By Madan Mohan
As “Captain Cool” Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s brand value went cold in the last fortnight, a frantic source got in touch with me. The source claimed to have been sworn to secrecy, but was no longer able to bear how woefully misunderstood Dhoni was. The source wished that the true story of the events of these last few days must be told to put Dhoni’s yeoman contribution to the nation into perspective. So here I am to unload this heavy burden on you, the reader.
You see, the epic Anna saga would have had a differently twist but for a cricketing intervention! Let me tell you all about the game-changing phone call from London to Tihar.
The source has it that Dhoni knew well in advance that he would lose at The Oval and that Sachin Tendulkar would not make his 100th century. Hotline to Majeed? No, our captain’s powers of intuition are, it is believed, far stronger than that. He knew that post defeat, he would be battered by the media and fans. He feared that Indians living in Britain would riot against the Indian team’s very presence in the country.
He had a brainwave, as he always does. He put a call through to Anna Hazare’s mobile number. The provider, Vodafone, must be thanked here for its unbeatable network coverage.
The exact contents of the call are unclear, but it is understood that Dhoni knew Annaji was imprisoned in Tihar Jail and was refusing to walk out. Dhoni implored Annaji to concede some ground to the Government so that the fast could commence.
Annaji asked what he would get out of it when he wanted to fast for a month and not 15 days.
Dhoni said he would get crowds.
Annaji was unable to follow Dhoni’s logic. The Indian captain explained that fans would be so disgusted of India’s performance that they would switch off the TV sets and stop watching. At the same time, they had already mentally prepared themselves to be jobless for the next few days so they would not know what to do sitting idle at home.
At this juncture, if a fast was organized at Ramlila Maidan, it would attract unprecedented crowds. People who were fed up of watching Team India would now flock to watch Team Anna beat Team Manmohan Singh. Under public pressure, the Government would cave in and concede his demands, which is what Annaji had been fighting for after all.
Annaji was not very convinced about this but he nevertheless bounced off the proposal to Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal. They were delighted at the solution and launched into impromptu celebrations. Kejriwal apparently snatched the handset from a bewildered Annaji and told Dhoni they were privileged to get such a fabulous insight into his tactical wizardry. They realized it was a win-win situation for both teams (even though only one would win its match) and readily played along.
As Dhoni has so astutely anticipated, monstrous human processions threw New Delhi out of gear and the nation threw its weight behind Team Anna as it knocked out Team Manmohan Singh. And in the meantime, Team Strauss had not only knocked over Team India but also awakened it back to consciousness with the scent of a skunk. But it barely registered on the public consciousness as everybody was busy watching the other, more thrilling match. Yes, even Team Manmohan Singh had managed to fight harder than Team India, so nobody really cared.
Dhoni was relieved that he could now resume his holiday in Britain in peace. He would have to put his thinking cap on again when he eventually lands in India, but he would surely find a solution to that as well….as always.
Dhoni has been instrumental in fast-tracking the conclusion of a momentous non-violent revolt by the people against the Government. He extended his wholehearted co-operation to Team Anna by ensuring Team India collapsed in a heap. Surely, the cause of the nation was more important than the cause of Test cricket. And who better to demonstrate this than the captain of the former No.1 Test team in the world!
The Indian captain and team’s effort in helping Anna Hazare and the country should be put into perspective and not pound them with undue criticism.
I believe Dhoni’s efforts in helping Anna Hazare and the civil society cause by decorating him with Bharat Ratna. I trust you shall gladly second the motion.
(Madan Mohan, a 25-year old CA from Mumbai, is passionate about writing, music and cricket. Writing on cricket is like the icing on the cake)