It has come to be known, that India’s match against Sri Lanka was being written off as a practice match - by none other than the Indians themselves.
Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella speaks of extracting revenge, even as he says that such things have no effect on the Lankans.
Anyhow, after the rude shock of losing to Sri Lanka after beating archrivals Pakistan, the Indians woke up dazed. As early as 3 am, an Indian cricketer was seen sleepwalking towards the swimming pool of the hotel. He then proceeded to sleep talk: “I deserve to drown myself in shallow waters.” A crude translation of the Hindi saying, "chullu bhar pani me doob mar".
Giridhar Gupta, the guard on duty, was disappointed that the Indian cricketer did not recognise a fellow Indian.
While most of the players surfaced well past 6 am, the Indian coach, Anil Kumble, and captain, Virat Kohli, were spotted getting a net way earlier, at 5 am - while Kohli failed to contribute with the bat against Sri Lanka, he did bowl three overs of his concoction of slow seamers with a leggie’s action.
Those who spotted Kumble and Kohli claimed to see the two working on the captain’s bowling. After that, it appears the two were working on the coach’s batting. Seeing the calm between the two, it is now being said the captain and coach have turned a corner in their relationship. Still others said this was just being done to ease out disharmony between the two.
Sourav Ganguly, however, said he fully believed the two were champion cricketers and there was nothing wrong between them in the first place. “I repeatedly said in commentary that India will score 330, and because India fell eight short of my target they eventually lost. If you see, Shekhar’s hundred…”
When corrected that it was Shikhar and not Shekhar, an oblivious Ganguly marched on, “as I was saying, Shekhar’s century…”
When approached, Kohli said he wanted to dismiss the defeat to Sri Lanka as a bad dream. “While it is nowhere as deflating as our continuous defeats playing for RCB, turning up as the losing captain had a sense of déjà vu. Yes, you can say, Sri Lanka turned up today, and I do think 320 was a defendable target and we just didn’t bowl well enough or field well enough for that matter, even though there were two run-outs, we let some easy ones go…” the interviewer was quite flabbergasted when Kohli rambled on and left her with nothing to ask.
India got the rude shock of losing to Sri Lanka after beating archrivals Pakistan. Photo: Reuters
When the players assembled at 7.30 am for breakfast, they sat with their empty plates, looking as if they’d just been caned by a missionary school headmaster.
Umesh Yadav broke the silence when he muttered: “Yesterday, I met Umesh Yadav's older version who would bowl at least two hit-me deliveries in an over. I never liked him. But batsmen liked him. Yesterday batsmen liked him a lot. Not just like, they even shared my hit-me deliveries between themselves.”
Umesh stared at his empty plate, as Jadeja took over from him, “because of me, Virat and Kedar had to bowl. Because of me, Ashwin did not bowl. Because of me…” When reminded that there was no way Ashwin could have bowled as he wasn’t playing, he continued, like a haunted man, “But we hunt in pairs, we hunted in pairs throughout the home series”.
When reminded that he had been listening to too much Ravi Shastri, he said, “Because of me, Shastri is not doing commentary.”
Next, Yuvraj Singh decided to own up - “After a match-winning innings for India against Pakistan, I played a match winning innings for Sri Lanka against India.” Everyone cracked up, and thanked Yuvi for being such a cool and funny guy.
It was then that Hardik Pandya chipped in, “I was nearly as expensive as Jadeja, if you take away my maiden over, I went for 51 runs off 6 overs, Jaddu went for 52 off his 6… and I dropped a return catch and threw my wicket away when I needed to accel...”
It was then that Kumble and Kohli walked in from their long net together. Kohli cleared his throat. Silence at the table. “We have been discussing the defeat, and we have decided to take it in our stride," Kohli said in a very matter-of-fact way.
And with those few words, suddenly, everything was good at the Indian breakfast table. They started laughing and repeating to themselves, “take it in our stride!”, “take it in our stride!”, take it in our stride!!!”
The Indian table resembled a Lok Sabha cheering session, with the players thumping the tables hard.
Next, Kohli commanded them to go fill their plates with every conceivable protein on offer, “We are a champion side and we’re gonna have a breakfast of champions.”
Kumble added: “Yes, breakfast of champions is a book by Kurt Vonnegut… has anyone of you read...”
But by the time, Kumble could finish asking, the team had already started to attack the buffet. Someone could be heard chirping with much euphoria, “muesli… take it in our stride!!”
(However plausible this may sound, this is largely a work of fiction.)