Innovative ideas to revitalise Team India
The BCCI was having a review meeting on India's dismal performance in the basement of its office in Mumbai. It was in ground minus 1, the lowest level in the building befitting India's recent debacles.
Mr. N Srinivasan, the president of the BCCI, started proceedings. "While extending a hearty welcome to all of you, I would like to make it clear India's loss abroad is not a railway accident or some such mishap to warrant an Enquiry Commission," he said. "We are here to see how we can take the game forward. I also welcome some eminent members of the public who have volunteered to give their suggestions."
Despite our openers failing repeatedly, Arun Jaitley showed why he is such a dependable bat. "Whenever I switched on the TV during Tests, I thought I was watching a replay. Later I realized it was live and real. We were slow in everything from running between the wickets to running behind the ball. There was no footwork in anything," he said.
Mr. Srinivasan intervened. "We want a gust of fresh ideas to blow through BCCI. Let our guests speak."
When choreographers Farah Khan and Saroj Khan stood up there was tremendous applause from the audience. Farah started. "Thank you. I am one of the 1.2 billion cricket fans that felt sad when India was getting trounced in England and Australia," she said. "Bollywood and cricket have always had strong ties since the days of Sharmila and Pataudi. The IPL has continued the trend. We are losing because we are not creating proper ambience for our boys. Let me elaborate ... why did we win the first ICC World Twenty 20 when nobody expected us to come to finals? The dance by the cheer girls did wonders to their motivation. Why did Chennai Super Kings win the CLT20? Drummer Shivamani cast a magical spell on CSK."
"That's a very interesting observation Farahji," said Mr. Srinivasan, also the CSK owner, as he moved to the edge of his seat.
Farah continued, "We feel dances like 'Munni badnaam hui', 'Sheila ki jawani', 'Main aayi hun UP, Bihar lootne,' between overs will motivate our boys to give their best."
The choreographers had done their steps well. Farah's presentation had an electric effect in the meeting room.
Saroj took over. "The 'Oo lala' song and 'Kolaveri di' will make our team a pack of wolves while fielding."
They ended by singing in duet, "BCCI is ... Bollywood. Cricket combines ... India ..." amidst claps and whistles.
Mr. Srinivasan was quick to respond. "Thank you, ladies. You have given great inputs. We will take your help and work out details."
Jiggs Kalra and Sanjiv Kapoor next took the mike amidst thunderous applause. After all, they were India's original Master Chefs. "Food and cricket have played a major role in our family. For Sunny Gavaskar we have sent Sabhudana Kichdi and Srikhand to Port of Spain and Antigua just like the way they make at Mama Kane at Dadar. That's why Sunny played so well in the West Indies," said Kapoor.
"Really? Nobody has shared such little secrets with me," said Mr. Srinivasan.
Kalra continued, "Bland food tasting like sawdust, have taken its toll over the last six to eight months. For Sachin I have sent Hilsa fish from Koliwada marinated with white wine and cooked over slow fire. Every time he has eaten my Hilsa, he has scored a century. We will send a Khoka to Australia for the remaining one-dayers. It will go in diplomatic courier, courtesy of Sharad Pawarji. We are now sure Sachin will score his hundredth century. The Jharkhand government has sent Dhoni's favourite - butter chicken masala - last week and we are already seeing how he is taking the team to heart-stopping nail-biting wins."
"I didn't even know this fish and chicken thing," said an amused Mr. Srinivasan. "Please work out a menu for each player and let's have a mobile kitchen. Sanjay Jagdale will coordinate this with you."
The BCCI bosses looked cheerful for the first time in more than six months.
Others also offered to help out. The Sahara chief's announcement of gifts of all-weather controlled villas at Amby Valley to players showed everything was back to normal. Mr. Mallya had already dispatched racing cars to the cricketers to buoy them up.
Finally one elderly gentleman stood up and held a one-rupee coin. The whole crowd gave him a standing ovation. Ramanath Achrekar, Tendulkar's, coach said, "Shukriya. Look at this one rupee sikka. I used to keep it on the top of the stump and challenge bowlers; 'whosoever takes Sachin's wicket would get the sikka, otherwise Sachin chokra would get it.' Sachin has won 13 one rupee sikke. I think the value of each sikka is around 100 crores now. I will ask him to bat in Shivaji Park again with a sikka on top of the wicket. I will make sure he gets more sikke and shathaks."
When the meeting ended, with a host of totally new, fresh and innovative ideas the BCCI was confident to get India's cricket back on its rails again.
More about E R RamachandranE.R. Ramachandran, a corporate manager-turned-columnist has contributed to Hindustan times and Deccan Herald. He is a regular contributor to the Churumuri blog and writes a weekly column for Mysore Mail, a local Newspaper. Satire being his forte, he combines cricket and other sports with politics, in 'tongue in cheek' articles. He firmly believes that another 22-ball century can never happen again in any format of cricket like the one Don Bradman did in November 1931. And feels it is time for BCCI to do something to improve India's fielding and running between the wickets.
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