worth a go. I can't believe it as the numbers are read out: 47... 12... 179... 0. Incredible! I've only gone and won. I show Ishant the winning ticket. "That's for tomorrow night's draw," he says. I go to bed. It's a batsman's game.

James Marsh writes Pavilion Opinions. He is also a Tefl teacher whose students learn superlatives by being shown Graham Thorpe videos

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ESPN on August 4, 2014, 19:50 GMT

    Classy creativity and yearning story of Pankaj's debut.

  • gmsj on August 4, 2014, 7:01 GMT

    A great one! Superb comedy sense and timing of the words in the sentence was unbelievable. The ones about Eramus LBW and Virat refusal to stand at 4th slip are for the ages. Splendid work. Thanks for beating the monday blues.

  • Dummy4 on August 2, 2014, 9:20 GMT

    OMG its first time i have read something like this and its hilarious. Not only Pankaj should read it but also Jaddu and Andreson should read so they could smile a little. but as for Pankaj the dark horse of INDIAN cricket my heart goes out for him. Finally we have a bwoler who has played his heart out in domestic cricket to earn a place in Indian team and here while playing for it he feel as if he still playing club cricket where all the cathesh and appeals go down becoz for some wrong reasons. dont worry Pankaj time and destiny cannot be changed. just keep trying and trying and u will succeed at last.

  • Dummy4 on August 1, 2014, 21:08 GMT

    Everybody wants to run down this poor guy. He is a hard worker and gives his best. Give him a break and let him play one more game. If Sharma can get upteen opportunites-why not give Pankaj one more...

  • Jagadish on August 1, 2014, 18:34 GMT

    This hilarious! You had me ROFL....thank you

  • Android on August 1, 2014, 17:25 GMT

    nice!! kohli sachin trolled ;)

  • Dummy4 on August 1, 2014, 17:02 GMT

    Pankaj won't know whether to laugh or cry if he reads this :)

  • Sreenivas on August 1, 2014, 16:12 GMT

    Good one James, hope Pankaj reads it.

  • RAJARAMAN on August 1, 2014, 12:10 GMT

    Even Pankaj Singh will have a hearty laugh on reading this and will feel very much encouraged to paly the next test ... nice work

  • Android on August 1, 2014, 10:19 GMT

    excellent piece

  • No featured comments at the moment.