Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Another drama filled LOBATs match... sad day for the Stig

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?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Nail biting match... new world record set...

Breaking news! We just completed a match that had everyone at the edge of their seats, and some falling out of their seats. It went down to the wire. It had all the drama you can ask for and then some.

Here's a quick synopsis for those that can't be bothered reading more than two paragraphs of this drivel. We needed 182 runs to win and for once had 11 players. We had about 45 minutes remaining in the day and managed to finish the day on 35/1. The following Sat, we made our way steadily to over a hundred with about 7 wickets in hand. But then with no more than 60 more needed, all hell broke loose... Wickets tumbled on one side while one of the openers who was still there dropped anchor and dragged us towards the total  ... It became a nail-biting finish.

Before you say 'What's this silly report about' and you start pointing out that you've already read enough about how Warner carried his bat while the rest of the team tumbled around him and lost to the Kiwis, let me clarify that I am actually reporting on the LOBATs.

It was such a good match, so here’s a bit more detail. The match started with the usual questions of whether we had only 7 players and which auntys we could call to get some last minute substitutes to fill the side. But then, everyone except for Rajitha showed up. Raja was busy preparing a defense for a court appearance – the cops pulled him over for a speeding violation and when they ran his license through the system, it spat out a 30 page report that said he was wanted by the CIA, MI5, SAS, Hamas and Abbas. If you are wondering who the hell the last two are, they are just Mohammed and Zaheer – good friends of Rajitha who had sent Christmas cards him.

Back to the cricket. So, to ensure we would not be short, Charuka recruited two machangs (Chaminda and Ramesh) from another Baulkham Hills club and they proved to be life savers. They were asked to open the bowling and sent to do all the batting. The bowling effort was a great one with Chaminda bowling a beautiful line and length pretty much all day from one side. In fact it was too good for even the batsmen who just kept missing everything.

We finally managed to roll them off the field and Charuka who had better things to do on the second weekend agreed to open the batting to contribute all he could. He started walking down the pitch from the very first ball and we were off to a flyer with something like 11 runs scored in the first over.

Charuka thought he was Gilchrist in the second over and was hammering everything to all parts. One ball he ran down the pitch before the bowler had reached his crease and by the time the bowler had reached his crease, Charuka had already scored a run. This fireworks display lasted the obligatory 2 overs before Sajit was sent to instill some sanity to the situation. That was the end of day 1.

Day 2 started without incident. Saj steadied the ship with a solid partnership with the other opener. If you are wondering who this other opener is, he's the one the team management refuses to name. We will refer to him as the Stig, not just because we don't know anything about him, but because we’ve never seen him take his helmut off. In fact, he is known to wear his helmut to dinner and in the shower...

Back to the cricket. Eventually, Saj got fed up of the Stig just batting for his average and not scoring any runs that he decided to get things moving … he moved himself back to the pavilion where the view was better. This resulted in Chaminda coming out. He had umpiring duties at some other match and was in a bit of a hurry. So he dispatched the bowling to all parts. Two sixes and a four later he was seen driving away to fulfill his umpiring commitment. This bought Simran (aka Imran to Rajitha) to the crease. Simran had earned himself a promotion for the same reason Ricky had earned a promotion – for no good reason at all. Mind you Simran has clocked one of the best bowlers in our comp for a six, which is more than anyone else can claim...

Simran hit a quickfire 2 in 2 balls before Sam David was sent to replace him. Cool as a cucumber, he set up shop with the Stig and a partnership ensued. As regular readers would know, this is not something the LOBATs are used to – a partnership. Things were looking good for a change, which is also something the LOBATs are not used to.
This resulted in the opponents (AKA Crusaders) launching plan B. Plan B was to unleash a couple of their guys from their straight jackets. These guys had just been let out of the loony bin for the day without their medication.

They started teaching the umpire and batsmen the rules of the game. The only problem was they were playing a different game. The Stig made the mistake of seeking a bit of clarification from one of these guys and pandemonium ensued. This resulted in a round table discussion and a healthy debate in the middle of the pitch before the cricket resumed. During a drinks break, Peter Gunton insisted that the two guys take their meds…

From that point on, the Stig dug in like never before and refused to get out. Ricky was getting a bit edgy wondering when he was going to bat, so Sam was ordered to edge one after hitting a beautiful 4 straight past the bowler. Ricky strolled in. Three balls later, Ricky strolled off.

At this point the opposition were convinced they had the match won. We were surprised it took them that long, because we had been convinced they had the match won even before we had even started our innings. But what everyone forgot was the Stig was pissed. That idiot on the other side had managed to set off the Stig's fuse and now he was on a mission. He had turned into the WALL. Dravid was made to look like Warner on steroids in comparison to the Stig. Nothing was getting passed him. Even the fielders had to run around in a wide a circle to get around him between overs.

Las, who had replaced Ricky, was stroking cover drives that had even the mental cases applauding. But then he tried to hook a ball and got hooked instead. This resulted in Fonzy making his way out to the middle. The opposition's strategy was to get Fonzy on strike, as they were under the impression that they were well into the tail and only needed three more balls to get the last three wickets. Of course, they didn't know Fonzy…

We only needed another 39 runs. And with Fonzy on the case, this meant no more than two overs for us to win the match. Fonzy is known for finishing games with a bang and making easy work of the bowlers. He did finish with a bang, except this time he was easy work for the bowlers. But not before he brought the total runs required down to less than twenty…

Now, 20  runs for us is probably like 150 for other teams, but we still had some fire power – Ramesh and Chris Gunton… Ramesh was sent out to finish the job… He told the Stig not to worry. He took charge and got the required runs down into the single digits. He then hit a ball up straight into the air and everyone had their heads in their hands, including the fielders, so he survived.

The Stig and Ramesh managed to get the scores tied somehow, no one is quite sure how. Then Ramesh slapped a 4 and the team celebrated an awesome win. So the Stig, who had carried his bat through the innings once again, now has a batting average of 244!

He was seen signing a couple of autographs to himself claiming he held a new world record. Apparently in his world, this is a (broken) record... He has never given an interview before in his life mainly because no one could care less and also because he is deaf, dumb and mute – mainly just dumb. But he has promised an exclusive interview to this publication. Stay tuned for that, it should be a riveting sentence or two… Till then, Howzat?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

2011 Howzat!@#$ And another season begins… Really?

A follower (ok! the only follower) of the Baulkham Hills LOBATs cricket team recently woke up from a drunken slumber and wondered whatever happened to the team that was once in the news on a weekly basis for absolutely no good reason at all.

This simple question led to a series of events that has brought about this latest story. And there is only one reason for this story. And that one reason is not that the team is back, because it isn't, really – only half a team have been showing up to games after the first thrashing received at the start of the season. It isn't to update everyone on our performances, because there haven't been any performances, really. It isn't even to thank or acknowledge anyone for some incredibly selfless, heroic or generous act either, because there has been none of that either. So what then?

It is simply to inform all and sundry that the LOBATs team has been hiding an ace for these past few years. If your first thought is: ‘Really?’ you’re not off the mark. Furthermore, no one would look at you funny (at least some of you) if you were to ask why would any team hide talent? Then again, the only reason you would ask such a question of the LOBATs is if you didn't know anything about the team.

So let me give you some background. Here’s the series of events that led to this latent talent being discovered. One fine Saturday morning… sorry, let's be accurate… one fine Sat afternoon Amit (who some of you know as Amitabh Bachchan) woke up and went back to sleep. Later he found nothing to eat in his fridge and decided to drive to the shops. He noticed a few lads in whites on a pitch. All sorts of flashbacks came to him –most of them terrified him.

Amit is the guy who when he first showed up to play for us we asked if he could bat to which he said ‘no’. We then asked what he bowled, to which he said he didn't do that either. He was immediately drafted to the side as a kindred spirit.

Seeing those boys in white, he now felt a strong yearning to get back onto the field, so he called Ricky Kapoor (aka Trickster, Punter, and a host of other less flattering names that can't be published here). Ricky said he knew exactly what to do and asked Amit to pick him up. Amit refused. This led to the typical exchange of noises between Ricky and Amit that we have heard time and again in the middle when the two were negotiating a run. Almost always those exchanges ended with one of them shouting ‘banchot’ while walking off the field in disgust. Everyone else would be on the floor laughing. This negotiation also ended in banchot Ricky deciding to pick up Amit and they drove to Charuka's house for a parlez. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the term – this is a sit down with a mafia boss.

Small sidebar: Let me get a few facts straight before the real god father (the smiling assassin) gets offended and orders a hit. The real god father, who has retired to a quiet life of lawn moving on weekends with his fancy Honda lawn mover, no longer gets involved in team decisions although he does keep a close eye on things from a far… well, not that far – Eastwood, really.

So the young guns, Ricky, Amit and Lasitha got Charuka's blessing to resurrect the team. A tender was developed and put out to market. When no one responded, they put out an SOS. When that resulted in nothing, they checked Interpol to track down some of the old crew. Finally, they hatched an ingenious plan. They put out a tweet.

Those of you who have kept up with the times will know how powerful Twitter can be. After this tweet resulted in Mubarak and Gaddafi being toppled, a new team was formed. In the process the senior members that used to be the pillars of the old Lack of Brains and Trust and Skill (LOBATs) had lost their base of power. Ricky was the new leader. He now no longer needed to pad up at home and come to the ground before everyone else in the hope he would get to bat up the order. He was the order!

This news sent shock waves through the world, and the global economy collapsed once again. Ricky was unmoved as his finances had collapsed well before the global economies. His sidekick was Las and as we all know, nothing bothers Las. When the senior members found out what happened, Rajitha promptly asked ‘What happened?’ Those of you who know Raja, know he is a man of few words… well, not really… but at least when he is sleeping under his cricket hat awaiting his turn to bat, he only says a few words – ‘Stay there’ followed by ‘What happened’. The ‘What happened’ usually comes very quickly after the ‘Stay there’ as the batsman finds himself back in the dressing room the very next ball.

So, to Rajitha's question of ‘What happened’, Charuka told him about the tweet and how there was a new leadership team. Rajitha asked ‘What the hell is a tweet?’ and then asked if it was tasty. He thought it was a new type of sandwich or Lankan patis. He was told to go back to sleep.

With this new team, anyone who would make us look bad was immediately cut. Nirav Goradia and Stanley Sebastien were immediately dropped from the side. Ricky promised a fresh start. Blood had been let and a new era had begun.

For those of you wondering why Nirav and Stana were cut from the side, suffice it to say that Nirav would bowl 55 of our 65 overs, take all the wickets and then send Stanley to score all the runs by himself. This made everyone else look bad. We all agreed we would have none of that this season. Anirudh (aka Anuradha to Rajitha) was promoted to open the bowling and the batting. A fresh face – Simran - was picked out of school cricket to beef up the bowling attack.

Sam David was offered a contract provided he agreed not to umpire. Dilshan (aka Fonzy) was summoned and made to travel three hours to every match after it was discovered he had moved to a location in the country where he gets to Sydney by boat! He says he loves it there as it brings back fond memories of how he got to Sydney in the first place…

Chani signed up, took the money and never showed up to a match. He was seen last Friday painting the town red, calling himself a professional cricketer to anyone who would listen.Amit, the bright spark who started the series of events, has yet to show up to a match. It's believed he is still sleeping. Club stalwart Peter Gunton said not to worry. He said he had a son who was a star in the making. Chris Gunton was signed on.

To the extreme optimist, it appeared we had a team. Highlights of all the last few matches were published on half a blank sheet of paper. Some of the low lights include the first few matches being played with no more than nine warm bodies. One match was played with seven very hot bodies – it was a sizzling day.

The Interpol search resulted in a couple of new recruits. Prasad Perera joined the team and showed some class with the bat. Duke Ramachandran, who is seen regularly at the SCG giving international players batting and bowling tips, agreed to win us a match or two. Fitting straight into the LOBATs team spirit and culture, he strolled out to the middle, hammered his first ball straight into the hands of the cover fielder and strolled back to the dressing room.

When we finally had eleven players one day, Ricky almost asked a couple of guys to go home because he didn't know where to put them on the field. He kept ordering the remaining fielders to take one step to the left and two steps to the right. Someone finally told him this was called the Cha Cha Cha. He called that someone a banchot and gave him the finger.

In one of the matches, Ricky tried to pull a Nirav and put himself at one-down, two-down, three-down and four-down. Peter asked Ricky what that meant. Ricky said he wanted to bat at least four times. He was given a quick lesson in the rules of the game – it involved taking a bat and hitting him over the head until he agreed to only bat at one-down. He was heard saying ‘How come Nirav got to bowl all day when he was captain?’… He then decided to ensure that we always followed on, so that way he at least got to bat twice in one day.

Ani who's confidence was up, for no good reason at all, started believing he was Keanu Reeves from the Matrix and was once seen doing some Matrix moves on the field when the ball was coming towards him. He quickly came to his senses after the ball hit him straight between the eyes.

Sam David took a classic catch in our last match when he ran away from the ball and the ball chased him and got lodged in his back side… Sam's victory dance was unprecedented and we understand he is still dancing… It was a superb catch, really, especially considering the catching prowess of the team in general. After the first couple of matches, Ricky quickly implemented a $2 rule for every dropped catch. This was one of Ricky’s get rich quick schemes. He had found a solution to his financial crisis. Charuka was seen getting some entrepreneurial tips from Ricky after the match in the parking lot.

Then in one recent match, the opposing team’s batsmen who had been dropped about seven times suggested we collect $2 for each dropped catch. When we told him we were well ahead of him and already had that in place, his exact words were ‘Sweet, where you guys going this year? Bali?’ We told him it was Phuket.

At this point you are probably guessing that the latent talent that was mentioned earlier was discovered in one of the opposing teams. Not really. There wasn't much talent in any of the opposing teams either. So you might be saying, WTF… That would be the only logical thing to say, really.

But, through all this, the Baulkham Hills LOBATs have produced a batsman that has the highest batting average in the entire competition across all the grades! Really. Yes, we are in possession of a batsman who is averaging 181 runs with the bat. Normally this would be the average of one of our bowlers. Hence the reason for this story… ok, so its not exactly a story – more like a book, but you get the point.

If you are asking the obvious question of who this is… the answer is that this individual can not be named for a number of reasons. The official reason given by the LOBATs management is that they are concerned that if they name this player, Cricket Australia would ban him from playing ever again, as they have Stanley and Nirav.

After all, it would not be appropriate for a grade cricketer to make the national selectors and the national players look bad. Even the great Don would no longer be a national treasure if this story were to come to light… If this player was named, he would probably be shipped to Pakistan and be at the centre of a betting scandal. There are a few other reasons for not naming him such as he doesn't quite like his name, etc… So he shall remain unnamed.

If you find this all a little hard to believe, proof has been provided off this official web site, attached below… Please note that the average shown in the leaderboard is 160 because our statistician has had a few days off and didn't file the latest batting scores - it should read 181.

So there you have it. The LOBATs are back, not really. They are currently at the bottom of the ladder, mainly because that's where they do their best work… And, they have discovered a hidden talent that they intend to keep hidden as long as possible. So please don't tell anyone….
More will be revealed in due course, but for now, Howzat!@#$ Really!