In what is seen as somewhat of a tradition now, Wimbledon men's champion, Novak Djokovic has taken to grazing on the greens of the Centre Court. While Djokovic's measly appetite only allows him a morsel of grass, India's cricket director, Ravi Shastri (in London on a cricket assignment) was quick to see the benefits for his battered batsmen - "In cricket, a batsman cannot rough the pitch up with his shoes, but there is no rule against eating the grass. Everyone knows Indians are traditionally vegetarians and in England you don't get anything other than bloody fish and chips or chicken tikka masala. I think it's an excellent opportunity for the batters to assert themselves in English conditions by eating grass. This will not only give them a high-fibre diet but also negate the seaming conditions. With no grass on the pitch, I don't see the ball doing much and that should take Jimmy Anderson out of the equation. Which means Virat Kohli can get one back at his old enemy."
Sachin Tendulkar, also at Wimbledon, to support his friend Roger Federer saw this as yet another innovation in cricket. "But if we eat grass, we have to be prepared that they will eat dirt... off our pitches. Everyone knows how the dust and dirt add to our slow tracks. If that's taken away it can get tricky and negate our home advantage," Sachin added cheekily, "And we all know how these foreigners eat anything." Commenting on his Europe and England trip, the Indian legend claimed his wife and kids had restrained him from posting more than five selfies in a day on his Facebook account. "After more than a million likes honestly, who can stop? I look at accumulating likes much in the same way as accumulating runs. Haha and the thousands of shares don't hurt either."
India's new Test captain Kohli was also spotted at Wimbledon, with his companion, Anushka Sharma. When asked for his opinion on Indian batsmen eating grass, he was dismissive - "The grass doesn't bother me. For all I care let them grow more grass and turn their pitches into the Kaziranga National Park. I have made some adjustments to my technique... " When reminded that Shastri thought the idea had merit, he added, "Of course if Ravi thinks it's a good idea, there's no harm in looking into it. Oh, and we're here to watch the tennis so if you'll please respect our privacy."
Meanwhile India's ODI skipper, MS Dhoni, appeared unaffected by batsmen eating grass - "Whether they eat grass or don't eat grass, it doesn't affect me one bit. Ever since I've retired from Test cricket, I only play on flat lifeless pitches with not a speck of grass or a hint of life in them. But if you ask me for my opinion, I'll be quite frank and say that Duncan Fletcher did a good job and had suggested that we eat grass much before all this Wimbledon nonsense started. And just because nobody ever took Duncan seriously they thought he was raving mad to even suggest this. Now Ravi has suggested it and everyone will say he is a genius."
Rahul Dravid has suggested that before Indians can start eating grass in overseas conditions, they have to acclimitize and eat grass in Indian conditions - "This may not be a bad thing really, because finally we might see some grass on our wickets, if only for a short while."
Meanwhile, Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan, India's Test match openers have been entrusted with the task of eating grass for at least the first 15 overs. Shastri says, "As the openers, we expect them to take the shine off the grass."
(However plausible this might sound, this is largely a work of fiction.)
First posted here