The Heavy Ball

Party hearty

What do IPL players get up to at night after the games are over? We present fragments from a cricketer's notebook, which fell into our hands

Kids, they just wanna have fun, I tell you  •  Getty Images

Kids, they just wanna have fun, I tell you  •  Getty Images

March 30
Settled down to watch some TV before bed. Surprised to see the replay of the Adelaide Test on a show called India Glorious.
(Note to self: Must call and thank the channel. It's a privilege and honour that they still show my innings from seven years ago. Note [2]: Have I lost some hair since?)
I was about to look up my notes on the game when Mark walked into the room wearing a shade of pink the MCC have said they will use on cricket balls.
"Let's go down to the party, Jammy," he said. I have told him I don't like being called Jammy and certainly will not call him Bouchie, when he has such a strong, upstanding name like Mark, but it seems Dr Mallya wants us all to bond through nicknames. He really doesn't want us to seem like a Test side, I suppose.
I asked him what party. I was a little worried because we are on tour, so my bedtime was fast approaching and I still needed to finish my meditation. He said it was called IPL Nights, and would have models, cheerleaders and Bollywood stars. A party the night before the match? I know it's mandatory but this is ridiculous. I shall write a strongly worded letter to Dr Mallya. Mark says it's a Page 3 event, so I must dress casual. No problem. I shall wear my official RCB t-shirt and jacket and leave the tie.
10.20pm Just got back from the party. It wasn't a total failure. I managed to test audience reactions for my speech for the Colin Cowdrey Lecture: "Changes in behaviourial patterns of cricketers from the 1990s to the 2000s: decade of grit to decade of glitz".
(Note to self: Must ask Virat or one of the younger guys how to type "emoticons".)
Virat and Suresh were sitting with two young ladies, who were trying to get Virat to take his shirt off to show his tattoos. I managed to step in and prevent any awkwardness. I asked who would like to listen to a comparative study between cricket in this decade and the previous. Brett once told me any situation can be defused with a cheery smile. It worked! The girls stopped trying to unbutton his shirt and all four of them turned to me with raised eyebrows. "Comp what?" Suresh asked. I'm beginning to think he didn't finish reading Steve Waugh's Out of My Comfort Zone, which I lent him. In the next 20 minutes I gave them the gist of my speech. I sensed Virat and Suresh weren't entirely happy being told they belonged to the decade of glitz.
April 1
Met Sachin and VVS at Delhi airport on my way to Mohali. I was about to tell them the great new joke I heard about the other member of our "Fab Four" when Mr Shahrukh Khan walked over to our table.
"EverymovieIdoismybabyandeveryKKRplayerismybaby. wishIcouldtellyouallmydreamsforKKRforIndiafortheworld. Mwaah." With a cloud of smoke, he was gone. Followed by a camera crew. It seems he was shooting a documentary. I hope I am not bought by KKR next season. I have no problems with Mr Khan's involvement with the team and his affection for his players, but I draw the line at watching his movies.
Virat and Suresh were sitting with two young ladies, who were trying to get Virat to take his shirt off to show his tattoos. I managed to step in and prevent any awkwardness
April 3
We won at Mohali yesterday. Punjab didn't give us any other alternative. As a team-bonding exercise, I suggested we watch the ABC documentary From Benaud to Border , which I had brought back from Australia, but everyone else wanted to go attend the IPL Nights. Again? This time it was at our hotel. I had seen the door marked Hot n Wet this morning and assumed it was a greenhouse. Turns out that's the club.
I thought I'd sneak in and out of the party quickly but was accosted by a hyperactive lady from MTV. I've got more coherent questions from a drunk-and-bawling Freddie Flintoff. Luckily I have trained myself to tune out when the media asks me questions. I reply with pre-packaged answers, but no one realises:
Lady: Do you think cheerleaders are good for the game?
Me: I think they are an integral part of the game. You know, the game is evolving and we need to roll with the times. [Note: can also be used for questions on technology, Andrew Symonds' drinking problem, and Gambhir's frank views]
Lady: What is your favourite fashion accessory on the pitch?
Me: It's important to go out there with confidence. Just believe in yourself and watch the ball and everything will be fine. [also use in: messages to young cricketers]
Lady: Right. Where would you take Preity Zinta out on a date?
Me: Bowling. We should concentrate on that. See how to avoid injuries and build a world-class unit. [also use in: team meetings]

Any or all quotes and facts in this article may be wholly or partly fictional (but you knew that already, didn't you?)