Alan Tyers goes behind the scenes
Mitchell Johnson shook the tension out of his arms. He took a deep breath. He exhaled. He waited. He spun round and delivered a devastating glare.
The Australian dressing room burst into applause.
"Mate, that was absolutely ripper," said Michael Hussey. "Really awesome execution of your staring skills."
"Aw, cheers Mr Mistercricket," said Johnson, blushing. "I've been working on it."
"Yeah, good boy Mitch-o," said Ricky Ponting. "Sachin'll be crapping himself. What's 13,000 Test runs in the face of Blue Steel? So what about our mental disintegration strategies for the other Indians?"
"I'm going to stare hard at their top-order batsman," said Johnson. "They don't like it up 'em."
"I liked that stare you did in the Ashes, when they kept hitting you for four and you couldn't get the ball on the cut strip," said Ben Hilfenhaus. "And the one you did at me from long leg when I had to keep bowling and bowling until I couldn't feel my legs because I was the only bloke who could actually do it."
"Now come on, mate," said Doug Bollinger. "That's not very team-materly of you. We're all part of one unit - and one universal consciousness."
Johnson looked bemused.
"Like when we're all focused on sledging someone and everyone calls a bloke a swear name at the same time?" he asked.
"No, mate," said Bollinger. "This is even bigger and more beautiful than that."
"Even better than when Sidds called Ian Bell a w***er and stole his Lucozade isotonic recovery drink and hung him on a coat hook in the Trent Bridge dressing room?"
"Even better than that," confirmed Bollinger. "I've been using this visit to India to study some Eastern philosophy and, mate, those Zoroastrians have got some ripper ideas about dualism and the existence of a universal and transcendental God."
"You what, mate?" said Ponting.
"Mate, I'm using this trip to better myself," said Bollinger. "Not just as a cricketer, but as a person and a thinker. Now, it's always been said that I am a thinking cricketer."
"Nobody's ever said that, Doug, mate," said Ponting.
"Well, they can now," said Bollinger. "I've achieved a higher state of consciousness and I'm ready to take on the world."
The team clapped and cheered. Mitchell Johnson stared hard.
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