Monday, January 30, 2006

Overheard at the team hotel

Date & Time: 29th Jan 2006, 8 pm PST
Location: Inside an elevator of the team hotel at Karachi

We step into the elevator to find two familiar personalities conversing.

S: "...I am a former cricket captain, numerically the most successful one for my country in this sport. People say I have led my national side with distinction and the team treaded uncharted territories of achievement with me in command. I used to be a more-than-handy batsman too. Then I had a prolonged lapse of form with the bat. At around the same time I also stumbled with the captaincy and code of conduct. All hell broke loose and suddenly I was out of the one-day side, by all indications for good. Ever since that, any official declaration regarding me or my selection is invariably stripped of all transparency. Sometimes I feel there is one set of rules for judging the others and another unstated set for me."

I: "Hmmmm..."

S: "Even my inclusion in the Test side touring your country is not a recognition of my return to form in first class cricket but a compromise forced by a nationwide surge of protest against my unexplained omission in the midst of the last series. Here I am getting my first hit on your soil in the final Test of a series. This may be well be the match that decides the rest of my Test career. I come out to bat at 56/4 with my team nearly 200 runs in arrears and see off the tricky passage of end of day's play. I come back to pavilion expecting to unwind for the gruelling day ahead tomorrow, only to learn that the announcement of the ODI squad and my omission from it had to be made this very day. You got anything to say?"

I "Me? I got the captaincy around two years back. My form has soared since then while my team has been going from strength to strength for a while. No one in my country cribs about my batting form or my captaincy, not even the fast bowler that I chastised for being a deterrent to team building activities. Yet..."

They step out of the elevator.

I: "Yet you are playing in this make-or-break match and I am not. Both of us are carrying injuries, but mine is physical. You are lucky Sourav - at least you can be a part of this."

Both of them smile in agreement and walk away in opposite directions as the elevator door closes.
[cross posted at Different Strokes]

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