This, that and the other. Mostly the other
After the recent debacle of India's loss in the first Test against Australia in Melbourne, the BCCI has decided to arrest the side's alarming slump in form by doing away with first Tests in all series abroad.
"We have examined the past records and they do not make for good reading for any Indian cricket fan," said a spokesman. "Traditionally, India have always been slow starters, and we have inevitably performed very poorly in the first Test matches of series abroad. Hence, we have come to the decision that in all future tours, India will not play the first Test match. The series will only start from the second Test match onwards.
He added a rider: "However, in the event of India losing the second Test, it will then be considered to be the first Test, and that result will thus be declared void. If, however, India have won a warm-up game, the second Test could be accepted as a loss and the series will thus be level."
This provision would only be in force, it was clarified, if both captains agreed. "If they do so, it will be sent to the match referee for a referral," the spokesman said. "However, if the DRS is not being used, this cannot be done.
"There is no question of the hosts claiming a victory even if India lose the warm-up game," the spokesman added, "because it will only be against a Board President's XI or some team of that sort, never be against the host nation itself."
Under the new system, results in the the third, fourth or subsequent Tests can also be negated, should India keep losing, thereby ensuring the team's alarming dip in form overseas is finally arrested.
Meanwhile, Harbhajan Singh has declared himself fit and ready for selection (not that he was ever unfit, except for selection).
Harbhajan said, "I am ready to help my country. I will put my disappointment behind me, and I have decided to go as a batting allrounder. I average more in Australia than Virat Kohli, Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma.
"Rohit Sharma has never played a Test in Australia, but that doesn't matter to me."
Harbhajan said that he had seen the middle order collapse too many times and thought he could give it the required stability. "I have the temperament for a long innings at the crease, and I shall prove it when selected for the next Test. Besides, I need all the practice I can get because the most important tournament in the world is coming up soon in April.
"I have also successfully become a medium-pace bowler now, with the help of Venkatesh Prasad sir." This was confirmed by Prasad. "Yes, it is true. Bhajji is now a fast-bowling allrounder. I transferred all my experience, and indeed all my pace, to him, and we have worked upon his fast bowling.
"I observed his bowling for a few months and suggested that since he wasn't really turning the ball, he might as well bowl a bit faster. That way, when he got lucky and it hit an uneven patch on the pitch, we could always call it an offcutter. The rest of the time we could say that it skidded on straight or that the pitch was not helpful."
Harbhajan is currently waiting at home, his BlackBerry ring volume turned up. He has deferred his betrothal, fearing it might leave him engaged and unable to attend to the BCCI's call.
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