First of all, Happy Birthday! I am sorry mate, I really am. I didn’t intend to do whatever I did.
You know it, I know.
You turn twenty-six today but I was marked as 48.3 on the 25th of November — a date that doomed both of us.
But it started as a good day, didn’t it?
When Dougy and Mitch chose me out of that box, I was elated. In fact, I may have given a snooty glance to the rest of my mates in that box, who thought they were in better shape and had an extra sheen on them – Huh! In your face losers. I am the one.
But now, I wish I wasn’t THE one.
I wish, Dougy had chosen the one next to me, the one he examined for good two minutes before picking me up. He picked it up, held its seam, threw it up a couple of times, felt its shape. I looked at it jealously because I was no less — perfect shape, proud seam, smooth lacquered surface.
Then he picked me up. I was excited. He held my seam and flicked me up in the air. I flew up and then landed on his palm proudly on my seam. That was it, it was my day in the sun while the rest went back into that stuffy box.
The day was perfect. The wicket had a bit in it and Starc used me beautifully. He took care of me, pitched me up, landed me on my seam while I did my bit in the air.
I was troubling you, wasn’t I?
I zipped past a couple of times and missed kissing your edge. Then you started watching me closer. You got your feet moving and I started clashing against the middle of your bat. It made a crisp sound. I love it when a batsman does that. I hate flying off the edges — it hurts and leaves a scar. As I started to wear out, your dominance grew. You went past your fifty. The strikes became firmer and I ran faster towards the ropes. Nine times, I remember.
You were all set for a big one. I felt it. I bet, you felt it too.
Then it happened.
Sean put in a bit more effort. I sprang off-the-track. You wanted to pull me. I glanced at the mid wicket boundary. I knew where I was headed.
You missed me.
I jumped a little more than I expected. You turned too fast and I crashed into you. I evaded your helmet and banged into the soft part between your head and the neck.
As I rolled towards the second slip, I saw your feet wobble.
Phil’s a tough guy – I thought.
To my utter amazement, you collapsed, head on. Although, I was 48-overs old, it was a bad hit and I knew it must have hurt but things came crashing down in the next five minutes. The doctors were in, the fielders panicked, the umpires waved their hands calling for help and I lay astonished near the second slip wondering – how badly did I hurt you?
The game was over. They took you away.
They forgot about me until a groundsman picked me up and handed me over to one of the umpires. I was worried about you. I wanted to know if you were doing well. I had no way to find out. They scratched the over number on my skin and locked me away in the box.
The next two days were painful. My colleagues in the box glanced at me scarily. I didn’t want to hurt Phil – I said to them. They gave me dirty looks. I waited for the news of your recovery. I sat in the cupboard inside that box with bated breath hoping to hear that you’re alright.
No one came. I kept waiting. My scuffed body needed rest but my mind was on you. Finally, they opened the cupboard after three days. I looked around for the good news. No body said anything. Instead, they took the bats out and put them up against the wall.
You remained unbeaten on 63 but I finished my journey at 48.3.
They will never use me again, I know. I am the one who killed Phil — that’s what I will be until someone decides to throw me away. I have been boxed for life. Heck, I don’t want to go out again.
I just hope that Sean does.
A scuffed Kookaburra.