‘How ya doing, mate?’ hits Michael Clarke’s WhatsApp as he wakes up in the morning. It was an unknown number, thus Clarke, the celebrity that he is, had no reason to reply and put the phone away and went out for a morning jog. Hardly did he realize it was the mistake he would be regretting long.
We will come back to that but a little backstory will put the story into perspective. Hence we go, searching around the table and finding the origin of the Great 23 Yard Circus. A genuine one at that which makes the bull circle around the centre with the tangible impact of everything that goes behind the scene.
Ravi Shastri becoming an entrepreneur for male grooming products was not a surprise. After all, when Kapil Dev became a Floodlight Installer after retirement - Okay, he owns that company - one would’ve really thought what would Shaz do? It took years surely, but finally, here we are in the cauldron of Ravi Shastri who owns the world, letting us be mere spectators. I wouldn’t mind buying a full hamper but then Michael Clarke and Michael Vaughan got it for free.
It was a dazzling reminder that Ravi doesn’t forget anything. He doesn’t forget a word spoken against him or his captain or his team or his selection or his bowlers or his staff or his (anything that you insert) only apart from Sourav Ganguly and Nasser Hussain. He will revert back when he is at the top and that’s the beauty of Ravi Shastri - the mind-boggling superstar of the yore and the biggest cultural icon of modern times.
Let’s end the suspense here and go back to our original story? So what actually happened? Why was Shastri so keen to know about Clarke’s life? We traced back, did all our research and even before omniscient Majumdar could get to know the details from his good friend from New South Wales, we had the details lying on our mail. Shastri not only sent a 23 Yards hampers to Clarke but had a letter enclosed with it, which is in SportsCafe’s possession, which we are reproducing here in no fictional detail.
“Hey, Clarkey. How ya’ doin’ mate?
Burns? I am sorry for that, Man! It must feel bad for you, I understand. Beating a tired and depleted Indian side in 2011 might have been fun for you, but here is a detail. THIS INDIAN TEAM DOESN’T KNOW TO LOSE! THEY WILL LOSE, GET UP AND SMASH YOU ALL! (Trust me, it was in all caps).
Virat was out, Ishant was out, Shamz was out, No problem. We are tough Cookies. What was that prediction, mate? 4-0. This is right on your face. Take it, do whatever you want and never make a comment like that again. Do you understand?
This hamper is for you, Clarkey. Use it. This is for free. I don’t even want you to endorse this because we all know our Indian cricketers are enough to endorse any macho product. Dare you make any ridiculous statement ever again! You’re better off without that.
This was not the morning Clarke expected, especially after having been on board with Channel 7 as an expert analyst on a huge pay package. The brief that he received from Mr James Warburton was to crush the Indian cricketers all the while after the series and now he knew that if he does so and Ravi Shastri gets triggered further, he might lose his IPL commentary contract.
SportsCafe, after all, had known all of that and even before publishing the copy, we decided to touch base with Clarke. He was sceptical to open up about other side stories but then he had nothing to lose. A bit of reluctance but he was comfortable speaking the aftermath that the Ravi Shastri letter had left him in.
A great individualist, Clarke presided over a period of stunning dominance over the Indian team in international cricket and success before too boring for them. But none really imagined what propelled England to do so, especially because it is the only SENA country where India had massive success, winning three series in total.
Thus he dialled upon Vaughany if he had received any such thing from the Indian coach. Turned out, he did, with his hamper standing out among the massive stack of letters he received at his Greater Manchester house. Even though we failed to get hold of those letters, those were hard-hitting, as Clarke revealed, and even harsher than what he himself received.
Vaughany, however, had made amends with 100s of tweets following that, in which he praised India left, right, and centre - a complete U-turn if ever there is one. Ravi Shastri took that as a token of opportunism but he reserved his hard-boiled tamper for the upcoming England series where he is quite sure of the result. Will Vaughan ever try doing that again?
PS: Everything written in this satire is fictional and for the purpose of Cricket entertainment. Nothing should be taken seriously. Just like the tweets of Michael Vaughan and commentary of Shane Warne or the Australian media's sledges!