England coach Andrew Flower was caught looking up the word "teesra" on Wikipedia yesterday, in an apparently desperate attempt to learn more about the mysterious "special delivery" that Saeed Ajmal has been taunting his team with, both on and off the field.
"It's my job," protested Flower. "It's my duty as coach to do what it takes to help my boys, and if it means looking up things on Wikipedia, then by God, that's what I'll do."
However, when asked what he had found out, Flower grew testy and evasive. "Something-something-jalebi," he mumbled and shrugged. When asked to repeat what he had said, he lashed out: "I said, I found out that it's also called a jalebi," he roared. "As if one strange-sounding word wasn't enough, I have to deal with another. I mean, what on God's green earth is a jalebi?"
Flower was informed that a jalebi is a sticky, sweet snack, best enjoyed with a cup of milk.
"Well, isn't that precious," retorted Flower. "Used to be a time when you could go to Wikipedia for clarity, not more nonsense. I still remember looking up 'Bangladesh' a couple of years ago, when told we were supposed to be playing against it, whatever it was, and finding out that it was in fact a nation state somewhere near (in?) India.
"I can't tell you how helpful that was to our preparations for that series. But I guess that was back when Wikipedia actually stored relevant information," he sneered. "Try looking up teesra and what do you get? Jalebi."
Surely he must have found out something else on Wikipedia other than that?
"Nope. If I remember correctly, according to Wikipedia, the teesra is in fact just an 'orthodox backspinner', which means that it is actually a regular delivery, an arm ball that goes straight on," he sputtered. "I mean, who writes this stuff?"
Meanwhile, in a surprise revelation, Ajmal revealed that he doesn't in fact have a teesra, and that the "special delivery" he has been threatening to unveil against England for weeks is actually a pizza pie.
Ajmal admitted that all his talk of the mysterious delivery was just a ruse to confuse and instill fear in the minds of England's batsmen. "It's the oldest trick in the world," explained Ajmal. "I think it was Sun Tzu who said it best in the Art of War: 'Have your enemy expecting one thing, and then confound them with Italian food.'
"They're expecting this deadly new delivery that's going to have them all falling over their own feet at the crease, when, in fact, all I've done is bake this pie. I intend to make good on my promise and deliver it to them personally at the end of the series."
Asked about the timing of the revelation, coming as it does at the start of the series, Ajmal said that for all intents and purposes, the damage had already been done to England's batsmen.
"I can't wait to see the looks on their faces when I show up at their dressing room in my chef's hat, bearing the pie," he beamed. "'What's that?' someone will ask. 'Special delivery!' I'll inform them. Won't that be hilarious?"
When asked what his definition of a teesra was, Ajmal shrugged. "It is what you make of it. One man's regular arm ball is another slightly more special man's teesra. At the end of the day, it's a good tactic to keep England guessing and as hilariously confused as possible. They have enough sleepless nights wondering who or what the doosra is, let alone a teesra.
"I recommend checking out the Wikipedia entry on it for more detailed and expert information," he added. "I should know. I wrote it."
In other news out of Dubai, both Pakistan and England teams are being encouraged to spend more time with each other off the field to help nip in the bud any potentially unpleasant situations or bad blood, all too common when these two teams play each other. The first exercise scheduled for the players is a trust exercise often used in acting class, where each person closes his eyes and falls backwards, only to be caught by a stranger standing behind him.
England are said to be more receptive to the exercise than usual, secure in the knowledge that Kamran Akmal is absent. The last time a confidence exercise was conducted between the two teams, Akmal famously failed to break the fall of Andrew Flintoff, virtually ending his career.