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Nagpur, India – During a tense press conference following India’s first home test series defeat in eight years, opening batsman, Gautam Gambhir, admitted that his team were struggling to cope without VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid’s experience of deflecting criticism.

Laxman and Dravid had been a fixture at press conferences following Indian test match defeat for the past fifteen years, but with the pair now retired from international excuse making it’s been left to a new generation of Indian cricketers to explain away their side’s increasingly inept test performances.

“Obviously we miss players of that quality,” explained Gambhir, “they had the ability to dead bat even the most penetrating question with a disarming smile or deft reference to our overall home record. But we’re a team in transition now, so whilst we have younger players in the side, like Pujara and Jadeja, who have huge potential to find excuses for poor test performance, we can’t yet expect them to show the same consistency under pressurised press conference conditions.”

Noticeable by his absence from today’s appearance before the Indian press corps was national icon, Sachin Tendulkar, veteran of over fifty test defeats. It’s understood that Tendulkar, renowned throughout his career for the nibble mental footwork needed to play the ‘wait till we get them at home’ defence, is being rested after his excuse for India’s defeat in the recent Mumbai test, “England kept hitting the ball too hard”, was widely interpreted as a sign that his powers were on the wane.

Meanwhile, in related news, a candlelight vigil is being held for Nagpur groundsman, Praveen Hingnikar, after rumours spread that the pitch used during the fourth Test would be reincarnated as a man-eating tiger hell bent on exacting revenge for the slow, painful death endured during its previous existence.

However, a spokesman for the Sri Balaji and Sri Karitikeya Temple in Nagpur was quick to pour cold water on the rumour.

“This is a total misinterpretation of the Hindu concept of reincarnation, which can only happen to a living being. And having watched all five days of the recent test I can assure you there were no signs of life in that pitch at any time.”