Sunday, October 26, 2014

LoBaTs up and sputtering in 2014... the Lucky Team?

In the last article, this reporter promised you an interview with the new skipper. Of course none of you will recall that given that no one read the last article and more importantly no one gives a hoot.

However a promise is a promise and it's hardly ever that this esteemed publication gets an exclusive, so you will be subjected to one of the most boring interviews in the history of journalism. 

Before that, let me update you on the progress of your beloved team. Normally that wouldn't take more than a sentence or two given that progress is the last thing on any of the minds of the LoBaTs. Not to worry, these are not normal times and besides as you well know by now, the one thing you are guaranteed here is anything but an executive summary...

So the season is now under way with three matches behind us. The pre-season practice sessions  consisted of Fonzy sending out a lengthy email, followed by a comment or two from the peanut gallery - mainly Chaminda really. Meanwhile the senior members of the 'lack of brains and trust and skill' put together a spectacular team, at least on paper.

This paper, however, was lost when a mild breeze got under the wings of what was a very well designed paper plane... It is believed that team list is now somewhere between Perth and Malaysia. Mr Abbott has promised to launch a naval search and rescue effort, but don't hold your breath, unless of course you are practicing for your next scuba dive.

So without this team list, we were back to the old machang network. Fortunately, this network is tried and tested and it consistently delivers the same result - which is no result. This meant that as always the first match was going to be a patch job of who ever was available. We were happy with anyone who had the one skill required to be an elite member of this group - the ability to fog a mirror with one's breath.

After struggling to find 11 people with this skill, we decided to take the advice of a wise man. When we couldn't find a wise man, we just asked the first person who was silly enough to talk to us. This old Chinese lady simply wished us good luck. We didn't take her words lightly. We looked up the word 'luck' in X Factor and according to Dannii Minogue luck was really about showing up, working hard and taking a few risks.

We showed up, lost the toss and spent the rest of the day working hard on the field. We took some big risks by handing the ball to each other to see who was silly enough to bowl. Chani hopped in on one leg and swung his arm. He got himself a quick fire wicket with a catch hit to cover that somehow got lodged in the hands of midoff after the cover fielder took cover by making a quick dash towards fine leg. 

There was no one to bowl from the other side so everyone was given one ball each. Fortunately the batsmen got so confused they gifted catches and proceeded back to the hut. Then Rajitha was woken up and unleashed. Before we knew it, we had them all out for 73, thanks mainly for the fact there were only about six of them.

Suffice it to say we managed to get the runs and a small lead. On day two we were back to form with our usual spectacular collapses and so they batted again. This time it proved a little more difficult to get them out. When we finally did we needed about 82 runs in 8 overs.

Romesh and Upul were sent out to do the job. They had other ideas. So Rajitha was summoned out of his slumber. He was so angry at being disturbed that he hammered everything. Spectators put on helmets and got on their bikes to make a quick exit but not soon enough. One poor little spectator was almost hit on the head twice. We ended up 15 runs short of an outright.

Match 2 was going to be a bit tougher it appeared when we got to the ground only to find the opposition carrying out international level drills in the nets and the field. They had about 50 men in white running around, diving in the outfield and speeding into the nets. We were one short and that too was the one person we rely on to win all our matches.

We contemplated asking one of the 50 members of the opposition whether they wanted a game or five with us. But then we learnt that the opponents were a reincarnation of the team we played in the grand finals last year. That made sense. As you will recall, the opposition in the finals last year were seen practicing for two days before the game.

Our skipper went out to toss with visible fear in his eyes. He was given a lecture by the international grade umpires on the rules of the game. Turns out he has been playing the game all wrong these past 40 years. He was now visibly happy that he understood what he was supposed to be doing out there.

The skip managed to finally do one thing right. He won the toss. But then he decided to bat. And as usual we found ourselves at 20-2 thanks to Rajitha who got a ball that swung to the right, then to left, then did a cart wheel before going straight past his bat onto the stumps. According to Raja, that was probably the best bowler in the country.

The country's best bowler was now on a hat-trick. He appeared to have a few tricks in his hat. Fortunately Upul managed to keep the next ball out. But that's all he managed to do. He failed to keep the next one out and we were now 20-3. Ishan came in and calmed things down. But it was only a matter of time before our international umpire gave him out lb although he hit the ball. We asked for a decision review and a few polite words later Ishan was back at base camp. 40-4.

As you all know, this is never a cause for alarm. This is standard operating procedure for the Lobats. Usually from here we would limp to about 60 and if we are lucky we would get to our par score of 114, thanks mainly to Mr Sundries, our favourite player. So there was absolutely no panic anywhere except in the other camp where their opening batsmen were unprepared to bat so soon.

Then Romesh stepped on to the field. He was told to get his usual 140+ runs in the remaining overs. After a few overs he was in his thirties. Actually he has been in his thirties for years, but who's counting. Then he gifted his fifth catch which was finally accepted and he returned to base camp.

That's when the two oldies of the side decided to do what they do best and put everyone to sleep with swashbuckling defensive prods and misses. Michael held up his end like he has been doing this for years. Truth is he has been doing this for years. Eventually while the other side was snoring the two tortoise snuck past the 200 mark. Eventually the other side woke up and sent Mike packing. 

This brought Tricky to the middle and that brought Prasanna to the middle a couple of balls later. Yet a couple of balls later Chris was taking guard. The Lobats revolving door was spinning like it had been hit by a typhoon. Chris put on a 26 run partnership with the opener who had blinked and found himself with the last man. We ended up on 266 runs to defend! After our bowlers started getting hammered, Nirav stepped up and took his obligatory 7 wickets in 7 overs, starting with a catch from Ricky that surprised Ricky more than anyone else. We defended our total. 

After all the luck we had in the first two matches, we thought we would test a new formula of luck and a few of us decided not to bother to even show up to the game and see if we could still win. This meant that once again we were playing musical chairs with the ball to see who would bowl the first over. It was a long day in the office, with once again Chani doing the lion share of the work, ending with a Pfieffer and Rajitha taking 3 between his afternoon nap. Upul eventually decided to join us towards the end of the day so he could have a bat.

In 7 overs he was 37 and we had 47 of the 171 runs required. On day 2, Upul felt he had contributed enough, so he didn't show up to continue his innings. The problem was that 3 other guys also appeared to have the same idea as Upul and we were left with only 7 guys to do the batting. Rajitha's usual fireworks with the bat were mis-firing but fortunately so were their fielders. We did what we do best, limped to 171 with as many sundries and edges as possible. We managed to prove that you don't even need to show up to win provided you have enough luck. And that is that.