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The Heavy Ball

Buchanan begins to make sense

Two dangerously logical strategies by the former KKR coach, and Uthappa has enough

John Buchanan speaks to the media after Australia arrive in New Zealand, Auckland, February 14, 2007

John Buchanan explains how taking off his glasses was a Sun Tzu-compliant idea  •  Getty Images

Former Kolkata Knight Riders coach John Buchanan has been so busy devising strategies for the KKR team for IPL 3, that he hasn't realised he is no longer coach of the team. Buchanan, who was replaced by Dav Whatmore after last season's debacle, told an astonished press that he had devised a set of new strategies that would help Shah Rukh Khan's side win the championship this time.
"While everyone goes on and on about 'team spirit', I have devised a whole new concept called 'individual Spirit'. The principle behind this is simple - if every player put himself first and foremost, and tried to ensure that he scored more runs or took more wickets than the others, everyone would play well, and the team would benefit. Makes sense, eh?" explained Buchanan, sounding a lot more sensible and practical than usual. "Players are so busy building 'team spirit' by having a few beers, visiting war memorials, reciting stupid poems, playing football and doing other random nonsense that they forget to build 'individual spirit' by playing plain cricket - which is the important thing, really," he added, sounding dangerously logical.
Buchanan also introduced a new concept for captains to "lead from the back". "I've had enough of this 'leading from the front' nonsense. If a general is at the front of his army, then he can't see what the soldiers are doing, eh? They could all sit down to play a round of dumb charades and he'd be cluelessly charging into battle all by himself. Silly."
"I feel 'leading from the back' is a better approach. The captain should take rest. He should stay away from actual play, and merely bark out orders, randomly shuffle the batting order, and yell at Ashish Nehra for sloppy fielding. Think how this strategy would benefit someone like Sourav Ganguly, and his team as well," he pointed out.
When someone in the audience reminded him that he was no longer KKR coach, Buchanan replied incredulously "What nonsense. Next you'll be telling me that Bangladesh put England under pressure in a Test match, and Ian Bell rescued them with a fighting hundred. Preposterous."
The press-interaction ended abruptly when Buchanan received a text message from an irritated Dav Whatmore confirming he was indeed no longer coach. "Oh? I'm not? Right. Guess it's back to the drawing bo. . . er, 'create new presentation' wizard," he said in parting.
Meanwhile, Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman Robin Uthappa has requested reporters, commentators and the general public to refrain from making jokes based on the similarity between his name and that of a popular breakfast dish in South India.
"It's been fun, but I think it's wearing a little thin now. All the bits like 'red-hot uthappa', 'uthappa has CSK for breakfast', and all those combo jokes featuring Graham Onions and me are just not funny anymore - so let's all make a pact to stop. Really." said the Bangalore dasher.
"Sheesh. Now I know how John Wright must have felt," he said, grinning. Uthappa also agreed he was proud to be part of a select band of players, along with Onions and former South African great Clive Rice, who could feature in the popular twitter hashtag #foodcricketers without any modification to their names.

Anand Ramachandran is a writer and humourist based in Mumbai. He blogs at Any or all quotes and facts in this article may be wholly or partly fictional (but you knew that already, didn't you?)