In a stunning repudiation of the popular perception that he is merely a former Test cricketer turned utterly superficial and platitudinous commentator, Ravi Shastri has been nominated for this year’s Nobel Prize, for his yeoman service to science by profoundly influencing rarefied and esoteric disciplines such as linguistics, artificial intelligence, computer programming, philosophy, robotics (and many more that haven’t even been named yet), through his expositions on the gentleman’s game in his capacity as a professional commentator.
“We just had to give this dude a Nobel. I know, strictly speaking, he doesn’t qualify for the Nobel Peace prize, but then what do you do if the guy is a polymath whose legacy straddles a multitude of scientific and non scientific disciplines. Rules have to be bent to accommodate people of such exceptional and varied abilities,” explained a member of the selection panel.
Unlike ignorant and philistine cricket fans, men of science are of the view that Shastri is vastly over-rated as a cricketer and grossly under-rated as a commentator. For instance, Shastri’s ingenious use of a set of no more than 40 cliches (or Shastrisms, in the technical jargon) to describe various passages of play in cricket, has led to breakthroughs in linguistics and artificial intelligence.
“Shastri has shown us that the most complex syntactic constructions can be reduced to a linear combination of Shastrisms to communicate the most banal to the most complicated of ideas,” said Naom Chomsky, the highly-acclaimed Professor of Linguistics at MIT, who realised Shastri’s greatness after accidentally stumbling upon some IPL footage during the course of his research. “Do you guys realise what a genius he is when he says ‘that went like a tracer bullet’? F**k man, he’s the greatest linguist that India has produced after Panini,” proclaimed Dr. Chomksy.
Shastri’s commentary style has also spurred efforts by Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Artificial Intelligence Lab to create a new programming language – CShastri – that promises to vastly improve computing performance and more importantly, make coding far more pleasurable.
“Shastri’s commentary has parallels with modern programming languages, given its precision, conciseness, and consistency to get the message across with minimum ambiguity. So wouldn’t it be awesome to replace a dull sounding ‘printf’ command with ‘flash and flash hard’? Or a ‘Do..while’ loop with a ‘Do…just as the doctor ordered’?” says MIT’s Raj Reddy, who’s leading the effort to position CShastri as the programming language of choice for software developers.
Shastri has unwittingly left his mark in the esoteric field of philosophy as well: Inspired by the dashing cricketer’s verbal interjections, new-age spiritual guru Maharishi Suresh Yogi has authored the ‘Cliché Shastra’, a compilation of Shastri clichés to serve as a beacon to help people find inner peace.
“Shastri’s clichés, though used by the master to elucidate events on the cricket field, apply to every aspect of life, and can be interpreted in myriad ways with profound metaphysical connotations,” explained the Maharishi.
The man at the center of all this intellectual ferment remains seemingly unfazed by the adulation. When The Unreal Times asked how it felt be a source of inspiration for leading scientists, seers, and scholars across the world and to be nominated for the world’s most prestigious award, Shastri stared back-blank faced, momentarily at a loss for words. He recovered quickly to say, “Er.. I’m contracted to only talk about the IPL,” before scampering off to explain to Shibani Dandekar, for the umpteenth time, why IPL5 is absolutely fantastic and better than all the previous editions.
(Reproduced with permission from http://www.theunrealtimes.com/. The UnReal Times is one of the top websites for satire, spoof, parody and humour in India.)