Wednesday, October 18, 2006

And then it strikes him

Let us go 20 years down the line. It is year 2026. You just got introduced to FutureFan, an average new age cricket lover of the time in a cricket playing country outside the subcontinent. You are pushed by this young fella that jabbers incessantly on cricket. You want to have some fun and test the cricket acumen of this cocky youngster.
You take leave for a minute and come back with a printout of the scorecard of a Pak-v-SL ICCCT match played on the 17th of October 2006. You have erased a lot of information from it, including team names, player names, championship and year of contest. Then you hand it over to FutureFan and ask him to identify the international team that won this contest. He needs to get it right at one go, without any external help. In all likelihood he will think hard on the tampered scorecard from a not-so-famous oldie and reply in the negative.

You share your first cryptic clue at this point: Key bowlers of the winning team were sent back 2 days ahead of this match due to some reasons while their formidable opponents came into this match in prime form, with a 10 match winning streak under the belt. There's a steep chance that your examinee will start thinking of a few teams by this time. He would not take a name at this point though.

You supply the 2nd clue: The captain of this team, who was also their best batsman, was prevented from taking part of the tournament due to some other reasons and there was a major controversy just ahead of this tournament even regarding the new captain. FutureFan will start thinking on those lines but drama outside the cricket pitch was never this guy's cup of tea. He is still blank.

It's time for the 3rd and last clue: This particular match happened at a time when the team was in the midst of a seemingly endless lookout for decent openers and decent catchers.

Furrow-browed FutureFan now stares at you with indignation. 'I can't get you old man. You say that coming into this match the team was plagued with off-field problems, had no openers or catchers worth their salt, were hamstrung in bowling and impaired in batting.....are we bloody talking about the winning team or what? And how the hell do you expect me to identify the team from that set of crap?'

You just smile in reply. And then, then it strikes him. FutureFan enquires sheepishly: 'It must be Pakistan, wasn't it?'

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