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Why Mahabharata was the first-ever timeless Test!

Duncan Fletcher is now reverentially addressed as “acharya” by the Indian cricket team players © Getty Images
Duncan Fletcher is now reverentially addressed as “acharya” by the Indian cricket team players © Getty Images

By Rahul Namjoshi

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

Tired of bashing the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has been receiving from cricket fans across the globe for taking over the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the game of cricket from England and Australia, the Indian cricket board has decided to give a befitting reply to these allegations. The riposte nothing remotely to do with N Srinivasan’s interview to Or(s)nob.

The earlier attempt to do so where the oft-repeated phrase ‘Let the courts decide’ was as well appreciated as another oft- repeated phrase ‘Women’s empowerment’ from another classic. The BCCI has issued a book by noted historian Hon. Vijay Dina Nath Battera, whose cricket knowledge is reflected in his surname. The book will be issued to all Indian cricketers along with the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) rule book as ‘supplementary’ reading.

The theme of the book is purported to set the record straight for all those who believe that the British invented the game of cricket. The epic Mahabharata has a lot of hidden references to it and it wasn’t an 18-day war between the Kauravas and the Pandavas, but the first timeless Test in world history between the two sides. The clinching fact being that playing hours were only during the day and play came to a halt after sunset. We present some excerpts from this exceptional book which throws some light on the origin of a lot of cricketing terms.

—  Krishna was a very talented player and both the teams wanted him to play for them. But he feared that it would make the contest lop-sided and offered the teams a choice between his services as a coach or some players from his team. The Pandavas chose him as a coach. The importance of coaching was validated by the result and modern teams have followed that practice even in today’s day and age.

—  Sanjaya was the world’s first TV commentator who gave live commentary to Dhritarashtra. There is not much known about his style but Mr. Battera believes that the words ‘the match hangs in the balance’ were first uttered by him.

— Bheeshma was the first ever player to leave the field ‘retired hurt’. He could not come out to bat again.

—  Abhimanyu was the first cricketer to be sledged when a lot of the Kauravas ganged up against the poor

chap which led to his dismissal.

—  The concept of cricket under flood lights first came in to play when Jayadratha, who thought it was the end of day’s play had to come out to bat again and Arjun promptly got rid of him.

— There were no neutral umpires those days and Yudhisthir claimed a catch against Drona by murmuring ‘Naro va Kunjaro va’. He was fined for this unsportsmanlike conduct but this was a suspended fine. He paid it only at the end of his career.

—  The term ‘Mankaded’ should have actually been ‘Pandaved’ as Karna found to his horror when caught in no man’s land.

—  Duryodhana was the first man to be wrongly adjudged Leg Before Wicket (LBW) as Bheem had hit his thigh. As we all know that ball would have gone over the stumps. The need for a third umpire was felt for the first time after that wicket.

— Ashwatthama was the world’s first immortal cricketer who never aged. It is suspected that now days he plays under the name Shahid Afridi.

— Betting was an integral part of cricket right from its inception. It was gambling that led to the Test match.

The book also lays down some dos and don’ts for budding Indian cricketers.

—  Indian players should drink Ganga jal during drink breaks. It will cleanse their spirit and they will always be able to stick to the spirit of the game.

— The players shouldn’t say coach but Acharya.

— Players should touch the Acharya’s feet before going on the ground.

—  Cricketers shouldn’t jump and shout like foreigners while celebrating wickets or centuries. They should chant Gayatri Mantra to celebrate their success.

The book has been sent to England and is expected to motivate them to save the 3rd Test. The reaction of Duncan Fletcher when addressed as Acharya is eagerly awaited. Mr. Battera is already being asked to be ready to take on coaching duties in an emergency to take India back to its glory days in cricket.

Note: This is a satire and shouldn’t be taken too seriously by all those academicians who may question the veracity of the claims here

(Rahul Namjoshi, an utter failure as an MBA, has no published novel to boast of and hence trying the next best thing – blogging. There, too, the results there aren’t too encouraging. Rahul pens his thoughts on the game in a blog called Not Cricket)

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