Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The bacterial warfare

Unable to fathom how a bunch of second-rate English cricketers could crush the Indian team and inflict such a humiliating defeat at home, I caught up with former Indian test cricketer, Vijay Ghanekar (name changed to protect identity) to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Out of the 46 test matches that Vijay figured in, between 1974 and 1986, India won 28 – all of them on home soil. So Vijay has impressive credentials to speak on this subject and do an incisive analysis. What did they do right then? What are we missing now?

“Quite simply, all we did was to make sure that the visiting Englishmen drank plenty of water”. said Vijay sipping his beer that I was paying for.

“What do you mean, drink plenty of water?” I asked, scratching my head .

“Yes, as soon as any English team arrived at the Bombay airport and got past the Customs, we would line up to give them a traditional welcome and offer them a glass of water each, drawn from a well close by. Before they reached their hotels, the bacteria in the water would have the desired effect on their sensitive stomachs and they would head straight for the bathrooms. The “Delhi-belly’ would ensure that they were kept in safe custody in these bathrooms for the remainder of their tour, rather than at the nets. When they came on to bat occasionally, they would be in no condition to face our bowlers- even one as pot-bellied as Prasanna or as big-bottomed as Bedi. Some Englishmen wanted to shed their white flannels for brown pants”

Vijay recalled an incident. One of the English cricketers, Phil Edmunds, returning home after a two-month tour of India, uttered these memorable words “ You know what I am looking forward to, back in England? A dry fart”.

“I can’t forget”, Vijay continued, “ the sight of Richard Hadlee, the New Zealand fast bowler, in a Test match in 1976, starting his run-up and collapsing on the ground just before he reached the bowling crease. He had to be removed on a stretcher. The Indian batsmen in the middle exchanged high-fives, pleased that the team’s bacterial move was working. India went on to win the test match by a huge margin”

“So, what ended this winning streak?” I asked innocently

“ The advent of mineral water in the ‘90s triggered a sharp decline in our fortunes. Now, every visiting cricketer is offered bottled, ozonised, ultra-pure, mineral water and the famous Indian bacteria is simply not allowed to work its patriotic magic and do its bit for the country. What a shame”, he lamented.

“ In cricket, as in war, love and business one has to identify one’s competitive advantage get one’s strategy right, and deploy the right resources as early in the process as appropriate. Our strategy then was to dehydrate the Englishmen, using water-borne bacteria as soon as they set foot on Indian soil. Our real heroes were Vibrio cholerae, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, and the diarrheogenic Escherichia coli. Ah, they don't make 'em like that any more....

3 comments:

chitra said...

Tee hee everything is fair in love and war, eh??

tt_giant said...

dry fart.. LOL! nice post man.

keep 'em coming!

Rubic_Cube said...

LOL! Dry fart!? That's the best one I've heard in a long time...