Page 2

Man in Tendulkar mask actually Tendulkar

Sidelights from the farewell series, the curious case of Mohammad Irfan, and more

R Rajkumar
Rohit Sharma acknowledges the crowd after making a ton on his Test debut, India v West Indies, 1st Test, Kolkata, 2nd day, November 7, 2013

An inspiration to simian-kind  •  BCCI

Ashwin freezes mid-pause once more
"Oh damn, not again," said MS Dhoni as he took off his gloves and signalled frantically to the dressing room for assistance in dealing with R Ashwin, who appeared to have frozen in place again due to his having paused for too long at the point of delivering the ball.
"I really wish he wouldn't do it so often," explained the skipper with just a hint of annoyance in his voice as he helped the physio give the bowler, who was lying down but otherwise still in his delivery pose, a thorough rub-down with various heating oils. "This is like the fourth time this week he's got himself stuck mid-pause."
Play was held up for almost an hour before the spinner eventually "thawed out" and was able to compose himself.
Man in Tendulkar mask actually Tendulkar
A man seen on the streets of Kolkata wearing one of those ubiquitous Sachin Tendulkar masks that organisers seem to be handing out to everyone was found to be none other than Sachin Tendulkar himself.
"It's the only way I can go out without being mobbed," explained Tendulkar from behind his Tendulkar mask.
But the little master admitted that he had been finding it increasingly difficult to remove the mask even while in the privacy of his home.
"It may seem strange to say, but I actually find that I'm able to relax more when I wear my own mask. Hey, you guys should try it sometime!"
At press time, Tendulkar still had his mask on and was seen trying to play tag with his children, who screamed in genuine terror as they tried to escape his clutches.
Batsman's weight loss compromises lazy elegance
A left-hand batsman who was told to shed some pounds found that the weight loss, while making him appear fitter and sharper in the field, had compromised the trademark "lazy elegance" of his batting. The description of his batting has since been downgraded to simply "elegant".
"As a southpaw, all I have is my lazy elegance, especially on the off side," wailed the batsman. "If I lose the lethargic quality of my craft, no one will take my batting seriously. Besides, how will commentators describe my batting now?" he asked rhetorically.
Doctors shocked at Irfan's fitness levels
Doctors and back experts have expressed surprise and outrage at Mohammed Irfan's continued fitness.
"It's absurd that we have a 7 foot tall, 32-year-old fast bowler who hasn't had a serious back injury yet," said one orthopaedic surgeon. "It just doesn't make sense. It goes against everything we were trained to believe."
Doctors maintain that all is not lost, however, and remain hopeful that the ongoing series in the heat of the UAE will eventually take its toll on the bowler leading to, at the very least, a stress fracture of the back.
"Fingers crossed," said a chiropractor.
Rohit Sharma's success proves Infinite Monkey Theorem
Indian fans aren't the only ones excited about Rohit Sharma finally coming good after being given innumerable chances to prove himself. Scientists, philosophers and animal activists have been following his progress with considerable interest.
"Until Rohit Sharma's sudden success, I think a lot of us secretly suspected the Infinite Monkey Theorem to be little more than an improbable but clever philosophical ruse," said one nerd, referring to the theory that posits that a monkey randomly punching keys on a typewriter for an infinite amount of time will eventually bang out the complete works of William Shakespeare.
But some say that it is unfair to equate Sharma's efforts with the theorem. "The monkey has only infinity to complete its task," said Subramaniam Badrinath. "Rohit had far more time than that and he was given untold numbers of chances to prove himself; he was bound to come good some day."
Tino Best minds the windows again
Tino Best is no stranger to being provoked into an act of reckless self-destruction while batting, and the Indians appeared to prey on his temperament in the first Test in much the same fashion that Andrew Flintoff did in 2004, when he asked Best to "mind the windows". At one stage, even the cameraman got in on the act, zooming into a shot of a closed window somewhere within striking distance. Spurred on, Best eventually fell to his own rage, holing out in the deep.
But grateful homeowners the world over are quick to point out that many a fragile and vulnerably positioned window in dangerously close proximity to six-hit cricket balls owe their continued existence to Best.
"When it comes to window-minding, let's just say Tino's unrivalled," said coach Ottis Gibson. "If it weren't for him failing to smash a ball right through them, a lot of perfectly good windows wouldn't be here."
When asked to comment, Best snarled and would have broken this correspondent's face had he not held up a sheet of glass in front of it as a protective measure.
India Mars Mission no match for Tendulkar farewell series
India's mission to Mars may be a significant achievement, but it is no Sachin Tendulkar Farewell Series, according to news reports that continue to dwarf coverage of the interplanetary voyage in favour of the batsman receiving one more accolade from yet another washed-up chief minister and her hangers-on.
"Look, there's no denying that Mangalyaan is an impressive accomplishment," said one editor of a major national newspaper. "Not only is it the most cost-effective mission of its kind till date, but it will benefit the nation in untold ways, and by extension mankind in general in the long run. But that still doesn't take away from the fact that it has nothing to do with Sachin Tendulkar's retirement."
The editor went on to say that time alone will be the best judge of the mission's success and place in history, "especially if it isn't Tendulkar's birthday or something on the day of said judging".

R Rajkumar tweets here.
All quotes and "facts" in this piece are made up, but you knew that already, didn't you?