Sleepless in South Africa

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24 Dec 2021 | 08:06 AM
authorGaurav Sethi

Sleepless in South Africa

Look who’s losing sleep over the latest developments in Indian cricket

Days after the dust appeared to have settled on Captaincygate, neighbours complained of Ravi Shastri speaking loudly in his sleep – “That’s bowled him right through the gate, they call it Captiancygate for a reason” 

One neighbour who wished to bask in the limelight asked an interviewer, “Yes, I’ll tell you what I hear, but first can you ask me a question on what I think of Kohli as a limited overs’ captain? I have all the stats to back me”.

For weeks now, everyone has had an opinion on Kohli’s captaincy. 

When contacted, Shastri said, he spent the last few months as coach, sleeping. “I was quick to adopt those shades…it doesn’t augur well when the Indian coach is sleeping on camera…and despite bloody good efforts, the cameramen refused to not pan their damn camera lenses on me…I was left with no other option. I now can only sleep with shades on. Even at night. It’s these shades which are making me talk in my sleep.”

Elsewhere, Kohli too has been faced with disrupted sleep: Dada appears in my dreams…he says in 45 minutes we will make a public announcement giving the Test captaincy to Rohit Sharma. In it, I’m bargaining for 90 minutes…I’m pleading with him, “Please Dada, please, before relieving me of the ODI captaincy, you gave me an hour and a half… why have you cut it by half…My better half is worried that I’m visiting the gym in the middle of the night but there’s no other way to shrug off these nightmares…er I mean, dreams…of course it’s always a dream come true to have Dada appear in my dreams.”

It has been confirmed that Kohli gyms at odd hours of the night. Not just that, he has also shifted his bedding to the bench press. “It’s quite convenient really, I sleep in gym wear…which is cool, this also coincided with an ad I was doing…Gymwear so comfortable…you’ll never get out of it…I thought that was a witty line but I can tell you, it was my idea...I shared it with the adwallahs but the concept is mine…all mine…and I can see the hard work is paying…it’s telling on the bottom line of the company and on my bottom line too.”

Sourav Ganguly said, “I like Kohli’s attitude but he gyms too much. When I played cricket I only visited the gym to cross over to the café…and sometimes not even that. I think skill and not fitness is the reason for success in cricket. Of the current cricketers, I believe only Ashwin understands that. I’m hoping we can rope in Virender Sehwag to be the fitness trainer of this current lot, they need to enjoy the good things in life rather than worry about fitness. I can see Amit Mishra making an able deputy to Viru…”

Meanwhile Kohli refused to comment on this latest Dada-byte but did 500 sit-ups to ease his nerves. At dinner, he didn’t eat a morsel, explaining it was his fast. 

***

Rahul Dravid explained his preparation to be the new Indian coach: The only reason I signed up to do that ad which went viral was to understand what it is to be a model cricketer. This is important for the current lot and I do not want to take this lightly. I may appear angry in the ad, brandishing a bat, but it has earned me a lot of respect within the current lot. They know I mean business – on and off the field. 

Dravid said that he respects both “Sourav” and “Virat” as professionals. And being in South Africa, they were now thousands of miles away from it all. 

***

Sachin Tendulkar refused to comment. Saying it was an internal matter of Indian cricket. He said he fondly remembered being carried by Kohli when India won the 2011 World Cup. Also adding that he had many fond memories of sharing partnerships both on the pitch and in restaurants with Ganguly – he loves his biryani and we have introduced each other to many a good place, be it in Mumbai, Kolkata or London.  

When asked whether Rohit would make a better captain, tongue firmly in cheek, he said, Yes, definitely with Mumbai Indians. With the Indians, it remains to be seen.

***

Ajinkya Rahane said a good score was just around the corner – “Definitely, but for that I need to be in the XI” He also believes that another overseas’ series win was around the corner – “Definitely, but for that I need to be the captain”.

Asked how he felt after being relieved from the vice captaincy, he simply said, “definitely”. 

It has been learnt that Rahane has been requesting some of the South African bowlers to dole out their short stuff to him in the nets at night – “Definitely, I have a simple explanation – as I may not play in the first Test match, I tell them, you have nothing to fear, you can bowl at me at night, this way, both of us will be in the dark”.

Seeing as no South African has taken up Rahane’s offer as yet, he has been spotted sleeping in his rucksack in the nets –“I’m looking to spend more time at the crease, definitely, this simulation will help me, Pujara seems to think so too, though he did not say so in so many words.”

***

KL Rahul, the new vice-captain, was spotted with Mayank Agarwal. Asked whether they were looking to extend their Punjab Kings’ opening; Rahul was deadpan when he said, “we are no longer at Punjab together so I won’t lose sleep over that.”

Realising he may not have been too tactful, he quickly added, “Yes, that will be the aim as we have had many memorable partnerships, not just at Punjab but at Karnataka too.”

*** 

“I have this repeated dream…more like a nightmare really, that I’m batting and there isn’t a single spectator there to watch me…in South Africa” said Kohli, somewhat wistfully. When informed that there will be no spectators in attendance for the series, he quickly countered, “Yes, I know, how else do you explain my dream”.

(However plausible this may sound, this is a work of fiction)

Gaurav Sethi tweets @BoredCricket He branded BoredCricketCrazyIndians.com 

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