Fresh from the win at Centurion, the team huddled up for a bonfire and BBQ. As per the coach’s orders, there were plenty of non-alcoholic beverages flowing. Dravid explained to the boys, “The win will make you high, who needs any more uppers”.
As the evening got underway, it also became apparent why Shreyas Iyer was always a certainty for the South Africa series. Iyer’s Instagram account had given everyone enough evidence that he had all the moves.
Iyer started by mocking himself, with what he called Short Delivery dance – in it, he mistimed a hook repeatedly, but he did so with such élan, he had everyone in splits. It didn’t take long for his former DC mate, Rishabh Pant to join in with his Spiderman dance where he crawls on all fours on the ground – Pant followed that with his one-handed shots, collapsing in a heap on the ground.
Next, Iyer started to jig on the spot to some music from the hood. He even put his hood on for it. Dravid continued to clap through this, offering some comment to batting coach, Vikram Rathore, who continued to smile politely with that glazed look.
The music stopped when Iyer started to rattle off some lines from the Mutual Fund ads. Before long, KL Rahul and Umesh Yadav joined in with their lines from the “RBI satark ads.” DJ in the house, Virat Kohli, switched this to bhangra, invading the spotlight, in a traditional Indian outfit (courtesy a brand he once endorsed).
He was followed by Mohammed Siraj and Mayank Agarwal doing their usual chest bump celebrations, also in traditional Indian attire. Siraj was in saffron, Agarwal in green, Kohli in blue. Kohli started to make a speech in crude Hindi, wild whistles followed, with African tribesmen with spears joining in, what was quickly becoming a fire dance.
Kohli and Siraj pulled Dravid into the dance; who continued to clap his hands sportingly. It was then that Kohli snapped, “C’mon Rahul Bhai, surely you’re a better dancer than Dada!” Unmoved, Dravid managed a polite smile and continued to clap. Kohli and Siraj raised Dravid’s hands and somehow got him to do a mild rendition of the bhangra.
After the song and dance, it was over to the Audio Visual show. Kohli spoke everyone through the Siraj over to Quinton de Kock – “as we all know, it is not family but Siraj’s over which is responsible for de Kock’s retirement. At the end of this series, Siraj will have forced the entire South African team into Test retirement. Siraj, what do you have to say about this?”
Siraj continued to giggle in his customary way, saying little. But the team mocked him, calling his name out in chorus. Finally, Siraj took the mic and giggled some more. He then started to speak, talking about de Kock’s career and what a good Test career he had had, but got booed.
He giggled some more. And said, “I will like another opportunity to help de Kock retire…hehehe…from other formats…like ODIs…hehehe….T20s….hehehe…then his family will want him to retire from family format also….hehehe…because he will be spending too much time with them….hehehe…this is a joke…please don’t tell…hehehe…I said this….he is a top performer…abhi inke country mein hain…marenge***….hehehe”
Mayank appeared again and did the chest bump with Siraj again. Kohli continued – “Siraj, from now on, you should…hehehe…really start doing this chest bump with your victims…you should have done it with de Kock…he is the…cause for your celebration after all”
It was then that Dravid thought that everyone was getting a bit too carried away, “Should we retire for the night, boys? It’s been a long day”
Pant spoke, “Rahul Sir…not so early. Abhi toh party shuru hui hai?* And Jassi (Bumrah) and Lala (Shama) have not yet spoken…in your own words, everyone should get an opportunity…and Ash (Ashwin) still has to make youtube documentary of this party and we all have to speak to him in Tamil…for his Kutti story…Yes, Ash?”
Ashwin snatched the mic from Pant, “Thanks Rish…yes, it was a very good win but I’m sure YouTube and all can wait and I know Rishabh can be very mischievous but it is important for us to enjoy the win and I will make a full video about how I planned those two dismissals but that can wait, thanks…but after my ESPN interview I really think I will be quiet for a bit as I have nothing left to say”
Everyone cracked up as they were only too aware of Ashwin’s elaborate interview.
Finally, Shami and Bumrah appeared but they insisted Ishant Sharma do the talking. Shami: He will tell you everything better. Everyone has cracked up again, knowing how Ishant could go on and on which he did, all pokerfaced, explaining how Shami and Bumrah had dismantled the South African batting. Ishant then handed the mic to Bumrah who was brief: Thanks Ishu bhai, you said it all.
Rahane and Pujara had been quiet all this while, so Pant asked them to come up: Puji bhaiya (Pujara) will now tell us how his first innings knock inspired India to win this match? Everyone cracked up again as Pujara had been dismissed first ball in the first innings.
Nonetheless, Pujara took the mic, smiling broadly. He continued to smile broadly, with everyone clapping, calling his name in chorus. He finally spoke: I think KL Rahul richly deserved the man of the match…when Mayank got out after their 100 run partnership…it took me some time to get to the middle…you all know the reason…but to make amends...I returned in a hurry…” Pujara received a huge applause…”Thank you, thanks Rishabh…I’m glad you appreciate my first innings contribution and that it inspired the team to win”
Pant added, “Puji Bhaiya senti** ho gaye…sorry Puji bhaiya to make you senti..thank you for kind words and inspiring team…now over to Jinks bhaiya please…over to you, sir”
Rahane took the mic, “Definitely. It is a great win. And I think I was stroking the ball well, it was a team effort, thank you, Rahul Bhai for showing faith in me, thank you, Rishabh”
Pant: “Areh, Jinks Bhaiya toh serious ho gaye. I think we will now hand over to Virat bhaiya to lighten mood…”
In uncustomary fashion, Kohli was all serious though which took everyone aback. He started to talk about his own contribution, and felt that Rahane, Pujara and he were senior members and it was time for them to weigh in. He also congratulated KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal, how their opening stand was crucial in the win.
Dravid then got up, “Virat, I never thought I’d say this, but this is a party, not a post-match presentation. Please use some language, lighten up…hehe just kidding, this is all very true. On this note, shall we call it a night?”
Kohli: “Night?? Abhi toh party shuru hui hai!!”* The track started playing. Siraj-Mayank did their jig. Iyer reappeared. Pant on the floor. Fire dancers reappeared. The party was in full swing. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Tamba Bavuma appeared. He was apologetic when he said, “Oh sorry, didn’t mean to disturb the celebrations, I couldn’t sleep, my foot was hurting, decided to take a walk”
Siraj looked at Mayank sheepishly, earlier in the day, he had hit Bavuma’s foot with the ball. Kohli: “Oh sorry about that, Tamba. It happens on the field of play. Please don’t retire.”
*Abhi toh party shuru hui hai? – The party has just started, song title, common parlance too.
** senti –sentimental
*** abhi inke country mein hain…marenge – we’re in their country, they will beat us up.
(However plausible this may sound, this is a work of fiction)