Bollocks. Injury to Zak. This is a game changer.

Initial dressing room chaos segues into feverish activity as emergency protocols kick in.

Priority No 1: Press Statement. Need to stress all Indian eggs not in Zaheer basket. But how to retrofit “We are more than Plan A” message into previous emphasis on his importance? How to recast Jason as one of the Argonauts? How to elevate Praveen from peon to protagonist?

Back office staff brainstorm. Dressing room transforms into mental squash court. Thought balls ricochet through air. A setback – we go a man down when physio decides he “really should be assessing the injury”. Damn you Zak, now we’ve lost one of our best blue sky thinkers; do you know how much trouble you’re causing?

Regroup. Need to think outside the box. The non-cricket, mental box. How can this be presented as a positive? We need inspiration. Could we crowd source suggestions? How many twitter followers does Sachin have? Do any of them have thoughts beyond kissing the hem of his Kurta?

Think quickly, damn it. Don’t want to miss tonight’s fish special in hotel restaurant.

Synapses crackle. Occipital lobes hum. Hungry tummies rumble.

Suddenly a voice from the back. A tentative hand in the air from the captain’s tour hairdresser.

“Can’t we say the injury’s being assessed overnight. That buys us time until tomorrow to think of something.”

Genius. Fifty years of PR crisis management encapsulated in one thought. Well done that man. You have defused Zak’s injury from a DEFCON4 now problem to a DEFCON1 later problem. It’s these PR sleights of hand that make Test cricket so exhilarating. Make you feel so alive.

In exuberant mood we head back to hotel. We will have our fish supper after all, and then think of something in the morning!


Ten minutes into London traffic VVS realised we’d left Zak and the physio behind.

[Mental Note: When high end visualising, don’t forget the details]

Lesson learnt.