Monday, March 21, 2016

Grand final - reading the user manual

A number of readers complained about the last column saying they didn't understand what it was all about. This was very surprising. Firstly it was very surprising that someone read it. Secondly it was surprising that anyone would bother to complain about the lack of comprehension, given that not even the author comprehends what he writes.

Nevertheless we decided to give this another go considering the outcome of the final.

So for once we won the toss but then had no idea what to do. The umpire informed us that we only had two choices, either bat or bowl. Our skipper quickly informed the umpire that we planned to do both. The umpire asked us to prioritise. This resulted in a huddle between the umpires and the two skippers. They let out a big cheer when our skipper conducted another toss with himself and it determined we would bat.

Now given the Lobats performance with the bat this season and most other seasons for that matter, this was reason for the other team to celebrate.

This is where things got interesting. The Lobats public relations manager sent out a press release saying the team's management had come up with a brilliant strategy. The strategy - which will be spelt out to avoid further   complaints - was to dispose of the openers as quickly as possible and get into the tail immediately.

This was the result of a former grand final winning captain sending out a very long email to no one in particular suggesting the team do something unconventional, which he said was the only way to not lose. He said a lot more, but nobody knows what else was said because everyone is still reading that email.

So this unconventional strategy was deployed. While that sounds a bit nuts, it actually makes a lot of sense, like all things Lobats. In case you are wondering about the logic, let's spell it out.

As you will recall it was the tail that got us home in the semis. In fact  it's the tail that pretty much does everything. So the openers were told to go out to the middle and get themselves out, which they did with incredible precision. Then Las and Chanster applied the brakes to the scoring, which is normally the job of the openers.

Runs eventually started trickling in when the opposition got bored to death and started allowing balls to go through their hands as they watched the grass grow, which they claim was far more interesting. We concur.

Meanwhile, your roaming reporter started roaming and he got lost. In the process he discovered the real reason the Lobats scored runs. You will recall in the semis Mikey got himself a new bat. You will also recall that the best thing about this bat was the set of instructions it came with that showed which way was up. You will also recall that this resulted in Mikey batting superbly and bringing us home along with Charuka.

Because of that performance, everyone in the team (except for the openers of course) was scrambling around Mikey as he read out the instructions of how to hold a bat to the entire team. Everyone was making photocopies of the instructions and now these instructions have been read more times than the bible, which you all know is the most read book on earth. Some of the boys took the instructions out to the middle and were occasionally seen studying it.

This resulted in another unprecedented series of events. The boys started scoring runs off the bat instead of counting on Mr Sundries to do all the scoring for them. The lads in the hut were dumb founded. They got so tired of cheering. Normally, our innings would be finished in about 20 overs for about 44 runs. We were now into uncharted territory, where the projected score kept getting revised upwards.

It went from 30 to 44 to 60 to 80 to 99. No one ever thought we would break the double figure ceiling our team has set for itself. Then through no fault of his, Romesh edged a couple of runs through the hands of the slip fielder and we had 101 runs on the board. There was complete silence in the hut. This was because Mikey had asked everyone not to move or breathe because he didn't want to see any changes.

The old guys had no problem with this command. They had stopped breathings years ago. The young guys, who all play like old guys, also had no problem with these instructions, because it meant they didn't have to do anything, which they have mastered over the years of being a Lobat.

Partnership after partnership developed, starting with Roma and Chama, followed by Roma and Rava, followed by Rava and Charuks. Drinks were being run on to the field by the sell out crowd of spectators - Chaths and Jude. Jude was offering a selection of whiskeys and wines out of the bar at the back of his car. Apparently Jude is quite a hit with the NSW Blitz crew - every time he gets pulled over for a breathalyser, he offers the coppers a drink of their choice and immediately becomes the life of the party.

Back to the cricket.

Charuks and Rav both started hobbling and then crawling after a few very gentle singles. At this point the opposition was wobbling, which again had never before been seen in a Lobats performance - at least to the memory of your roving reporter, whose as you know is equivalent to a baby fly.

We sent out a couple of stretchers which were sent back because the boys needed their wheelchairs. Eventually they wheeled their way back to the pavilion.  

Then Janaka and Prasanna went out. Janaka used all his experience to conduct a batting master class. As you know the team has about 3700 years of collective experience. What you didn't know is that 3500 years of that lies solely with Janaka. He was showing classical defence shots of yesteryear followed by beautifully stroked drives through gaps. But what was most amazing was his running between the wickets. He was turning back for a third when Prasanna was just leaving his crease for the first.

The young lads in the pavilion put down their bat manuals and started taking copious notes on how to run. They have promised to run like mad in the off season to make up for all the runs they left on the pitch during the season. We're expecting to read about these Forest Gumps in future columns.

This partnership blossomed to the point that Jana and Prasanna decided to shake hands at the bowlers end during a run. Unfortunately the keeper took the bails off at the other end and Jana headed back. Chaths quickly ran a shot of whisky out to Prasanna, but then the umpire called Jana back and asked Prasanna to scoot because the umpire preferred Jana's strokes. At that point, Chaths quickly grabbed the drink off Prasanna and ran to Jana and handed him the drink.

At this point, the boys tore up their notes on how to run between the wickets. Meanwhile all the spectators of the sell out crown who had never seen so many runs scored by the Lobats in an entire season, let alone one match, were all walking around the boundary videoing this insane. They looked baffled.

To make a long story longer, we ended up on 190+. Peter who had never had to count so high since joining the Lobats was now through his 20th pencil. He sent Chris out to the stationary shop to buy another five score books. The innings finally ended on the last over the day, with three balls to spare. That was a shame because the plan was to have a go in the last three balls. For once we almost batted out our overs. But as you know life happens while you are making plans. With the Lobats, shit happens.

Then Chama brought out a cake to celebrate our victory until the skipper informed him that the other team had yet to bat. We told the skipper to skip off and celebrated nonetheless. Even the spectators were given a cake to celebrate. They obliged and offered a bottle of wine and whisky in return. These were amazing scenes that brought a tear to the eye of your reporter of international disrepute, who was rolling around on the floor laughing - for no reason at all.

Day 2 - happened. Read all about it at a future date…

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