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Friday, May 20, 2005


The four musketeers-of scraggly, swarthy, restive and foppish appearance respectively, made their way into the selectors’ chambers yesterday. ( It would be difficult to speculate with great certainty as to the array of reading material in the waiting room, so we’ll refrain for the nonce ).

Six wise men sat straddling the spectra-wide office table, bedecked with glass tops and impressive pen-stands, twiddling their thumbs, looking forward to the Day of Reckoning. Two of these men had already been extolled rooftops, the most dour, colourless and unimaginative players ever, one an ex-captain of dubious cricketing merit, two who had surely pledge their souls to whoever paid them more, and the last unlauded and unassuming.

The gent with the fashionable stubble walked in first, and knocked smartly on the door, was welcomed in, picked a chair, crossed his legs and waited for the 6 w m to begin.

RJS: So, how are you, Greg ?
GC: Foine, maitey. Just got back from the Bondi Beach—a swell plaise –you know, the sun, the beach,the moon, the girls….
RJS: ( to himself ) Yes, yes, those were the days,,,
RJS : Ahem, so you did deign to apply for the job—any reasons ?
GC: Yes, I just thought I’m the best brain around, and this is a graite chance to prove myself—after all, if I can maike your team win, then I’m the best, isn’t it ?
SMG: So what are your plans, Greggie ?
GC: Noithing much, just make sure they watch lotsa Rocky and Rambo videos, ya know, where the heroes come back from the dead…
RSM: Do you have anything to offer me ? Nudge nudge , wink, wink
GC: Na, maitey, except my geen-euhs. Gee maite, I though in this innerview
SKN: ( brightening visibly) –Inner view--, you mean, like Pranayama. In my country, God’s own, Pranayama is …
GC: Lord, what is the man about ?
SMG ( taking charge ) –Anything else of note, Greg ?
GC—Naah, that’s about all. Cheers, mate. So long !
( exits)

(Panel evaluation) That’s about a 6.67 on 10.

The next gent lumbers up, walks into the door, and is ushered in, accepts a seat and waits with a sheepish smile
SV: How are you, Jimmy ?
MA: Fine, saar—whole night , you know , I was preparing—this is very proud moment for all Indian, no.
SV: So, your credentials and your plans ?
MA: In 1969, when I started off aa a fast bowler—may I switch to Hindi, jee ?
RJS ( dreamily ) The number 69 is a very interesting one, it reminds me of…
SV( shocked): Fast bowler, you ? Are you remembering correctly ?I mean, I though you bowled offspin, like me
MA: Yes, jee—when I was—may I switch to Punjabi, jee ?
SMG: Never mind, what can you bring to the table >
MA __Err, fruits, and also some very sabziyaan that grow only in Punjab…
RJS : This is getting nowhere, anyway, thanks , Jimmy. Bye
MA: To meraa job pukka, thanks, jee
( Goes out beaming and immediately addresses mediamen )

Enter a dark voluminous gent in a cavernous hat, who strides in a ponderous manner, and takes a heavy seat. Waits impassively
SKN: So, tell us—what can you do for the Indian team ?
DH: Maa-jik, I caan do maa-jik, When I was with the TransZulu team in South Africa
RJS : But this is India, Des-another continent, another country..
DH: Yeah, but I have handled teams before and I am so eager for the job that I did not even strap myself on the flight here—in fact, I did not even check into the hotel
SV: How will you handle our bowlers ?
DH: I’ll make ‘em drink the blood of snails, eat the hide of hippos…
SMG:OK, OK, it’s clear what you can do, Thanks
( DH moves out purposefully)

The final man to enter is a gaunt and sneering giant. Who has to bend to get past the doorway. Seats himself, waits
RSM: So, how are you today ? Moody ?
TM: Nah, I am quite cheery today—I was speaking to my Worcestershire boys
SKN: OOK, I love Worcester sauce—like homemade chutney--.
TM: That’s right-I can mould your cricketers like clay—I am a potter
SV: And you’re hairy. How can you contribute ?
TM: I know bowling, I gnaw batting , I can do betting also ( even though I thought it best not to reveal my talents when I played) I won two World Cups ( thanks to SRW )
I can, I will—Jai Hind
SMG: Thanks , Tom. Will let you know
(TM leaves)

After long-winded confabulations..
RJS: Ranbir Saaheb, aap bataiye—aakhir, paisa to aapka hai
RSM: I think Moody is the man—he is tall—good personality, you know
SV: That’s so important these days
SMG: I agree
SKN: Just what I was thinking too.
RSM: To kya baat hai, phit taye hua—ki Moody is the man—after all, he has even a rating agency named after him. He knows Oz-traalina, and English , is not too bright, hardly anybody knows him—I am sure he will do what we want
( All) Hear, hear—you are always right, Ranbir saaheb.
( They venture out where hordes of thoughtless men from Wisden, TOI, and other rags lie in wait )

Another five year plan unfolds….


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