It’s always tough when you’re asked to begin writing a regular column. You invariably wonder where to begin. So I thought I’d start with an open letter to God. Umm… you see, that’s the in thing in Indian cricket now.
After all, Sreesanth, the man previously known as something else but now known as Sreesanth (or is it Sri Sreesanth or Sree Santh?) aka the man who accidentally got in the way while Michael Vaughan unnecessarily tried to run him over mid-pitch, admitted that he had asked for help and had written a letter to God. Another one, he apparently writes one during every game.
Unfortunately, the former national break-dance champion (by the way, Bollywood is calling), said he forgot to sign the letter. Tch, tch, so “Zaheerbhai” got all the wickets instead.
Poor Zaheer, now we know it wasn’t just the jellybeans that got him on the path to righteous indignation and spelt doom for England, it was the work of the Almighty, even if it was in error.
The English players though, ornery guys most of them, will stubbornly insist that one shouldn’t take credit away from the Jellybean, that most English of sugar-coated candies. After all, by all reports, the Great Jellybean Trick was not a mindless ploy — it has evolved after years of practice in countless county grounds.
Those familiar with county cricket will tell us that everything from boiled sweets to chewing gum (even oranges) are used to make the cricket more interesting in cricket’s mother country. But maybe by the time the Oval Test comes around, the English think-tank would have thought of something different. Still, they might do well to pick on a different guy, post the bean stalking, Zak might well be saying, “Fee fo fi fum, I smell the blood of an Englishmun…”
Yup, they’d better avoid our Zak, who’s more ornery than the orneriest English bloke, though, perhaps, Matt Prior would give him a run for his money. Matthew James must really stand up for his right to chirrup and sledge from behind the stumps, after all, he is only following in an age-old tradition of wicket-keepers.
In fact, Peter Moores, the English coach who has come out in staunch defence of Prior saying that the stump mikes should be turned off so players can sledge each other in private instead, is absolutely wrong. Why should Prior and the rest not be allowed to show off what is a fine art, honed through extra years in Neverland — that dream haven for Peter Pan, cricketers and everyone else who doesn’t want to grow up. It would be a mockery of everything they have worked so very hard for.
On a final note, Sree should not worry. Even while heartless critics have called for his head, he knows in his heart that he did not try and maim KP with that beamer. “It was a mistake” and frankly, anyone’s hand can slip. He also should take heart from knowing he has the support of his skipper getting into London. Sree told ESPN that Dravid told him after the game, “Sree, after all this, after all the explanations I had to give for you, I still love you and want you to do well…”
Well done kiddo. Those three little words are something that every Indian cricketer probably yearns for. I’ve never heard of the stoic Indian skipper saying anything of that sort to anyone before. You are indeed precious.