MS Dhoni: Lack of a reliable morning watchman and veg food, reasons for batting collapse at Gabba

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


Like the Night’s Watch in the Game of Thrones guard the wall from the inevitable dangers that lie beyond it. In cricket, there is a special bunch of tailenders who walk into bat at twilight to face the wrath of the hostile bowlers, in order to save one of the more capable batsmen in the team.


Nightwatchman, as these brave men are called, have protected the best of batsmen. Some have gone on to score a lot of runs, even centuries. Coming in as a nightwatchman, Jason Gillespie scored an unbeaten double hundred against Bangladesh in 2006. For India, Ishant Sharma has done the job of a nightwatchman.


After India’s loss in the second Test against Australia at the Gabba, Brisbane, the team management cited poor practice pitches as one of the reasons for India’s batting debacle in the second innings. Overnight batsman Shikhar Dhawan was hit due to the uneven bounce during practice. As a result, he couldn’t walk out to bat at the start of day four. A last-minute notice was served to Virat Kohli, and the Indian vice-captain had to reluctantly walk in unprepared.


On Sunday, after former Australian cricketer Ian Chappell lambasted the Indian think-tank and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni for citing practice pitches as an excuse, the Indian captain became emotional.


Dhoni revealed to this correspondent, the real reason for the batting debacle.


“Late in the day, you have the nightwatchman to come in and bat, but what do you do in such situations like what we were in on Saturday?” asked Dhoni cluelessly, before narrating the tragic tale.


“It’s early in the morning, our overnight batsman doesn’t come out to bat and our team has no experienced morning watchman! Of course, I asked Ishant, our most experienced nightwatchman, but he was out again with Suresh Raina, this time in some Jain restaurant to buy vegetarian breakfast. We had to later send Ravi Shastri to fetch him, or else he would have even missed his batting at number 11.”


Thanks to the officials at the Gabba, Ishant was once again left fuming and the captain had to persuade him.


“He wasn’t allowed to have the food in the stadium premises. He was fuming and later I had to even persuade him to come and bowl. He only agreed after I gave him my share of milk cartons that I was carrying. We were handicapped by both — neither our team was full-fit or full-fed,” said the skipper.


“When I asked Varun Aaron to pad up as the morning watchman, he was angry too and locked himself in the bathroom. Later I came to know that he didn’t understand what I was talking about. He felt offended because he thought I was calling him a ‘watchman’!” Dhoni added.


Of course, the Australian media were indeed rude. One truly needs to sympathise with the Indian skipper. After all how can one expect a regular batsman to walk-out unexpected at the beginning of a day’s play.


There truly isn’t any dearth of quality batsmen, spinners or even pacers, a brave knight like morning watchmen with shining willow armour, could have done the job!


(Suvajit Mustafi consumes cricket for lunch, fiction for dinner and munches numerous other snacks throughout the day. Yes, a jack of several trades, all Suvajit dreamt of was being India’s World Cup winning skipper but ended up being a sports writer, author, screenwriter, director, copywriter, graphic designer, sports marketer, strategist, entrepreneur,  philosopher and traveller. Donning so many hats, it’s cricket which gives him the ultimate high and where he finds solace. He can be followed at @RibsGully and rivu7)