By Amrut Thobbi
Team India’s debacle in England has hurt the Indian fan big time. Not since India’s loss to Bangladesh in 2007 World Cup has the nation witness such sadness among Indian cricket fans. India’s World Cup a few months ago seems a distant memory.
In such calamitous situations, the nation looks up to one man for all the right answers - Arnab Goswami, the Oracle at Times Now.
Interestingly, Arnab was unaware of Team India’s poor performance until historian Boria Muzumdar came storming into Arnab’s cabin. Arnab weighed all matters of national importance and decided that the most important news for prime time would have to be Team India’s unending misery on English soil.
An account of Arnab Goswami’s epic two-hour brainstorming on Times Now:
Arnab Goswami: Good evening everyone. It’s been a horrible one month for our nation. The Indian team has lost three consecutive Test matches to England, and most importantly has lost its numero uno position. Team India has let an entire nation down.
To analyse what went wrong, we have a very special group of people here tonight.
On the show, we have from England the Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar - the man who was himself No1 batsman in the world. We are pleased to have the “King of Good Times” Vijay Mallya, Chairman of United Breweries (UB) Group and Kingfisher Airlines. He is also owner of the IPL team Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). Remember, IPL has been accused as one of the reasons for Indian team’s bad show.
Also, we have Secretary of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), N Srinivasan and senior leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad. Mr. Prasad belongs to a party which is No 1 in walk-outs for any issue from parliament.
Okay, let me start with you, Mr Srinivasan. Tell us, why we lost the way we did?
Srinivasan: While I do accept we have lost the series, I don’t see any reason to panic, Arnab. This is Indian team’s first Test series loss in last two years. Besides we are now No 2 or No 3 in the world… I am not sure of the exact number. Anyways, No 2 or No 3 position isn’t bad. Is it?
Arnab: Let me get in Ravi Shankar Prasad to respond to this. Mr. Prasad, do you agree with Mr. Srinivasan. There is no need to be hysterical, he feels.
Ravi Shankar: Look Arnab, I think the water level has risen above the head. This is an irresponsible reaction from my good friend N Srinivasan. I think he doesn’t understand the public sentiment right now. You cannot just shrug off the question by saying its okay. The BJP demands an immediate resignation from Mr. Srinivasan for this.
Arnab: Just for his response?
Ravi Shankar: That’s enough for BJP. We asked the Prime Minister of India to resign because it was raining when he was addressing the nation on the Independence Day.
N Srinivasan: What nonsense! Why should I resign? It wasn’t me who went out to play.
Ravi Shankar: This is the limit. You are more shameless than the present UPA government.
Arnab: Okay. I can’t allow this to be a political issue. This is much bigger than politics. Let me bring in the “King of Good Times”, Mr. Vijay Mallya. Yes Mr. Mallya, why do you think we lost?
Vijay Mallya: Arnab, I think the conditions in England just did not suit our players which I think was one of the reasons for the heavy defeat.
Arnab: You mean the pitch or the climate?
Vijay Mallya: No, my friend. I mean the social conditions there. If you have to win Test matches at international level, you should have bowlers who take 20 pegs in a Test match. Apparently the Indian team wasn’t allowed by the BCCI to do that. Moreover they didn’t allow me to supply cheer girls for the match. At least they could have allowed cheer girls for the historical 2000th Test match at the Lord’s.
Arnab: Let me get a response to that from Sachin Tendulkar. Sachin, is it right, one needs to have 20 pegs to win a Test match?
Sachin: Well, Arnab, we actually did have some liquor during the tour.
Sachin: After the heavy loss at Lord’s, we had some Royal Stag.
Vijay Mallya: I guess that explains why you did not make it large! You should have had McDowell. Losers!
Arnab: Sachin, your batting also seems to have been at its lowest. Has the weight of expectations bogged you down?
Sachin: I must be honest enough to confess that taking a break before the series was a mistake.
Arnab: So, you agree that taking a break and going to Wimbledon instead of going to West Indies was an error of judgment! Wow! Sachin confesses! That’s Breaking News on Times Now.
Sachin: No! The mistake was not attending Wimbledon. Mistake was meeting Roger Federer. I should have never taken tips from him.
Arnab: You took tips from Federer?
Sachin: Yes. I thought he swings the racket well, and his insight on swinging in general might help me to face swing bowling against English bowlers. But he actually he ended giving me tips on property investment in England! This diverted my attention from cricket, and I ended buying three houses in South London.
Vijay Mallya: Sachin, can you guide me on property investments in London. I guess my son Sid would be interested.
Sachin: Forget it; even you cannot afford it!
Arnab: Coming back to cricket. Ravi Shankar Prasad, do you think today’s players are easily distracted?
Ravi Shankar: Most certainly. And I blame two people for this: the UPA government and the foreign hand. Due to inability of the UPA government to control the ever-zooming inflation, players are bound to be busy searching homes outside India when they should have been busy practicing.
Moreover, I seriously doubt the role of foreign coach Duncan Fletcher. He had taken an oath 10 years ago to make England No.1 team in the world. I guess he has succeeded. As if the Italians were not enough to derail India’s growth, we now have the English as well to derail is in the only sport we are good at.
N Srinivasan: Thank you, Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad. We shall use this in our self-defence from now on. Arnab, I declare on your channel – BCCI’s stance on India’s loss is thus vindicated.
Arnab: But Mr. Srinivasan, you have to explain to us the selection of Duncan Fletcher. Did you not have any inkling before Fletcher’s appointment that he was a plant by the English cricket board ahead of the battle for the No 1 team in the world?
N Srinivasan: Arnab, the BCCI is very shrewd. We paid him $1 million extra, and told him not to help England. And he obliged.
Vijay Mallya: Arnab, how about buying some of the England players, like we bought them in the IPL? There is nothing unethical in that. Look at England. Three-fourth of their team anyways comprises players of foreign origin!
Arnab: Mr. Srinivasan that seems a good idea. What do you think about this?
N Srinivasan: Hmm, I am fine with it. We shall discuss this prospect in our next working committee meeting.
Arnab: Sachin, are you OK with this paradigm of buying international players?
Sachin: Well. In that case, I think we should first buy James Anderson. Aai shapath, seven times he got me!
Arnab: Ravi Shankar Prasad, do you agree with buying players?
Ravi Shankar: Arnab, I am fine with it. As long as, this process adheres to the Indian constitution, there’s no problem.
Arnab: OK. It seems we have found a unique solution to the problem Indian team is facing. We shall buy foreign players to improve the performance of Indian team. You can send you suggestion on our website www.timesnow.com. We will air your choices tomorrow night.
Yet again, we have found a solution to what could have very well become a national tragedy. We will return tomorrow night with another problem our nation is facing. In fact Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh has written to me today requesting to find a solution to the ongoing Lokpal bill issue. He wants me to find a solution to either the Lokpal issue or to Anna Hazare. We shall see that tomorrow. Till then, thank you for watching. Good night.
(Amrut Thobbi, an engineering graduate now pursuing Masters in journalism, is an ardent cricket fan. His passion for writing inspired him to give up a sales and marketing job, which he does not regret. By writing on cricket, he wants to relive his dream of becoming a cricketer. He has also worked as a freelance writer in education and technology sectors)