Bored Members - Guests | Media | White Bored | Interview | Bored Anthem - Songs | Boredwaani | Cartoons | Facebook | Twitter | Login

The big IPL hangover before the WTC Final

by Gaurav Sethi

 Will it be full circle for coach Rahul Dravid or just another Oval?

Two months of relentless travel, uprooting oneself from a hotel room every other day, packing, unpacking, and in-between that, playing cricket too. Staying switched on while playing that amount of cricket isn't easy, it showed in performances that could often be tardy. None more than in CSK’s fielding on the second night of the final. 

That the IPL takes a toll is putting it mildly. Some players dig themselves into a hole of fame, delusion; while that one knock or spell skyrockets you into overnight stardom, slated as the next big India prospect by caffeinated commentators; the decline can be unforgiving.  

Yet from this bunch of IPL warriors, a select few made it to the World Test Championship Final versus Australia, at The Oval from 7th June, 2023. While the time-difference between India and England is 4.30 hours, the gulf between a Test and a T20 league cannot be quantified. 

This was telling on the first day of practice. Every player barring Cheteshwar Pujara was in his IPL jersey. Pujara appeared in his Sussex gear. While coach, Rahul Dravid did his best impersonation of himself as the ‘Indira Nagar ka gunda’ ad, captain, Rohit Sharma offered an explanation: “You see, after the jersey sponsors have changed, we can’t just do it”. 

Team India’s jersey sponsors had changed from Nike to Adidas. While this baffled Dravid even more, “What does this even mean?”, an ever chirpy Axar Patel weighed in: "Adidas means All Day I Dream About Sport.”

The first practice session was called off prematurely. 

The next session was even worse. All the players appeared in CSK’s yellow jerseys. Apparently, it was a gift from Ravindra Jadeja. Everyone had the number 7 and Dhoni on their back.

At this point, Sachin Tendulkar, who vacations in England during the summers, appeared. After mixing with the players, he proceeded to the café where he started shooting a food video. Tendulkar had become an all-rounder on social media, sharing his posts on Instagram and Facebook, making a clear differential between them, as he did between formats. 

Dravid then roped in Tendulkar for a candid talk. Tendulkar started by compelling the boys to enjoy their cricket. “First of all, you must enjoy your cricket. It doesn’t matter what format you play, you must enjoy it.”

Old habits die hard, and this is where Dravid imitated Tendulkar. The boys couldn’t bring themselves to laugh, only when Tendulkar cracked up did they join in reluctantly. This was followed by questions.

Jadeja went first, “I’m finding it very hard to get out of the winning moment, and shift to Test format.” Tendulkar nodded. He advised him not to fight it and go with the flow. 

The next visitor was Dinesh Karthik, who reminded everyone he was on media duties. In the last few years, it was impossible to tell whether DK was a player or a soothsayer on air. 

Rohit Sharma, who finds DK both irresistible and irritable, pulled DK’s cheeks so hard it hurt. 

Dravid then beckoned Pujara – just like you all are finding it hard to shift from IPL to Test mode, here’s a player, who is faced with a challenge that’s the exact opposite. Pujara offered a weak smile and said that he too had been part of an IPL-winning side with CSK. Though this was true, it zapped most present. 

Dravid asked Ajinkya Rahane if as a freshly minted IPL champion he had any words of advice. Prompt in his reply, “Definitely. This is one such occasion where nobody should take the credit from the captain. Mahi bhai is an inspirational leader. Definitely, in Australia, I was able to implement a lot of learnings in our series win there. For which I would like to thank Mahi Bhai.” 

Virat Kohli led a chant of Mahi! Mahi! 

Recently retired again Rayudu, who was in talks with various leagues and counties, made a surprise entry. In his usual snappy way, Rayudu offered his two cents: “I have never had a problem adapting from IPL to Test cricket.” Everyone was transfixed. Perhaps Rayudu had the answers. Rayudu continued, “I’ve never had any problems adapting because I never played Test cricket.” 

RP Singh, known to once arrive surprisingly for a Test match in England, was in next. He said, matter of fact, “I was on my way back from USA, thought I’d check if I was needed or anything.”

This was lost on everyone except Dravid. RP Singh played his last Test match in August 2011 at The Oval. The current venue for the WTC Final. Before this, Singh had played a Test in April 2008. 

Dhoni was the Test captain then. He had beckoned Singh into the Test side. Dravid was Man of the series. India had lost the series 0-4. The series was soon after the IPL that year. CSK were the champions then. After the Test series, Dravid played his first and only T20 international against England. He made 31 with three 6s. 

It then dawned upon Rahul Dravid, Tests or T20s, perhaps he was the best man to talk about playing in England. He cleared his throat and started to speak. 

(However plausible this may sound, this is a work of fiction)

First published on 

1 comment:

Exam Help said...

Experience the aftermath of the IPL frenzy as cricket fans eagerly await the thrilling WTC Final.