This, that and the other. Mostly the other
Series/Tournaments: Indian Premier League
With the IPL finally over, batsmen settling down in earnest to preparing for a new season of Test cricket have been complaining of a strange and troubling new phenomenon: their off stumps seem to have gone AWOL.
"What am I going to do now?" said a rather contrite-looking Jacques Kallis as he pondered facing an entire day's worth of line and length. "Like most batsmen, I hadn't paid any attention to where my off stump was during the IPL. In fact, I never even gave it a second glance. But I didn't expect to lose sight of it entirely."
Other cricketers have also complained of missing sticks.
"I'd taken mine out with me on a couple of errands I had to run," said a tearful Rahul Dravid. "On the way home, I decided to stop at the mall for a slightly less colorful pair of sunglasses to wear during the upcoming tour of the West Indies. I thought the little bugger was with me the whole time, but when I turned around after trying on my 19th pair, he was gone, just gone. This is so unlike him."
When asked if he had a message to convey to the missing piece of timber, Dravid said he feared it might have fallen into the wrong kind of company. "I just hope that wherever he is, he's okay," he said, turning to the assembled cameras to make a heartfelt plea. "Just come home, son."
Elsewhere Shane Watson was found moping around his apartment, his hair wrapped in a towel as he waited for the leave-in conditioner to kick in, and listening to 80s hair band Cinderella's smash and only hit, "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)". "I always wondered what this song meant," whimpered Watson. "And now I wish I didn't know."
Virender Sehwag, on the other hand, seemed a little bemused. "What's an off stump?" he said, before excusing himself to overseeing more important matters, such as finally making that phone call to fire his hair-replacement surgeon.
"It's just a sad reflection of our times that cricketers these days are finding it difficult to keep track of their off stumps," said a private investigator hired by the ECB to look into a complaint filed by one Kevin Pietersen, a case that, after initially being dismissed as a hoax due to KP's not having played in this year's IPL, was then reopened when it was found that the player didn't know where his off stump was anyway.
Interestingly, the investigator also said that an increasing number of bowlers, as well as the entire Pakistan and West Indies teams, were similarly afflicted by the condition.
The ICC, for its part, has issued a statement, announcing the formation of a new committee to look into the matter, which is to be named as soon as a catchy acronym can be decided upon. Lalit Modi is rumored to be in the running for the position of chairman.
R Rajkumar is a writer who splits his time between London, Coimbatore and the part of his mind that is dedicated to the making up of, and the subsequent revising of, the cricket team he knows should have been picked instead of the one that just was. All quotes and "facts" in this article are made up, but you knew that already, didn't you?
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