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“Spin. Haha!”

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Bat in hand, knees supporting a flopping belly and a partner flabbergasted at the sight of Sehwag running for a third, summarized the Indian team for this series – unprepared and lackadaisical. MS Dhoni seems to have forgotten that the battle is fought with the opposition, not the curator. Irrespective of the wicket offered, a team still has to perform. The first day of this third Test was what every curator in India was hoping for - the Indian batting to crumble on a pitch designed for their victory. Prabhir Mukherjee (Eden Gardens curator) must have sent a letter via post which would probably reach Dhoni’s place after Prabhir retires and Dhoni is the curator of a stadium. Here’s the letter on behalf of the curators to the captain. 

Dear know it all, who doesn’t let us do our job Dhoni,

The pitch we try to create is the one that suits our brand of cricket. They are decks which are flat and offer no assistance for the visiting team’s fast bowlers. More often than not, our batsmen have been able to score runs aplenty on such tracks. Of course, there have been instances when podgy batsmen have been pulled for an extra run by the gravitational weight of their excess belly fat and their lean partner wasn’t quite sure of whether to run or develop a theory on gravity, leading to a few run outs. But very rarely have there been unplayable deliveries which our batsmen seem to get so many of these days. Our endeavour has always been to leave a few false hopes of dry grass scattered on the pitch. This coaxes the opposition into believing they have a chance. So each time the captain wins the toss, he declares his love to bat for 2-3 days. After putting up a big score and running on the wicket with spikes, the Indian spinners can use these rough patches to get wickets. Wickets - which otherwise they would not be able to get with their incomplete actions and feeble pivots on the front leg.

This time you asked us to create tracks which spin from day one. We declined to offer such wickets because we knew the outcome wouldn’t be good. The English team struggled against spinners who actually spun the ball and had variations which were hard to pick. Our spinners are an ersatz of the ones they struggled against. However, what we did not factor into consideration is that our batsmen would play for spin while there was none. Also, your attitude was so abrasive, the ball started to reverse a lot, quite early in the game. It’s not that our batsmen aren’t used to it, we’re just too lazy to adapt so quickly to such late movement. It’s also the reason why a few players hold onto cricket way past their bedtime. They clear the closet of demons, check under the bed for records and then wait for the kiss goodnight. It takes time to adjust to life after the game.

Anyway, coming back to the pitch, did you notice how Alistair Cook played? Was he troubled by anything except your annoying voice behind the stumps? There was the edge induced by Zaheer Khan dropped by the short leg fielder standing 25 paces north-east of where he should have been. That wasn’t one of your finest decisions, it must be said. Apart from that Cook was calm, composed and batted like he wanted to play Test cricket. Unfortunately you seem to be more interested in playing ‘curator, curator’ with the curator.

But I do see why you want rank turners. It is because our spinners expect the cracks to do their jobs of spinning the ball, that too for free. But we would be remiss if we didn’t point out the wisdom in wearing sunglasses while bowling. It certainly hides the pain and humiliation of being out bowled by an Indian spinner who practiced his art in England.  We wouldn’t want to act like jerks and say we told you so, but your Test career seems in enough trouble already. And finally we would like to say, ‘Spin. Hahaha!’

Yours sincerely,

Every curator you ticked off.



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