Ravi Shastri © Yogen Shah
Ravi Shastri was recently appointed as the Director of Cricket © Yogen Shah

By Ramesh Soundararajan

Please note this is a humour article — work of pure fiction

The Indian cricket team has been losing quite consistently in overseas Tests. Players have changed and management has changed. Yet, series are being lost due to poor technique and adaptability. (Adaptability to conditions, not between players and their WAGS!).

Any investment into technique improvement will take time and any improvement could soon be frittered away in T20 leagues. With Mitchell Johnson looming in three months’ time, Ravi Shastri has realised that if performance does not improve, he also could be ejected like a tracer bullet. So he has devised a more comprehensive version of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge with which the Indian team can gain the upper hand over the Aussies during the upcoming tour Down Under:

STEP 1: Short listing causes —This is the most important part. Instead of choosing one like ALS, Shastri has identified 4-5 causes, such as WHO, Down’s Syndrome, CRY, SOS children etc.

STEP 2: Identifying the Challenge(s) — This one is easier. Since Team India is now being challenged on many fronts, it is  easier for the boys to take part in myriad challenges and in turn pass it on to their opponents. Accordingly, after mapping out the reasons for Team India’s slump in fortunes, Shastri has shortlisted the following challenges:

1) Fishing outside the off stump

2) Can’t handle short balls

3) Can’t handle serious spin

4) Can’t handle part-time spin

5) Can’t run for nuts

6) Can’t catch a football in the slips

7) Captain getting bored and allowing match to drift… and so on.

STEP 3: Posing the challenge — Every time an Indian player gets out, his dismissal will be tagged onto one of the causes. As soon as the batsman is back in the pavilion, he will upload the following message and mark at least three of the opposing team’s batsmen: “I have participated in the “ Get out to part-time spinner challenge” and here is the video. David Warner, Michael Clarke and Chris Rogers. You either participate in this or contribute $10,000 to CRY.”

STEP 4: Forcing the opponents to accept it — By keeping the cost of not participating very high, Shastri thinks that at least one tagged batsman will take the bait. Beauty of the challenge is that you cannot be tagged back. So, in the rare event of an Australian batsman getting out to an Indian spinner, he can only challenge if that mode of dismissal is not listed in India’s code. This is unlikely and so Australia will have two difficult choices. Either participate and get out equally cheaply or contribute their match fee to charity. Failure to do either will only heap shame on them.

STEP 5: Leveraging BCCI’s cloutBoard of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is also clued into the plan and will deploy its considerable clout and resources into propagating Shastri’s challenge. As soon as an Indian player tags an Aussie, BCCI will tweet: “Warner. Are you game to take the part-time spin challenge? An additional $10,000 to CRY if you do.” This will bring moral pressure on the player.

What if all goes wrong, and still India lose a Test? BCCI will step in and offer the following to the Australian Board:  “We have just contributed a million dollar to UNICEF by taking the “Clueless captain losing the match” challenge. If you can repeat this more than once, we will contribute $ 2 million to UNICEF and offer three IPL contracts to promising Aussie players. Are you interested?”

By using the war chest wisely and leveraging charity and shame equally, Shastri feels that the Indian playing record can improve from the upcoming series. MS Dhoni was very happy to hear this as Shastri’s plan has a lot of process. Ultimately, he is happy as long as the players follow the process. He has only requested for high quality video and 4G dongles so that the players can make the challenge quickly. This is imperative, as the Indian team has been crashing within 30-40 overs these days.

Duncan Fletcher was not available for comments.

(Ramesh Soundararajan is a consultant in Human Resources and Analytics. He not only graduated from NIT and XLRI, but also played cricket for them as well as for his employers Infosys and Sasken. Nothing gives him greater pleasure than shouting out/ not out during a live telecast and getting his opinion validated! He can be reached on Ramesh_sound@yahoo.com. The above article was originally published in www.theunrealtimes.com, India’s favourite satire, spoof, parody and humour portal)