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Suddenly I have developed a multiple personality. And along with that dozens of new names. At Trent Bridge, Nottingham, it was exactly like playing at Wankhede, the Kotla or my own Chinnasamy stadium. Who would have thought skipper Mahi would consider me good enough to be in the playing XI. After the Test was over, he told the media, “We haven’t had a seaming all-rounder but Stuart Binny could be someone who can really contribute for us in the future.” That night I rang up dad Roger, asking him if Mahi was capable of saying such things, I mean admitting in public that I was an all-rounder and I could seam! Dad told me not to think too much but get on with the game.
What game? Oh, you mean the one at Trent Bridge. At the end of Day 3, Mahi told the media, “The boys bowled close to 160 overs, they kept coming even after sending down 25-26 overs.” Ishant finished with some 36 overs, some others 30 overs but no one asked how many Stuart Binny bowled? I can tell the Secret Diary, the seaming all-rounder bowled 10. Yes, 10, that too after Murali Vijay had bowled 2 overs. What was I doing out there?
I don’t know if I am a seaming all-rounder but Ian Chappell wrote I was a “bits and pieces” player and wondered what I was doing in a Test match. Even Mahi may have thought so. During the long English innings he never looked at me even once, let alone giving me a bowl. Standing in the field like a zombie, I had a strange feeling that my teammates couldn’t see me. Suddenly I had a fear. Had I become invisible? I had read the book in school and always wanted to be one who could turn invisible. Perhaps that was why I watched Mr India 65 times and was still eagerly awaiting its sequel. Was that why Mahi ignored me totally on the field while the bowling was shared by everyone else?
That evening, I shared my secret with some of my teammates, ones who I could trust. They laughed. No, I was very much visible. The problem was that Mahi had developed a problem. After acquiring money, fame and wife Sakshi, he was blind to everyone else. The only way for a new chap to catch his attention on the cricket field was run by him, making sounds like a motorbike. Yes, I knew my skipper owned 29 motorbikes and loved them more than any new player thrust on him. During lunch break on the fourth day of the Test, I ran near him twice making noises like a motorbike. The captain looked me in the eye, and smiled. When we trooped on to the field he gave me the ball and I sent down 10 overs though the ball was not seaming. At least for the rest of the match I was not invisible. On the last day, I scored a match-saving 78. Now I thought I was semi-visible and hope to play some more Tests. What do you think, Mr Chappell?
The Mumbai-based satirist is the creator of ‘Trishanku’; E-mail your secret diarist: vgangadhar70 [AT] gmail [DOT] com