World T20 2016 Diaries – An Andaz Apna Apna moment & a wrong stop

Rising Pune Supergiant v Gujarat Lions

I wake up alive. The fact I woke up should be enough said but it’s necessary to emphasize on that fact.

The hair is still in a mess.

Not that I expected it to be any different given what had transpired the previous day but sometimes you can always hope for miracles. Like, as a kid, I always wanted to wake up one day and to start hitting balls outside the park despite my wiry frame. Didn’t happen even then.

But I digress from what should be a cricketing story.

It’s match-day in Nagpur again, and Zimbabwe and Afghanistan are both looking to win their games to set up a finale on Saturday.

Winner takes all. Or at least a place in round two of the World T20.

Zimbabwe are in early trouble yet again, for the second game in a row. And for the second match in succession, Hamilton Masakadza runs himself out. While it’s not as exotic as he managed in the first game when his sudden desire to skip over an imaginary rope caused him to forget the more vital things in life – like grounding his bat in the crease – this looked equally bad.

Because for one, he gets out.

But more vitally, he is involved in a terrible collision with his partner and man-of-the-match from the previous game, Vusi Sibanda. Masakadza goes back to the pavillion and Sibanda almost follows him, injured.

Fortunately the only damage that’s done is on his cheek where he received a few stitches later but even after managing to continue his innings, he lasts as long as an excited 16-year-old on his first date.

Hamilton’s brother, left-arm spinner Wellington – and they have a third brother too but he’s not named a Napier or a Christchurch – then run through an ultra-aggressive Scottish batting line-up to finish with a four-wicket haul.

Interestingly, Wellington had a chance in the team only after Graeme Cremer was ruled out of the tournament with an injury.

Hong Kong are easily undone by Afghanistan, who are looking like a team to watch already. I have already tipped them to usurp Zimbabwe and make round two of the tournament but there’s a catch.

Afghanistan have had a couple of poor tournaments – in the 2015 World T20 Qualifiers they went down before the semi-finals before failing to qualify for the Asia Cup.

In the post-match interview, I ask Mohammad Nabi about this.

He’s quick to point their recent record against Zimbabwe – they have won a few series against them – not only makes them the favourites but also gives them a lot of confidence.

Incidentally, Nabi and captain Asghar Stanikzai, both turn up for the press conference and then spend the best part of the next few minutes deciding who will talk first. Reminds me of this Andaz Apna Apna scene.

Nabi wins the virtual toss, bats first and Stanikzai decides to take off. So Nabi ends up talking for both.

Earlier, it’s Wellington Masakadza who fronts up to the media and he’s rather shy to start things off. His sentences end abruptly and there’s no unnecessary rambling. Last World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, I remember getting a similar feeling from West Indies’ Jason Holder.

Richie Benaudesque, although I am not sure journos approve of one-line answers to queries which sometimes run longer than a paragraph.

The return home is in a bus organised by the ground and I get dropped off at my hotel. Or at least that’s what I think but when I get off, it’s someone else’s hotel. Not mine for sure. A late-night query at a neighbouring hotel tells me my room a good kilometer away from there.

A kilometer-long walk with five kilograms on the shoulders seems a little more than just a kilometer. Lesson learnt again; look outside the bus to ascertain you are getting dropped off at your own hotel and not someone else’s.

By the time I am in the room and changed and sit to write my first few words of the day, I am nearly dead.

This time, my laptop’s weighing on my chest, but with my fingers still on that laptop, I doze off.

If the missus was around, I wouldn’t have felt the need to paint this picture – she would have posted it on every social media website you can think of and more.

I am slightly more fortunate this time that way.

Tonight, there’re no fears.

About Suneer Chowdhary 106 Articles
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