Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category


Chandrasekhar Jayaramakrishnan

In a dramatic twist of events leading up to the Adelaide Test, former Indian skipper Saurav Ganguly has done a Shahid Afridi and has announced a sensational return to International Cricket, citing Paul Scholes of Manchester United as an inspiration to make this decision.

“Coming from the state of Bengal, football is followed with an equal intensity as cricket is. I have been playing football with a cricket ball for some time now, combining my two loves, and it has helped me sight a cricket ball now like a foot ball. When a friend of mine called me from Kolkata and said that the streets are flooded with posters calling for my return and citing Scholes as an example, I told myself that if Scholes does it, then Sourav does it too” announced Dada at a press conference outside Perth airport.

Dada returns from the saloon to save Indian cricket

“And it wasn’t just about Scholes. It was more. I averaged 53 this domestic season and even blew out Delhi’s tail in a terrorizing spell of less-than-medium-medium-slow-reverse-swing bowling where I took 3 for 1 off 7 deliveries. Besides, I am in fine nick playing Howzat cricket online. Of course, I wanted to step up for what I represent – Pune Warriors. They haven’t got anyone playing this series. Yuvi is out injured, as is Tim Paine,” he added.

When asked whether he’d be captaining the side at Adelaide, a thoroughly pleased Saurav said “I would have thought that was obvious. Now that Dhoni is suspended, I will be filling in. Coming to think of it, why do you even think Dhoni was suspended in the first place?”

When questioned on how he feels his form is, Dada looked pleasantly surprised. “I scored 135 against Haryana – any of you read that? Haryana is Kapil Dev’s state, and I’ve literally scored 135 runs against one of the greatest all-rounders the game has seen. Do I need to justify my selection anymore?”

Tom Moody, who was present at the vicinity, was pleasantly surprised by the nature of the announcement.

“I had no idea Saurav would do something like this,” said Moody when questioned whether his co-commentator during the series had shown any signs of interest in returning to International Cricket. “All he kept mentioning was Dinda, Dinda and more Dinda – Dinda bowls faster than Umesh, Dinda bowls craftier than Zaheer, Dinda can spin the ball better than Ashwin, Dinda is taller than Ishant, heck, he is even taller than you Tom … and every now and then, he questioned why Dhoni wasn’t bringing Dinda in to the attack.”

ESPN STAR Network, on the other hand, acknowledged that they were informed about the decision made by Saurav by his agent the previous day.

“Dada’s agent called us the previous day to inform on his decision,” said an unknown representative of STAR. “He has a commentary contract to honor – and he said he’ll stand by it. He will commentate while on the field in Adelaide – while batting, bowling and misfielding. He will even stop the cricket when the replays are being shown so that he could dissect them to closure and call the umpire names should he get a decision wrong – in the capacity of an expert. It is understood that it will not be considered as dissent. He will also hold up play till all commercials in the ad breaks are complete and ensure cricket resumes only after that.”

Meanwhile, a delighted Harbhajan Singh was seen running around Jalandhar, bare-chested, twirling his shirt with more vigour and spin than his bowling has seen in a decade. He was heard screaming that his shin had healed miraculously and reckoned he was worth his place in the Indian team as a batsman alone given his overseas batting record is as good as any of the Indian top-order. Also, re reckoned that he will unleash his new mystery delivery – the reverse-spinner – on Ponting & co very soon.

Reactions from the Indian camp are awaited.


Goutham Chakravarthi

After another humiliating defeat at the WACA, with India facing its biggest crisis post the match-fixing saga at the turn of the century, N. Srinivasan, the president of BCCI was seen hurrying into 221B Baker Street in central London to consult Sherlock Holmes to save the cricket and interest in cricket in his home country of India.

Two hours later N. Srinivasan called the media for an announcement. “Unlike the Argus review that spanned across many meetings involving 61 cricket oriented personnel and claimed to be independent when it involved three ex-captains in Steve Waugh, Allan Border and Mark Taylor along with former CEO of Cricket Australia, Maclom Speed, this review into overhauling Indian cricket lasted all of half hour and involved two fictional characters, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John H. Watson. Surely, there cannot be a more independent or more competent panel to investigate the short comings on Indian cricket. And, neither was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in anyway connected to the IPL or the BCCI,” said N. Srinivasan as a matter-of-factly.

The Watson-Holmes report overhauls Indian cricket as we know

“A 2,311 page detailed report on the findings has been submitted. It is a fair and honest review investigating the issues with Indian cricket ranging from problems, issues and limitations spread across players, selectors and administrators. I am here to share a three-point summary of the Watson-Holmes report,” said N. Srinivasan pulling out copies of the summary sheet and sharing it with the gathering.

The report had these recommendations:

1.  M.C.C. to replace M.C.C. as the custodian of cricket laws:

M.C.C (Marylebone Cricket Club) have had their time writing the laws for cricket since 1788. It only shows ICC in poor light all these years. It is a well known fact that the size of the ball was reduced in the 1920s because the English bowlers had little hands and that the imposition of limiting the number of leg-side fielders behind square was to nullify Indian spinners in the 1970s. With us, BCCI, running the cricket world, we have decided that M.C.C (Madras Cricket Club) will take over these responsibilities and rewrite the laws of the game to suit the Indians. Some of them will include:

  1. Indian captain will be given the option of declaring the opposition innings should the opposition not lose a wicket every twenty minutes or if their total exceeds fifty. Also, the Indian captain can make bowling changes and ring-in fielding changes for the opposition team when his side is batting to best suit his batsman
  2. There will be no standardizing of equipment and it will be left to the discretion of the Indian team management to decide per its wishes.
    • Its batsmen can choose to wield a bat that is longer and wider than a surf board should they feel like it. Also, they can choose not to have any stumps while batting should getting bowled or out L.B.W be of concern.
    • Batsmen out of form can ask the opposition bowlers to bowl with even a football, so that they are indeed “sighting it like a football”.
    • The Indian bowlers can bowl to three sets of four stumps each spread across the entire square and hit any of them and the batsman will still be out bowled.
    • India can choose specialist fielders from the opposition team to field for them and cancel their IPL contracts should they fail to hold on to catches. Specialist slip fielders like Ricky Ponting, Mahela Jayawardene and Jacques Kallis will be expected to field in the slips even when they are batting
    • All opposition batsmen will be asked to play without pads and shoes. If they still score runs, which is quite likely, they will be asked to bat without a bat
  3. All opposition fast-bowlers will bowl at least 20 kmph lesser than the fastest Indian bowler. If it means, the fastest Indian bowler playing is Praveen Kumar, the fastest an opposition bowler would be allowed to bowl is -2 kmph (negative two kilometers an hour!)

2. IPL franchises to buy out all cricket boards

Most of the cricket boards around the world are not as rich as the franchises that own IPL teams. Also, most of them are in the docks because of infighting. All cricket boards will be auctioned before IPL V and will be run by people anointed by the franchise. That way, all Test nations come under the purview of the BCCI and all Tests and bi-lateral series be deemed “domestic games”. This will ensure the Indian domestic standards are raised to Test levels or vice-versa and no longer can India not be a winner outside of the sub-continent as any team that wins will be owned by an IPL franchise. Going forward an Indian team will lift The Ashes, Sir Frank Worrell trophy and every other trophy. And no one can say IPL is killing Tests or one-dayers any more!

3. Hack Cricinfo’s Statsguru

It is reliably learnt through cricket’s 800-plus-year journey that recorded history is all that matters. Just like we don’t know if the French lady who is first recorded to have bowled a version of cricket ball 800 years ago liked scrambled eggs or roasted bread, 400 years from now no one will want to know if Sehwag had a hair transplant, but only want to know how many triple hundreds he made.

Therefore, Cricinfo’s Statsguru that is an enormous wealth of cricket’s documented history and perhaps the largest fall back option for future historians and statisticians will be owned and managed by the BCCI. Given that India is bound to be the epicenter of cricket’s financial well being in the centuries to come, it is in the game’s best interest if fans can recollect their cricket ancestors as the best in the game. It is in cricket’s best interest that future Mumbaikars recall Ajit Agarkar as someone who once scored seven triple-hundreds in a row and not seven ducks in a row. Or that Tendulkar scored more hundreds than there are hundreds in mathematics and that he managed to average a double infinity. Or than Anil Kumble twice took 15 wickets in an innings. Or that Irfan Pathan once took a hat-trick with only one delivery and so on.

“The full report covers how we restructure everything with cricket – locally and globally and how we have the best of Indian and world’s cricket at heart. Even what you journalists write will be monitored and what has already been documented insofar will be doctored to best suit Indian cricket. It is after all a game and you guys don’t know how to play it. It is time we showed the world how it is played. The future will remember us as the greatest custodians of the game. And yes, we are pleased to appoint Dr. Watson and Mr. Holmes as our permanent under secretaries and all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works will also be doctored to carry out their characters as BCCI’s permanent under secretaries solving mysterious cricket puzzles including cracking the Duckworth/Lewis formula,” said a triumphant N. Srinivasan as he signed off.


Goutham Chakravarthi

HUMOUR/FANTASY

Two hundred years from now, Ed Cowan will be recalled as the game’s greatest batsman, ahead of everyone else. That’s if all video tapes of his batting ceases to exist and only the written text remained. Ed Cowan is the epitome of Conflict of Interest syndrome as being the game’s best active batsman-writer. He is his own critique!

He is a regular guy – un-Australian in every way – slightly round, slow between the wickets and a boring batsman who yells “no run” every time he puts bat to ball. And he is a writer on top of all this.

Numbers and angles to prove his perfect method

Cowan made all of 14 when the stumps were drawn for lunch. Healy on the Channel 9 box was fast asleep and called him the greatest bore in the history of all Boxing Day tests. Cowan sat by a serving of pasta, and readied his headline for the next day. It read Greatest Boxing Day Debut Ever. Then he went out to bat again.

He left deliveries on length, on line, on bounce, on angle, on just about anything. He ran between the wickets at the speed of a Laxman. In between all that he played a couple of strokes when he was bored. In Cowan’s words, he wrote of it himself thus:

It was the most assured performance of a debutante in front of a Boxing Day crowd of over 70,000 people. Finally an Australian batsman played the first session of a Test as it ought to be played in over 25 years. He got his foot to the pitch of the ball while driving – once he got his foot so far down he was able to convert a Umesh Yadav bouncer into a full toss – and bent his knees and elbows at right angles giving Euclid and Pythogoras cricket’s equivalent of the right angle on a platter. His concentration was unflappable – even when Yadav said “you are gonna get out by I am”, he barely bothered to correct his language – and technique tighter than skin-tight pants

Even the legendary statistician Mohandas Menon was impressed as Cowan gave him mind numbing numbers to crunch. He noted that Cowan tapped his bat on the ground a record 1921 times, 300 more than Alastair Cook during his marathon knock of 293 earlier in the year. Menon also noted the symmetry in Cowan’s batting. He said:

Cowan is a statistician’s delight. Symmetry to his batting is poetic. He gets down on one knee to drive and makes the perfect angle with his body and ground. He makes a perfect rhobus with his lower body and his knees and elbows bend in perfect right angles. He has given Test cricket its most perfect cover drives in history. A perfect cover-drive will henceforth be known as a Cowan Drive.

Having revolutionized cricket with its most perfect drives ever, Cowan is all set to become the first person to compose his article whilst batting during the second innings. You will see Cowan write and re-write his piece waiting for the right words to form the perfect Cowan Drive. Channel 9 will set-up a panel to debate Cowan’s claims to be the greatest player-writers of the modern game.

Cowan was unavailable to comment on the matter as he is busy writing his autobiography that is to be released at the end of the first Test.


Goutham Chakravarthi

Australia honours Sehwag with the title of Swami

“The best way to play bowlers is go after them. Intimidate them, shake them up, beat them up. All with a smile. Tell the bowler that you are after his dog, money, future and see him wilt and cry,” said Sehwag to a secretly arranged gathering by his ardent supporter Ian Chappell outside Manuka Oval in Canberra late on Thursday. Ian’s brother Greg, famously known to have pushed Sehwag into moving to Japan to try his luck in becoming a sumo wrestler, was seen scribbling down furiously on his notepad ahead of the next week’s batting clinic for the Australian Test batsmen.

A host of former Australian players and current Test stars had made themselves available on the occasion to pick on the genial Indian’s brains. Sehwag, known to be honest with his talk, was giving a lecture on batting following his disciple David Warner’s request that he address the rest of the domestic bashers in Australia before the BBL and see if Sehwag could inspire them into becoming Test batsmen.

“Footwork is an Australian obsession. Quick, decisive feet movement are associated with greatness in your country. In my country, we associate quick feet movement with dancers. So is fitness and preparation,” said Sehwag and in an impromptu jig sat in a wheelchair and faced the bowling of the young quickie Josh Hazelwood and hit him out of the ground much to the astonishment of the gathering. Sehwag continued to biff the deliveries bowled from a bowling machine for a good 15 minutes and finished with a square driven six that went out of the practicing facility and into the ground where Indians were playing the warm-up match and hit Ishant Sharma on his boot injuring him and forcing him to limp off the field putting him in doubt for the Boxing Day Test.

Unconvinced by Sehwag’s methods, Greg Chappell immediately challenged Sehwag to face the greats of the past in a wheel chair and produced the latest version of ProBatter – ProBatter 2.0 – that not only simulates the bowling action and deliveries and speeds of modern bowlers, but of all those who have played the game – including the French maid Adèle who is claimed to have first invented bowling in 1149 A.D. “Fat boy, smacking Josh Hazelwood is an easy task as is flogging this machine. See if you can flog Ponsford, Old, Larwood, Barnes among others,” challenged Greg Chappell.

“Are they your nannies? Never heard of them,” said Sehwag even as the history-steeped gathering let out a collective gasp. In true Indian style, Sehwag called up his mom to seek her blessings (karlo duniya muththi mein) and set out on a rampage against the wild bearded 19th century Englishmen first.

Adjusting to the various chuckers of the time, Sehwag tore into them. One of them, a certain Lord H.R.E Muleman had his shin battered and ProBatter 2.0 had to be retired hurt for a while before Clarrie Grimmett and Bill O’Rielly were scared away by Sehwag who smote them from wide off the stumps to way over square-leg and from leg-stump to square over the point boundaries. In three minutes, Sehwag reduced the superstars from early 20th century to bowling negative lines for the first time in their real and virtual lives combined. Soon enough Larwood was sent back to the mines, as were Old and Trueman. Sehwag even had to battle the 19th century English round armers and the 1910s Aussie quickies bowling with the then slightly bigger sized cricket ball. The challenge ended when Lilliee was badly hurt on his follow through as a Sehwag straight drive caught him on his mouth even as Bill Lawry called him “you beauty” from among the cheering audience.

By the time Sehwag was done he had not only battered ProBatter 2.0, he had won over the entire Australian gathering who were reported to have been chanting “maar veeru maar…. aur maar” (hit them Viru, beat them up!) as if in a trance. With tears in his eyes, Richie Benaud said he had seen many batsmen in his lifetime, but never anyone who decoded batting like Sehwag. Deeply moved by the sagacious Sehwag’s knowledge of batting, he said, “His simplicity is astounding as his is knowledge of the game. I always thought the patch on his head was just a bald spot. I have now realized that it was the halo of an all knowing superior being. He is god to me. I have just received confirmation from the prime minister’s office that the Australian government will honour Sehwag with the title of a Swami.”

Among raucous applause Sehwag was honoured with the title of a swami by the Australian prime minister Julia Gillard in Canberra on Friday. The title was unanimously chosen by the ProBatter 2.0 bowlers who suffered his wrath the previous day. The gave him the tile of Engala Vittrungasaami (please leave us alone, swami!).


Goutham Chakravarthi

“Djokovic’s gluten free diet may have revolutionized tennis this year, but, I believe my journey to the top has already begun with my new found diet – full Andhra meals!” announced Nadal in his tennis school in Anantapur, India on Tuesday. Just days after leading Spain to another Davis Cup title to finish a largely disappointing year on a high, Rafael Nadal, is in his tennis school in India to plan and prepare for 2012.

Nadal is in Indiaiin search of the perfect diet for 2012

“2011 has been disappointing for me. Perhaps releasing my autobiography, Rafa: My story, was the biggest mistake,” confessed a visibly upset Nadal. “I confessed to my fear of the dark and also that my uncle Toni had super powers. Opponents would switch off the light in the locker room and tell me that not even my uncle could save me. I would scream and yell in fear, but no help would come through. It led to a strained relationship with my uncle.”

“Eventually, I lost it all by the time Federer and Tsonga toyed with me in the ATP World Tour Finals in London. My game had become weak and lacked spice. I was beaten to pulp and I wanted vengeance. I saw Gladiator twice that night to psyche myself up. Once is usually enough. This time, no use! That’s when I ran into Mahesh Bhupathi, a Telugite, and a connoisseur of Andhra food. He jokingly suggested that I try the Hyderabadi Biriyani that he was eating to try and bring back some spice into my game. His actor-wife, Lara Dutta, urged me to watch Tollywood movies to learn vengeance!”

“Those of you who have read my autobiography will know that my Mom has taught me not to be rude to people even if they were rude to me like Lara Dutta was. I smiled and helped myself to a serving of the biriyani and headed out for a hit. And hit them I did like laser beams! All of a sudden, I could sprint like Usain Bolt, paint the lines like Picaso, and even slice a ball into two! I knew I had stumbled on to something!”

When asked on his plan for his duration of his stay in Anatapur, Nadal said, “I am here to prepare myself for the diet. I have just taken to Hyderabadi biriyani and now I have pasta and pizza with gongura pachadi. I also love aavakai pachadi and hope to graduate to having full Andhra meals by the end of November. ”

Samarasimha Reddy is my favourite vengeance movie these days. I’m also eagerly awaiting the release of Panjaa to psyche myself up for the new year. I also am learning to pacify all the anger with calm and touch. I am travelling to Chennai every second day to practice with the touch artist Ramesh Krishnan. If ever anyone clocked the speed of groundstrokes, Ramesh Krishnan would be 50% slower than the slowest one you could find. He is tutoring me his slice. I’m still getting to be slow, but Ramesh’s slices reach me only the next day. It is a strategy I will use to irritate Djokovic and others in 2012.”