Illustration by Prakash Dhole

 

By Vincent Sunder

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

With some boring games in the ICC World Cup till date where the lathi-charge outside Chinnaswamy Stadium made more gripping news than the games themselves, I decided it was time to talk to some of the key promoters of the ‘game’. And what better way than to start with RCB owner Shri Mallya himself!

 

I had to excuse myself for meeting Mallya a good 30 minutes late, but he had waited patiently at my office and looked very cheerful and bright. I tendered my apologies, which he waved off and sat eagerly.

 

“So, Mr. Mallya, what are your reactions to the ICC World Cup games so far?”

 

Mallya cleared his throat, and in his baritone voice boomed: “We are extremely happy with the performances of our players so far in the IPL warm-up games!”

 

Shocked, I mumbled back, “IPL warm-up games?”

 

Mallya went on, “Virat (Kohli) has done extremely well. His innings was actually far better than (Virender) Sehwag. Just check his run-rate. (AB) de Villiers was awesome and showed why he was preferred over (Jacques) Kallis. Did you see how Kallis failed in the Windies game? (Tillakaratne) Dilshan also looked good!! Am very happy with the warm up games”

 

Recovering, I again mumbled, “But aren’t these guys playing for their countries in the ICC World Cup?”

 

Mallya smiled, “Well the ICC can call it whatever, I just wish they hold this event before every IPL tournament in future”

 

I fainted! By the time I recovered, Mallya was gone. I gathered myself to call Shah Rukh Khan, and got him on the first ring.

 

“Mr. Khan! … I wanted to know your reactions to the World Cup games, please? Do you find them interesting? Is there intensity in the games?”

 

“Hehehehe! Oh, boy! I am so happy! Dekha? Our response to Dus Ka Dum!”

 

“Dus Ka Dum?”

 

“ten, yanni dus!!! (Ryan Neil) ten Doeschate rocked man! That is my response to Sallu, you know! We have picked a big winner for KKR this time”

 

Wondering which side of the bed I had woken up from, I prodded further now avoiding the World Cup games. “How is the backlash over dropping Sourav Ganguly? Have things cooled off?”

 

“Kolkata will now see the merit of my actions! See, he is doing a fine job as an expert on the discussion panel. Look, now Ganguly fans can see more of him on TV than if he were to be batting in the IPL games! I always had the interests of my younger brother at heart.”

 

I decided not to pursue any feedback on the World Cup games, but in the evening ran into Preity Zinta and Ness Wadia on one side and Shilpa Shetty at the other end.

 

An old dog cannot be taught new tricks, and I inevitably popped the question to Priety.  “How are you finding the World Cup games, Preity?”

 

Breaking into her dimpled smile, Preity clasped her hands, jumped in the air and gushed: “I am so happy with the form of Mahela (Jayawardene) and (Kumar) Sangakarra! I hope they carry it into the IPL games for Kings XI Punjab!”

 

Ness Wadia, with a mixture of surprise and disgust on his face, barked, “We didn’t sign them up this season!”

 

I moved away quickly, only to be accosted by Shilpa Shetty, who flashed her usual plastic smile. Giggling away, eye balls popping out she gushed, “Whatever did you ask Preity? That was so nice!”

 

“Oh, I asked her about the World Cup games, and …….”

 

“Ohhh, World Cup! Even I love FIFA World Cup!”

 

Realizing reality, I asked, “How are the IPL preparations?”

 

“Ohhh, I am so looking forward to having Liz Hurley in the dug-out with (Shane) Warnie, and having some saree-wearing competitions with her!”

 

As I ran out horrified, I couldn’t miss Mahendra Singh Dhoni trying to hide himself in a corner. A slave of habit, I approached him, but a terrified Dhoni put both his hands up. “Sorry! Sorry! I don’t have any passes for the India-England game!”

 

“Mahi! No, I don’t want tickets, I just wanted to ask you about the World Cup games, it has been a horrifying experience trying to get some reactions from some folks!”

 

“Man, very bad if you ask me” retorted Dhoni, “I think there is a huge, diabolical plot going against CSK

 

“Against CSK? In the ICC World Cup games?”

 

“Can’t you see?! Mike Hussey and Albie Morkel were dropped! So were Ben Hilfenhaus and Suraj Ranadiv! Now Australia is not playing Douggie Bollinger in the playing XI! And even I was forced to drop Suresh Raina in favour of Kohli! This is just not good preparation for IPL, I tell you!”

 

I ran out feeling more pain than the lathi-charged Bangalorean seeking tickets at the counters!

 

(Vincent Sunder aspired to play Test cricket, but had to struggle to play ‘gully’ cricket! He managed a league side to title triumph in the KSCA tournaments. He was debarred from umpiring in the gully games after he once appealed vociferously for a caught-behind decision when officiating as an umpire! After two decades in the corporate sector, he became an entrepreneur with the objective of being able to see cricket matches on working days as well.  Vincent gets his ‘high’ from cricket books and cricket videos and discussing cricket)