Ricky was in a panic. It was another drama filled LOBATs cricket match in the making. Except this time, the match hadn't even begun. With the LOBATs there is no real need for cricket for there to be drama.
Ricky was calling everyone and as soon as all the machangs saw it was Ricky calling, they accidentally swiped their smartphones the wrong way, sending Ricky to voicemail.
Ricky then called this correspondent and asked what to do. Apparently 50 people had been asked to play on Saturday and 75 had confirmed, but Ricky knew that only 6 would show up. Ricky was told to apply a bit of pressure on a few of the guys. He said he was trying but all the pressure was going to voicemail and now all these voicemails had him under severe pressure.
He said he couldn't understand how he was getting the voicemail of everyone he was calling, even his Mum. He wondered whether something was wrong with the phone networks. Then it was pointed out to him that a smartphone in the hands of a LOBAT (Lack of Brains and Trust) was the equivalent a pen in the hands of a monkey. This of course didn't explain why his Mum was not answering his calls, but he was satisfied.
Then a day before the match, Fonzy shot out an e-mail saying he had listened to his voicemail and wouldn't cave in to any pressure tactics. He made it clear that he had dealt with the mafia in Harare and Ricky didn't scare him. This got Ricky scared.
Meanwhile Las was also missing in action. One of the guys said that an article in Woman's Day was claiming that Las had eloped and was likely to be a no show. So all eyes were now on Rajitha. As you know from last week's report, Raja was being hunted down by the CIA, MI5, Hamas and Abbas.
News is that now the Taliban had sent scouts to learn how Rajitha was terrorising innocent neighborhoods around Sydney. Numerous citizens have complained about broken windows and roof tiles every time Rajitha was bowling in their area. So the Taliban have started a boot camp to train an army of bowlers to imitate Rajitha's action and they want Rajitha to be their head bowling coach.
In the midst of all this, the Stig was reportedly walking around town, stopping random people on the street and telling them he was averaging 244. Most people ran the other way, but one guy responded by saying, ‘Oh yeh, that's pritty average, ey?’ The Stig was seen chasing him down the street asking him to go back to New Zealand.
Finally Saturday rolled around and Ricky was the only one at the grounds. At first he thought he was at the wrong grounds as usual, but then when the opposition showed up, he worried that his worst fears had been realised – there had in fact been a problem with the phone network and nobody got those voicemails. He started working the phone like a stock broker in a crashing market. This time he blocked his caller ID and people started picking up.
He won the toss and decided to bat. We got off to an incredibly slow start with the Stig trying to protect his average. He was letting everything go. Peter had informed the other side that the way to get him out was with a few choice sledges. So the opposition were working him hard. Of course, this was meant to be reverse psychology. The Stig digs in when the opposition taunt him, so Peter was hoping that he would get angry enough to carry his bat through the innings again.
Instead, Saj, the other opener, appeared to be getting upset by the taunting and started hammering boundaries. We got to about 70 for no loss before Saj departed. He gave way to Charuka who settled in and got going. The Stig finally decided to hit one ball and gifted a simple catch to point. In a single moment of madness his average dropped to 135. He had to be counseled in the hut by the team psychologist, who's only words of wisdom were ‘What goes up, must come down!’
At this stage, although it appeared that the Stig was having a funeral in the pavilion, we were actually looking good. With Charuka clocking boundaries, we were only 2 down for about 90+ runs. Ricky, who had replaced the Stig, also decided to start hammering boundaries. Then Charuka hit one in the air, the fielder ran a 100 meters, dived and literally caught the ball in one hand about 2cms off the ground. The LOBATs who are used to seeing all sorts of amazing catches dropped in style, couldn't believe their eyes and gave the fielder a standing ovation. Charuka thought the standing ovation was for him and took his hat off.
Dilshan replaced Charuka. Ricky then clubbed a few more before being clean bowled. Asked what happened, he said he had never faced such a good ball in his life. Apparently it moved through the air, bounced off the pitch, went past the bat and pummeled into middle of middle. The only thing the ball didn't do was a couple of circles around his bat before hitting the wicket. We were 103 for 3.
Dilshan blocked a few before deciding he needed to find the boundary. The very next ball, he found the boundary as he stepped over it, on his way back to the hut. It was now up to Sam David to pull us out of this hole. Mr David, picked up where he left off last week and was leaving balls beautifully and then stroking fours in Tendulkar fashion. When he realised he was not Tendulkar he walked off the field, but not before a solid contribution.
Then Duke strolled out and started dispatching the bowler to all parts. He was hammering massive shots. One ball soared to the longest boundary and missed a six by a whisker. The next one was clipped off his toes and it would have easily been a six if the boundary was at least 50m closer. Instead he was caught. This meant it was Prasad's turn.
Prasad was so happy to go out to try his brand new bat that didn't even have a spec of dust on it. He swung at the first one and then at the second one – they both ended up in the keeper’s hand. It appeared the bat was faulty. He called out for the user manual and gave it a once over. The third ball hit the edge of the bat and bobbed up to the short cover fielder. He stormed back and pulled out the warranty of the bat and said he was going to return it on the grounds that it's not scoring any runs! Sidebar: Please note, this is Prasad Perera, and not the retired Prasad Chelliah who has been scoring runs at home quietly - he hit a 50 recently.)
From that point on, well suffice it to say, we were all out for 120. Chris Gunton managed to remain not out and said he was confident he would now beat the Stig's average given the Stig was on the way down and he was on the way up.
There was nothing to report from the bowling performance except that the opposition is the one that performed, scoring all the required runs for the loss of just 1 wicket. The only other chance the LOBATs had at a wicket was when 2 runs were required to win and the batsman clocked a six that the Stig had lined up on the boundary perfectly. The ball went straight through his hands and ended up over the boundary. Duke, who was the bowler at the time, was later seen telling the Stig he thought he had swallowed that catch. The Stig informed him that the only thing he swallows these days were fish cutlets.
After the match, the Stig was harassing this correspondent for an interview. When he was told that there was nothing to interview, given his current average average, he threatened legal action. The editor folded and agreed to an interview. Stay tuned for that – it should be our shortest column yet. Howzat?