The Cricket Ignoramus

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When India could not watch Pogo

The Indian team left Dhaka for Bangalore as early as possible because they did not get to watch Pogo in the Bangladesh capital. They tried. The previous evening, the team assembled in a banquet room at the Dhaka Sheraton. Twenty television sets were arranged in front of them. A remote was given to each member, including Shashank Manohar, the BCCI president. After half an hour of jabbing their thumbs, they gave up and decided to fly back to India. Bus tickets were not available.

Thus, the background has now changed from Mirpur’s Sher-e-Bangla to Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy Stadium. The cast of the drama has changed as well. In Bangladesh, it was Bryan Adams vs Ageing (18 Till I Die), then India vs Memories of 2007. In Bangalore, it is going to be India vs England. This Sunday. Do not forget to tune in. Or to tune out, once the game is over.

It is hoped that the match will have all the entertainment of a soda pop Hindi film. Great performances by the batsmen, the bowlers and the heroine’s make-up woman are expected. It is hoped that the match sees the ultimate test of batting—hitting a six when the police jeep, with the current equivalent of Iftekar inside, is chasing you.

India have been practising at the nets the last two days in Bangalore. This saves them the expense of Odomos. Besides, old nets can be used to make fishnet stockings for the WAGs. Net practice is also beneficial from a spectator’s point of view. One, you are closer and have a better chance of filching Yuvraj Singh’s wallet. Two, you can see them try different things (provided you haven’t been trying different substances).

For example, the day this is being written (by someone I kidnapped to do my work), Sachin Tendulkar faced a few balls left-handed. Tendulkar does a lot of things left-handed, like watching movies. Might as well try batting too, he perhaps thought. Maybe he was trying to prove a point to Brian Lara. What’s the big deal about batting left-handed, Brian? Righty batting is real batting. It is also possible that Sachin was giving spectators an idea of what it would be like to see Arjun Tendulkar play in India colours, as Arjun is left-handed. What was clear was that even a left-handed Sachin bats with more conviction than some famous southpaws in cricket history.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli were also at the forefront of the day’s nets. Both practised their big hits, dispatching the local spinners to distant parts of the ground so far reachable only by air balloon. I narrowly missed being hit by a ball rebounding off the roof of a stand. I’m not disheartened. I will try harder next time. And sue Dhoni for a few crores.

On the odd occasion Dhoni played what resembled his helicopter shot. There was no helicopter sound, however. Even more surprisingly, no Indian politician stepped out.

Kohli, most of the time, has his glasses on. But while batting he took them off, and finally we could see Kohli ke peechhe kya hai.