By Amrut Thobbi
The hyperactive selection committee chaired by Krishnamachari Srikkanth took a sensational decision on Tuesday. Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) vice-president Rajiv Shukla told the media on Monday that S Badrinath is not in a position to fly out to England as replacement for the injured Sachin Tendulkar. And then the bombshell – literally and figuratively! Jaws dropped as he told the huge gathering of mediapersons that Poonam Pandey will be flying out as reinforcement!
Shukla explained,”Badrinath had some issues getting his visa and the selectors were left with very little options as most deserving and available cricketers have already been sent as replacements to England. The only worthy person who came across our mind in the present scenario is Ms. Pandey as she seems to be more passionate about Indian cricket than any other Indian cricketer.”
Shukla also explained the reasons behind her selection, “The entire country will recall how much Poonam wanted to help Team India during the World Cup. We didn’t need her then because the boys were performing. The selectors felt her passion and presence in the dressing room will help the team to rise to the occasion (no pun intended!).”
Sources close to Team India say that the players have not been as excited as they are now on hearing that Ms Poonam will be joining them in the dressing room. Apparently, even Yuvraj has submitted his fitness certificate to the BCCI and has made himself available when the next person reports unfit. But while an injury could be a possibility, it’s unlikely anybody is going to reveal it!
One media person fired the expected question that everyone in the gathering wanted to ask: “Mr Shukla, can you tell us if Ms Poonam will be stripping nude in the dressing room to motivate our team?”
Shukla, deadpan as ever, replied: “It’s common knowledge that players roam around in various state of nudity in the dressing room anywhere in the world. That’s a private area… err, I mean the dressing room….What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!”
Another reporter tried to pin down Shukla by asking him what experience Ms Poonam has as a cricketer.
Shukla grinned, knowing fully well that the question would be asked,”What experience I had as a cricketer to become BCCI vice-president? Jokes apart, her motivational act is one of the most awaited event in Indian cricket, ahead of even Sachin Tendulkar’s 100th international hundred. Let me reveal something…when the Indian team was doing badly in the initial stages of the World Cup, it was Ms Poonam’s motivation that powered India to the World Cup win. Public memory maybe short, but the BCCI’s memory is not.”
The media wanted to know about the role Ms Poonam would be playing. “Well, she can bat well, bowl a bit, and is a brilliant strip…err… I meant a brilliant slip. She will also be multi-tasking as the team’s masseuse.”
Shukla said once Poonam joins the team, the boys will start performing well.
“Poonam has an extremely fit body as all of you would unquestionably have noted. She will raise the fitness standards of the Indian team. The benefits will be seen in our fielding and no one will call us donkey again!” opined Shukla.
Before the day ended, news from the grapevine has it that Veena Malik will motivate Team Pakistan the way Ms Poonam motivates Team India!
(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)