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February 19, 2001

Justin LangerPostcards from Langer

Saturday February 17, 2001

Kaspa or Kimbo?

One of the shots of the day, played by unlikely batting hero Michael Kasprowicz, was a square drive through the covers played on one knee. From the sideline, it was a glorious stroke usually reserved for the more elegant player's like Junior Waugh, Damien Martyn or Greg Blewett. More entertaining than the shot itself, was the revelation on the bus trip back to the hotel. From all accounts 'Kaspa', immediately after playing his shot, stormed up the pitch to his batting partner, Jason Gillespie, and said "Diz, please tell me that looked like Kim Hughes."

The heroes of the day -- Kaspa and Dizzy If it didn't hurt the batters enough watching our tail-enders, Messers Gillespie and Kasprowicz, make the India A bowling attack look second rate, 'Kaspa's' cockiness certainly pushed us over the edge. After we had slumped to three early wickets, Matty Hayden and Ricky Ponting smashed the attack to all parts of the lovely, green Nagpur cricket ground. If not for the dismissal of 'Punter' an over before lunch, we might have been on top at the first break. After a lunch of curry, rice and naan bread, our middle order faltered, and at the half way mark of the day the 'good guys' were in trouble on the scoreboard. Enter our heavy metal loving, fast bowlers who took to the Indian attack hammering boundaries to, and over, the boundary rope with captivating regularity. Although 'Kaspa' fell only eight runs short of his maiden first class century he handed out a lesson in how to bat on these slow, turning Indian pitches. He was a picture of composure, turning his usual unorthodox style into a show of elegant stroke-play, while at the other end Dizzy resumed his frustrating (to the opposition) form with the bat.

" V V S Laxman won the toss but rather than deciding to bat or bowl he politely asked Steve Waugh what he would like to do first."

By stumps, India A had only lost the one wicket, and if I was being objective, I would have to say they had the best part of today's play. Things could have been so different before a ball was bowled this morning, had it not been for an unusual occurrence. At the toss of the coin, VVS Laxman won the toss but rather than deciding to bat or bowl he politely asked Steve Waugh what he would like to do first. Without hesitation, 'Tugga' said he would like to bat first and they shook hands and walked away.

When our skipper returned to tell the team of the outcome of the toss he started scratching his head in disbelief at what had just happened. He had never seen such a thing happen before and hoped it was legal that the opposition captain could pull such a move. Maybe it was out of respect for our captain, or even for the team, whatever way we Funky the hairdressershould have made a lot better use of this unusual toss. It is going to take some time to adapt to these foreign conditions, let's hope we can put today behind us and have a better day tomorrow.

After the Colin Miller hair exploits over the last summer, a couple of the team have decided to follow suit and go for the very short trim for this tour. While none of the guys has followed in the colouring department, it was decided to have a go at the short look. When we returned to the hotel, I decided to give it a go and follow in the army style haircut. Unfortunately the hairdresser at the hotel had never used the clippers before so he had to ring 'Funky' Miller to come down from his room and do it for him. Not only did I get a new look haircut from our veteran off-spinner but also wannabe hair stylist Colin Miller gave the hairdresser a free lesson. Maybe there is a life after cricket in the hair salon for our colourful teammate.

From Nagpur


You can also read:

Tuesday February 11, 2001: Leaving Home
Tuesday February 13, 2001: Pre-tour preparations
Sunday February 14, 2001: Getting the run-down

Photographs: Justin Langer

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