After sending down chills down the bowlers spines during the course of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, enmity among the middle-order batsmen, keeping the scribes at their toes to find adjectives, it is being reported that the storm created by the domestic openers has reached the Indian dressing room too.
The way openers have hogged the limelight in the ongoing Vijay Hazare trophy and made it purely about themselves is such that it has left even the politicians ahead of the elections, huffing and puffing and affirming to themselves that 'this is the bloody way to get it done'. Middle-order batsmen, bowlers, who are these creatures? Every other day, it's the Padikkals, the Shaws, the Samarths, the Uthappas making it to the headlines. It has created an existential crisis for most others. They have been compelled to find hiding places as these openers have piled up a mountain of runs for fun.
In fact, at one stage of the tournament, bowlers got so tired of all the pasting that they had copped that they even requested to install bowling machines when the openers from the opposition teams came out to bat. They were like, leave the bowling job against openers to machines and, till then, we will make teams on Dream XI. But on one term, that on the app, there has to be no opener. Enough of them on the pitch and in the dreams already. No more hammering. Leave it blank or whatever. No openers. Period.
In no way, literally no way, they can do this. Just look at these numbers. Prithvi Shaw has blasted 754 runs in seven innings and these runs have come in 50-over games, not red-ball cricket. He has averaged a mind-boggling 188.50 with even a more phenomenal strike-rate of 134.88. Devdutt Padikkal made four back-to-back centuries and has 737 runs in seven innings at an average of 147.40 and the youngster has not had even one innings where he didn't make 50.
And if you think that was crazy enough, let me tell you that the third leading run-getter is R Samarth with 613 runs at 122.60, followed by Tanmay Dharamchand Agarwal. And there is this guy, a familiar name, if you have followed Indian cricket, Robin Uthappa, who was so hell bent in turning the VHT into EA games that he ended up playing a 32-ball-87* run-knock. And his strike-rate was just 271.88, there.
In serial killer movies, they find patterns to murders. In Vijay Hazare Trophy, when runs are made, there is only one pattern- the bloody openers. Yes, that was the common thing in the above-mentioned names, all were openers and have laid bare the thread of the white-ball (dhaaga khol diye as the imitable MS Dhoni had said in his movie).
Through SportsCafe's well placed sources in the Indian team, it is found out that the whispers of the mayhem created by the openers in the VHT has also reached the Indian dressing room. In fact, it is being reported that Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul, at separate places, but in a similar fashion, were walking back and forth, intently close to an hour. It was as if KXIP's team - oops, wrong acronym, but nevermind - management had asked KL Rahul to start tonking the ball from the word go in the IPL. And Dhawan, who has a S/R of 128.29 in T20Is, was challenged to match the strike-rate of world-class short-format openers Finch (152.14) and Warner (139.73).
Rohit Sharma, the team man he is, the inherent leader, the great man, he not only breaks the bio-bubble for taking out youngsters of the team but also comforts the senior members. He meets Dhawan and KL separately only to find out they have the same freaking concern - the domestic openers. Who said that these VHT heroes have only given sleepless nights to bowlers? Understanding the gravity of the situation, Rohit calls for a secret meeting with all the openers in the squad.
Dhawan, KL and Rohit assemble in the same room. But, wait where is Mayank Agarwal? He was part of the jumbo squad too. Ignored again, just like he has been from the Test and the T20I squad.
Here are the excerpts from the highly secretive openers meeting:
KL Rahul: These Karnataka boys are just too much. Just when Mayank got dropped, Samarth and Paddikal popped up. Thank god, I, at least, have the security of the gloves with me. What about you Shikhar bhai?
Shikhar Dhawan: Gloves? Oh, and I thought Rishabh Pant, in the form of his life, the X-factor of the side, a left-hand variation in the middle-order was picked in the side. Also, imagine the scenes. When KL Rahul, India's first-choice T20I opener, returns back to Karnataka, only to find that he ain't the first-choice opener for his state side any longer. Ouch!
Rohit Sharma: Stop these petty talks boys. Just like I make daddy hundreds, learn to look at the bigger picture. Mayank Agarwal, Devdutt Paddikal, Prithvi Shaw, R Samarth, they are breathing down our neck. We can't have any more openers in the side. Enough is enough. We, the senior Indian opening association, have to write to national selectors to stop them from making any opening additions.
Rohit pens down a letter to the BCCI national selection committee on behalf of himself, KL and Shikhar.
Respected National Selectors,
Security. It might be one word. But the most important for us, the Indian limited-overs openers (me, KL and Shikhar) at this point of time. The way domestic openers have put up a freak show in the Vijay Hazare trophy, talks are ripe that it's the perfect time to try out these youngsters and put the experienced, ageing players on the sidelines for the sake of experimentation. And it has left us all a little threatened. In fact, a lot. In fact, up to an extent that KL and Shikhar couldn't stop walking back and forth last night. And for me to suggest the idea to write this letter.
We need the same security that MS got during his back-to-back overseas Test series defeats. That Indian commentators get for not questioning us, no matter what. That Mr. Shastri got as a coach despite the fact that we almost lost all major SENA Test series under him and also the World Cup.The security that Kohli has got for his limited-overs captaincy despite losing two ICC events with arguably a champion team.
For all that we have done over the years, we deserve this bit, don't we? Also, these domestic openers have gone crazy. At least, me, KL and Dhawan, also play the accumulator role besides being aggressive but they simply blast the bowlers. It's disrespectful to the breed of bowlers. Ask the domestic bowlers if I am wrong?
Also, who knows it better than Indian selectors to mess up selections. I mean you guys are at times, pro at it. Be it the 2019 World Cup or the T20 sides of India over the years. Or else, was there any possibility of playing anchors Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey in top seven with the top three already being masters at the art of accumulation? It took you guys so many months and years to assemble this almost flawless squad that has been selected for the England series. So, bring back the mess of the earlier times, just for a couple of more years, and keep aside these openers from the squad, and we all will be fine and chilling.
Disclaimer: Please note that everything mentioned in this article is fictionalized, exaggerated, nothing more than a satire, and in no way should it be interpreted as an actual record of events.