Please note: This is a humorous piece – pure fiction.
A 16-foot statue of the infamous head butt of Matezzari by the French footballer Zinedine Zidane was unveiled at Pompidou Centre in Paris last month.
Taking a cue from the French, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have decided to immortalise the most dramatic moment in 2008 Indian Premier League (IPL) - Harbhajan Singh slapping Sreesanth - in bronze statue and have it placed outside the Mohali Cricket Stadium.
Explaining the rationale behind having the bronze statue of Harbhajan and Sreesanth, BCCI heavyweight Rajiv Shulka said: “For years India has been known to be a soft nation who could be easily bullied by the whites. But Sourav Ganguly changed that image a complete overhaul during his brilliant tenure as captain. Ask Steve Waugh, if you don’t believe me. And today, our boys are a feared lot, in more ways than one. You just can’t mess with them. The statue of Harbhajan, who was groomed during Ganguly’s tenure, is a tribute to a new generation of Indian cricketers.”
Shukla added: “It’s in the fitness of things we could get a moment from IPL, which exemplifies the new Team India. Harbhajan has been outstanding; he not only slapped Sreesanth, but almost slapped the umpire as well. That takes guts, you will agree. Then Shahrukh showed what showbiz is all about by giving spectators much thrills by getting into expletives-filled verbal duel. The raunchy post-match parties, players getting into trouble with women, cheerleaders making sensational allegation… Yes, we are irreverent and defiant. And we are not apologetic. We appeal to the new generation! Like it or lump it! It has taken years to refurbish our image. Even Ian Chappell conceded to me the other day, ‘I was accused of giving the Ugly Australian image to my team. I tell you, we seem pious, church-going mama’s boys in comparison. You guys take the cake and the bakery, mate.’ “
Shukla was a journalist himself and know what a scoop means to a scribe. Before he signed off, he did me a favour: “Let me give you a scoop! I have spoken on behalf of the BCCI to Ekta Kapoor. We are soon coming up with a movie on the new Indians, the script for which will be written by Anupam Mukerji, the Fake IPL Player.”
Speaking on the occasion, presenter Ravi Shastri said: “Ladies and gentleman, the BCCI and Srinivasan have proved that Singh is King with this bronze statue. It’s a Citi Moment of Success. When Satish Gujral’s name was proposed to the BCCI committee to pick the artist. Mr Gujral’s approval went like a tracer bullet.”
At this point a BCCI official whispered something in Shastri’s ears and he folded his three pages in his hands and thrust it in his pocket. It transpired later that Shastri was reeling off all the clichés by sheer force of habit when the BCCI official told him that the sponsors had not paid for all this and there was no need to give them free publicity. The clichés went back in the pocket and Shastri, in his inimitable manner, proclaimed, “That, ladies and gentleman, brings us to the end of the presentation.”