Guru Greg ‘demystifies’ Tendulkar

With India out to conquer the ‘final frontier’, and the Australians in admittedly patchy form, Cricket Australia have taken the issues very seriously. To ensure that the Border-Gavaskar trophy does indeed stay down under, they have enlisted the services of Greg Chappel to ‘demystify’ Tendulkar who has remained an enigma to Aussies of this generation and the previous. Here is Guru Greg’s address to the team:

‘Right. Welcome, boys. I have been called upon to ‘demystify’ Tendulkar and I intend to do just that. First, you must have all read my book Fierce Focus available for only AUD 7.99 from all leading book stores. You haven’t? Shame on you. You really ought to have. Tell you what, I am going to extend this into a two-day session and your assignment for tonight is to go buy the book and read the Tendulkar-related sections in it. There will be a quiz tomorrow and that will contribute toward your selection for the first XI. Don’t think of cheating for I will get to know when I get my royalty check.’

‘Now that that is cleared up… Pup! Stop kidding around. You’re captain, for crying out loud! Punter, come off it; you’re not the captain any more. Deal with it. Don’t make that PontingFace again. There are enough memes on the internet as it is. Warner, put down those dumbbells. We’re finding it hard to make shirts for you as it is. Yes, Mike. The four hundred and sixty fifth run you scored was indeed a drive through the covers. Now stop it. Fierce Focus, people. Fierce focus.’

‘Now, Sachin. Hmm. Yes. Sachin. Good lad, that. Plays well and all that. A good player indeed but certainly not as good as me of course. But then again, who is? Ha! Anyway, yes. Sachin. McGrath, Warnie, Brett Lee and all those other bowlers tried and failed. You know why? Because they did not bowl to a plan. Fierce focus, people. Fierce focus.’

‘OK. Let’s do an analysis. First off, he is terrific off the front foot. So don’t bowl it pitched up on or just outside the off-stump. Next, he is brilliant off his hips. So don’t bowl it on his pads. Short of a length is most definitely a no-go for he will just punch it through the covers. Hmm. So that does pose a problem, what? Never fear. I do have a solution after all.’

‘As we Aussies say, “when it doubt, pitch it short.” OK, I just made that up but nevertheless, it’s true.  So that’s an area you ought to be looking at. Now again, there is a problem here. He is all of 5 foot 4. So pitch it too short and he is happily going to let it go and don’t pitch it short enough and he’s gonna wallop you through mid-wicket. So you ought to pitch it just about short. Remember, not too short. Not too not-short. Simple, no?’

‘Oh yes. Spinners. Do we even have those? Oh yes. I’m sorry Nathan, I forgot you were here. And while we’re on the subject, if you really want people to call you a lion, you really ought not to confuse people with that spelling of your surname. I’m sorry, pup. You can whine all you want but I’m still not calling you a spinner. But I will call you skipper, so cheer up.’

‘Ah yes. Spin. That lad is quite good playing spin, I must admit. However, there is a way to entrap him. There always is. The offie ought to pitch the ball just outside off and spin it inwards while the ball maintains its trajectory and goes on straight. He will perhaps think that the ball will spin(and you probably thought so as well) but it will hold its line and go straight on. You’ll be as confused as he is. I’ll have a chat with the curator. The leggie? Well, try not to sleep at night. Warnie had nightmares. Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.’

‘Ah yes. I think that’s the end of my chat. I’m pretty sure I’ve demystified Tendulkar for you. There’s nothing to it, really. Just bowl in the right areas, get the ball to nip, cut, swing, spin and seam. All at the same time, of course. And, let me see. What did I leave out? Hmmm. Ah yes! Of course. Of course. Get the ball to do all those things and in the meanwhile, get the lads to do one more thing. Pray. But not to the cricket Gods of course. For if cricket is religion, then surely you’re praying to the wrong God for the wrong reason.’