PM Modi flies into cricket match to discuss strategy for winning at home with R Ashwin
AB de Villiers makes it to the list twice for two blazing-quick, record-breaking knocks

It started off simple enough. For the first time ever, the PM wished a happy birthday via Twitter to R. Ashwin. The cricketer who was playing a match in Chennai thanked the PM and casually added that he wished Modi was there in person supporting the team. After that he stepped onto the field.

By drinks interval, the PMO has connected back to the dressing room and conveyed that yes, the PM will be indeed be joining Ashwin for tea! This was a big surprise as when he had greeted Ashwin, Modi was in Indonesia. However, in a series of hopping flights starting with morning tea in Indonesia, breakfast in Thailand, green tea in Malaysia and lunch in Singapore, the PM was flying over Chennai on his way back and was well placed to land right on the pitch at the MA Chidambaram for tea and tiffin.

Analysts said that this surprise cricket diplomacy made perfect sense. Modi has kept India’s profile high. At the same time, the domestic agenda has been stalled due to a recalcitrant opposition. Even mediocre ex-cricketers are giving the government grief. To rub it in, the Margdarshak Mandal seems to have become a B team of Times Now, asking whenever there is a crisis “Margdarshak Mandal want to know”.

Given all this, PMO looked at domestic success and identified the standout hometown hero, R Ashwin. While NDA is hobbled by players of the caliber of Kirti Azad (poor man’s Yusuf Pathan?), even players like Amla and De Villiers have come a cropper against Ashwin in India. He is so successful at home that any dialogue about his performance is usually encapsulated in these sentences: “Look at Ashwin! He has taken another 10 wicket haul at home. He is breaking records set 100 years back. Man of the match, man of the series, half centuries with the bat too! Anything the man can’t do?” To which, pat comes the rejoinder: “Yeah, but he has not taken a 5 for in Australia, SA, England. Let him do it first.”

Now, Ashwin is a man of high aspirations and he wants these annoying rejoinders to be a thing of the past. That’s where PM Modi comes in. PM Modi is now seen to be a good traveler, one with an excellent overseas record. Modi, on the other hand, wants to identify the root causes of Ashwin’s prolific success at home.

Ashwin tweeted that he is eager to have tea with the PM and learn about the technique and temperament needed to succeed abroad. Having NRI fans sing and make noise in stadiums is anyway guaranteed. But how to convert that into match-winning spells that improve his standing at home?  It is felt that the PM is doing a great job of assessing the pitch, setting the field and where required delivering carrom balls and googlies to have impact abroad. Ravindra Jadeja is also expected to join in the discussions. Ravi Shastri is also planning to request the PM to give a pep talk to Rohit Sharma.

After having tea at 3, the PM is expected to fly across to Colombo for evening snacks and Maldives for dinner before flying back to Delhi. Next morning he will start campaigning for upcoming state elections, wherever they are.

The PM’s cricket diplomacy elicited barbs from his detractors with Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal tweeting: “Why is Modi doing this in Chennai and not Delhi? Is he scared of DDCA investigations?”

Not one to be upstaged, Kejriwal announced that he will have tea with Bishen Singh Bedi and Kirti Azad at the Firoz Shah Kotla. Further, a T20 match is being hurriedly organized between an odd number car owning XI and an even number car owning XI to mark the occasion.

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

(Ramesh Soundararajan is a Bangalore based corporate executive, who is passionate about all things passive: Watching sports, reading books and attending meetings; Need to figure out, why the first two do not earn as much money as the third. The above article was Originally published in UnRealtimes)