Written by Nimish Dubey | New Delhi | February 14, 2015 9:44 am
With the Indian team not having the smoothest of runs Down Under (a win over Afghanistan is all we have to show at the time of writing), it is time to shake up the team’s strategy. And what better example to follow than that of the political party that just swept to power in Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)?
So here are seven AAP-inspired strategic tricks that could well help India win the World Cup and not give it back:
Forget the helmets, get the mufflers
Forget about looking like the usual batsman. Get rid of the helmets and caps and replace them with…you guessed it, mufflers! No, we are not making any attempt to compromise the safety of our cricketers. These would be specially designed mufflers made of steel mesh, but would come with a woollen weave that would make them look perfectly normal. They would be lighter than conventional helmets and offer more protection (as they cover the neck and upper shoulders too). Best of all, they would keep the ears of batsmen covered, saving them from all sledging from different opponents! Also propose a special provision in the laws allowing Indian batsmen to be known as Mufflermen. And if you wish to swear a bit, just drape it over your mouth and mutter away merrily – it can muffle sound too!
Get into Jhaadoo mode and sweep everything
The sweep: It is almost impossible to set a field to. And it was not Arvind Kejriwal who proved it but England’s Graham Gooch, who swept India into oblivion in the semi-final of the 1987 World Cup. Yes, one would need a bit of improvisation to adjust the stroke to bouncy deliveries but mastery of this one stroke could pave the way to World Cup success. Maybe having Jhaadoo shaped bats would help? Just a thought, just a thought…no sweeping generalisations.
Be ready for a dharna when things don’t work out
If at times you fail…sit on a dharna. The team should carry special mattresses and blankets to plonk right down in front of the umpires and other officials if it feels it has been hard done by. Yes, some people might laugh at you but rest assured, they will think twice before handing you dodgy decisions, and (cough, cough) might even favour you from time to time. Chris Broad tried out this method at Lahore in the series against Pakistan in 1987, when he sat down on the pitch after being given out caught behind off Abdul Qadir, but his dharna was not quite as effective because it was an individual act and not part of a cohesive team strategy. And he did not have a mattress. Those pitches can be rough!
Yes, yes, we subscribe to the theory that you should fight for every run and every wicket, but there’s no harm in throwing in a few freebies before every match – say, a couple of full tosses every three overs in the Power Play; a wide every four overs; or an extra run once an over for every shot that goes into the deep. These will lull the opposition into a false sense of security, and focus on the freebies instead of the real cricket, and hah, you can sneak in and triumph. Of course, if things go down to the wire, you can always withdraw the freebies…when they matter the most (the team needs six to win off the last delivery and you are due to deliver a promised freebie full toss – don’t deliver it, and then humbly apologise, saying that to err is human)! And don’t give us the rationale about it not being fair, batsmen are being offered freebies by the ICC through rule changes anyway.
Stress your underdog status
Don’t talk of “we won’t give it back.” Stress instead your will to give it back…but to a worthy contender, the better team on the day, and so on and so forth. That will get you a round of applause for being sporting and bring down your own fans’ expectations (Indian fans’ expectations can be dangerous – just ask Ajit Wadekar what happened when he returned after a disastrous tour of England in 1974). And that leads us to the next point…
Stress their being unfair
…which is to stress that while you are always ready on the path of trophy renunciation to a better team, the sad fact is that, well, the others are just not worth it. The Aussies sledge, the West Indies sack stars at random, England are unfair to their best batsman and their Test captain, Pakistan don’t even know what they themselves will do…and so on. In the presence of such rivals, what choice have you but to take on the burden of the World Cup, the responsibility of being World champions? Play your cards well, and your opponents will feel so guilty whenever they get the upper hand that they will hand it (the upper hand) right back to you. Oh and the fans of BOTH teams will love you.
Don’t just appeal, swear…on your relatives!
Just think, what sounds more convincing when you appeal: the good old-fashioned “Owzat?” or “He was leg before, ump, I swear on the lives of my three yet to be born great grandchildren!” Bring this theory of ‘relativity’ into the humble cricket appeal and see how much more effective appeals get. It should certainly ‘appeal’ to the older umpires! Just make sure that the umpire understands that you are referring to your own relatives and not theirs. Though evidence indicates that you can get away with references to mothers – remember the “Monkeygate” affair involving Bhajji and Symonds in Australia in 2007-08, where the Indian off spinner got off because he claimed he had said “Maa ki” and not “Monkey”?
Nimish is a freelance writer based in New Delhi. He writes about technology, books, sports and everything else...read more