Wednesday, September 25, 2013

LoBaTs are back unbeknownst to the team that has been named that... And they score big!

They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Not quite sure what that means but I thought I should take this opportunity to share that with you.

Meanwhile those of you who have followed the Baulko LoBaTs must have been wondering whatever happened to that amazing team. You're not alone. Ok, may be you are alone - truth be told no one else has been following the LoBaTs. And while we're telling the truth the team was only really amazing at collapsing and being dispatched to all parts.

Nevertheless you were not alone in wondering whether the day would come when we would find ourselves an amazing team.

So here's an update. Firstly, there really isn't much to update, so let's just jump to the secondly. Secondly let's get some of our new followers up to speed. Ok, so there aren't really any new followers, but some of the old boys are now so old they forget things very quickly.

For the benefit of them, if you are wondering what or who is LoBaTs, let us start by saying this is a highly prestigious title bestowed upon us after years and years of - we're not sure what really. In the UK, if you are an old fart who happened to get the attention of the queen for some silly act or the other, she bestowed the title of Sir.

Some of you might recall Sir Ian Botham who's only contribution to cricket was a few bad jokes and plenty of bad press. In a similar vein, our Baulko 12s were given the right honorable title of LoBaTs after years of showing a consistent 'Lack of Brains and Trust and Skill'. The name has since been carried around with pride and even established international notoriety when Trevor Chappel claimed on international TV to have coached the LoBaTs to numerous losses.

To make a long story much longer, the senior brains trust got together in the off season and hatched a brilliant new plan. The plan was brilliant in its simplicity. Most brilliant plans are. In this case however it was simple only because the brains trust gets a splitting headache if it isn't simple.

The plan was to find a team that was likely to have at least one win a season and call them the LoBaTs. Like with all brilliant plans, the trick lies in the execution. A wise man once said something. Unfortunately none of us can remember what it was. But if this wise man was around, he would tell us that it's better to have a bad plan executed well than a good plan not executed, or something to that effect.

We had a bit of both. We found a team and decided to call them the LoBaTs. They fitted the bill. They were all curries - mainly Lankan curries - and they had a love for the game - 'had' being the operative word. As for which game, we are yet to establish.

The LoBaTs were reborn, unbeknown to them. They were a proper bunch this lot. The skipper blasted out numerous emails with plenty of gusto and endless instructions. An emergency meeting was called at Charuka's house to establish a constitution and ask for donations, mainly for pocket money, really.

The emergency meeting, resulted in numerous follow up emails and follow up emergency meetings out of which a team was hatched, or so we are lead to believe. The Canberra Lankans were then invited to Sydney for a warm up match, mainly to instill a bit of confidence in a few of the old boys.

The Canberrans came, pillaged, conquered, had a feast and left with the silverware. They hammered over 370 runs - after which we lost count. Seven of their batsmen retired out of boredom. We dropped more than our mandatory quota of catches - 24 by some counts, 27 by other - after 12 we lost count. The captain got a grilling from the premier bowler for dropping half the teams quota. The captain even contemplated dropping himself from the side.

Your roving reporter also lost a finger in the process of making a dropped catch look difficult. He is now typing with just one finger. While the opponents hammered everything to the boundary, including the umpire, when we went to bat, the boundaries had grown and pitch had been planted with land mines. We had the usual procession of wickets followed by the familiar 'aiyo'.

Suffice it to say, this new team that had been named the LoBaTs was very quickly living up to the team's reputation that had been painstakingly built over the years.

The captain shot out a few more lengthy emails after the match to ensure the confidence the team had gained would be maintained for the season. The skipper's emails had to be summarised and translated for a couple of the players that struggle with sentences that contain words longer than four letters.

The LoBaTs were back.

The first official match of the season was last weekend. In what was probably a first ever, at the start of the game, the captain wasn't working the phone like a Bangalore call centre trying to find aunties and uncles to come and fill in. Everyone was there on time, except of course for Las who's not everyone and is never on time. We wouldn't have expected anything less.

Also in a first ever, Ricky was there without his pads on. The skipper won the toss and sensibly (yes, again another first) decided to bat. Everyone looked at Ricky expecting to tell him to take his pads off, but then realised he wasn't padded up. This caused immense confusion. The confusion was sorted by the skipper asking Ricky to pad up, just for fun.

Then Prassana and his opening partner, who shall remain nameless simply because he can't remember his name, conducted a few stretches. One of the lads quickly reminded them not to stretch too much or they might not recover in time to bat. They saw the wisdom in that and headed out. A few overs later Prassana whacked a bouncer straight into the bottom of his middle stump. That was probably the hardest shot in the book to play to a ball like that and he succeeded. This started the all too familiar procession of wickets.

Lasi played a few beautiful forward defence strokes to balls that just missed the stumps and went through the keeper legs for byes. He was then given out lbw to a ball that was heading towards fine leg but according to the umpire would have then made a u-turn and come back to hit the stumps from behind the keeper.

This umpire was straight out of the Sam school of umpiring. He had his finger up from the moment he parked his car. In fact, unconfirmed reports are that he parked the car with his finger up. At this point we started blaming the skipper for batting first.

Charuka came out before the umpire had put his finger down and unfortunately had a ball hit him in the pads. We were three down with not much to show for it. Rajitha wisely (once again another first) decided to wait till the umpire put his finger down before heading out. He told the boys 'not to worry' he'll stay there because there was 'a long way to go'. We all knew how much he hated to walk such a long way back and forth to the middle so we were confident he would give us a long innings.

He came out, kissed his bat and dispatched his first ball to the boundary. A couple of balls later he copped a bouncer and found a way to gently return it as a catch to the bowler. This was probably the hardest shot to play and has never been seen in any coaching manual of any kind, including the Karma Sutra vol 17 that has quite a few illustrations of awkward shots. We have it on good authority that this shot will be illustrated in vol 18.

Rajitha was last seen having harsh words with the bat he is so fond of. We were now 4 down for 31 runs. The skipper had given the other opener specific instructions to reign in his naturally attacking game and to simply stay there without scoring any runs till the end of the innings. At this stage, this looked like a very simple task.

Captain Chaminda then decided to take matters into his own hands. He walked out to the middle and decided diplomacy was the best way to handle this hostile situation. He showed the bowlers some respect instead of his usual disdain. It worked. The bowlers calmed down. Finally when the opponents had fallen a sleep thanks to the opening batsman's natural lack of stroke play and general lack of talent we managed to put a few runs on the board, thanks mainly to the wicket keeper that appeared to be on our side.

To wake up the fielders, they decided to liven up the match and gave the ball to a pie chucker. This plan worked. The partnership was broken after the opener's eyes light up and he swung wildly to a straight ball that took out middle of middle. The opener was seen still spinning well after the days play was over.

This was good news for the LoBaTs because it meant Romesh was next. Romesh was not in the mood for diplomacy. In fact, he was in a foul mood. He hammered over 110 runs in less than 60 balls. One over he dispatched the opening bowler for 22 runs. It happened so fast that we lost count of his final score.

Through all the carnage, Chaminda continued to play his captain's hand by rotating the strike thanks to the byes the keeper was giving us. Before we knew it we had over 300 runs on the board.

At this point Ricky was seen jumping up and down on the boundary asking the umpire to raise his finger again so he could get a bat. Romesh felt sorry for Ricky and gifted his wicket, albeit after 110+ was contributed. This resulted in Melro trying to club everything into the following day. His swashbuckling innings of one over buckled and Ricky finally had his turn.

Chaminda finally decided to let Shashi bat. He went out with a bat, but no one is quite sure why because he didn't use it. He swung at pretty much everything and anything but the ball. Finally the bowler realised that all he had to do was bowl one at the stumps and that was that.

At this point we learnt that Chris had made what was easily one of the safest bets of the season. He promised Ricky 50 packs of smokes if Ricky scored the hundred that he said he was good for. When asked what Chris would get if Ricky didn't score a 100, he said 'a laugh'. Suffice it to say Chris got his laugh and Ricky who ended up being not out at the end was seen swearing at the 11th man Parth for not sticking around long enough for Ricky to score another 94 runs.

But by this stage we had 350+ runs on the board. About 50 of those were thanks to the keeper who put his gloves up to our warm applause for reaching that milestone. Now for week two of this match. Stay tuned.