Batsman returns full tosses gifted by Piyush Chawla in Ranji match to protest rising intolerance

The trend of prominent intellectuals returning awards as a mark of protest against rising intolerance in the country is now spreading to other walks of life as well.

After Nayantara Sehgal and Ashok Vajpayee, it is the turn of Indian cricketers to signal their protest in novel ways. Bengal skipper Manoj Tiwary showed the way by refusing to ‘accept’ loose deliveries bowled at him by leggie Piyush Chawla in an ongoing Ranji match between UP and Bengal. Rather than thwacking them out of the stadium, Tiwary conscientiously ‘returned’ Chawla’s ‘gifts’ by gently defending them. What ensued was one of the most bizarre passages of play in the annals of Ranji cricket as Chawla’s full tosses and long hops, which on a normal day would have raced out of the stadium like tracer bullets, instead gently rolled back to Chawla. On one occasion, Tiwari menacingly danced down the pitch to a flipper gone awry only to smother it down and hand it back to a stunned and probably insulted Chawla.

“I was also determined to return something awarded to me to signal my protest against rising intolerance and Modi’s Manmohanesque silence on the issue,” Tiwary later reflected. “However, no one’s awarded or gifted me anything. But I had to return something. Then it struck me that Indian bowlers award us with so many half volleys, rank long hops and juicy low full tosses day in and day out. Why not return them right back rather than accept them gleefully? I decided to start with Chawla. I have nothing against Piyush personally, but I had to make a point against what is happening in the name of Hindutva.” The Bengal skipper warned he’ll not hesitate to return gifts from the likes of Varun Aaron and Ashok Dinda too, if intolerance doesn’t subside in the near future.

Tiwary downplayed the hit his batting stats will take as a result of his principled approach. “Sure, I could have plundered a hundred odd runs and improved my stats but principles are far more important,” he said. “Anyway, who cares about these Ranji matches, yaar? As it is, only a stray dog was watching the match from the stands. Now instead, I will make the front page news, get discussed by Arnab, maybe even get back into the national team. Let’s see.”

Now if only the South Africans take a similar principled approach against Stuart Binny and co.

Please note this is a humour article — work of pure fiction

(Originally published in UnRealtimes, “Unreal Mama” is the pen name of CS Krishna & Karthik Laxman, founding editors of the site which is India’s favourite satire, spoof, parody and humour portal)