There is unnecessary brouhaha about India's untimely, if not shocking exit from the World Cup. But the president of BCCI kept his emotions under control and one could easily see why the union agriculture minister is always a cool cucumber even when farmers are dying like flies in Maharashtra.
"Mr Pawar, you must be equally shell-shocked like anybody else as India is thrown out of the world cup?"
"Shocked, yes. But, not to the extent of foregoing reason and logic. I have already decided we must look for 2011 and prepare for it from now on. We have no time to lose."
"That's very sensible way of not learning from tragedy. What steps are you going to take?"
"First things, first. Infrastructure. Do you know we have one of the worst ratios of stadia versus population? And even the ones we have, we don't have proper air-conditioned pavilion for our boys. How can we ask them to sweat it out on the field when they don't even have nice air-conditioned viewing section from the pavilion? I want to correct that. Luckily, Reliance Sr has already agreed to take care of that."
"Oh, is it? Will you do something about fielding? We were one of the worst set of fielders in 2007 WC..."
"Don't say WC! WC reminds me of toilets! Fielding can be good only if we have layers of lush green Mexican grass so that our boys don't get hurt when they slide on the ground. We are ordering one million hectares of velvet grass from Scotland to be laid on all our grounds. We have time and again ignored our paying public; I feel very bad about it. I will have matching satin cushions for the seats. I am sure Reliance Jr will pick up this bill."
"It looks like you are going all out to improve cricket in the country. What about improving the very basics of the game, batting for instance….?"
"Don't forget we've had always had the best batting lineup on paper..! Since I am looking at 2011 World Cup, I have to get a 2011 calendar first. I want to change everything lock, stock and barrel... No point in keeping the old eggs any more as they rot and smell..."
"Good! You want to start everything a fresh with a fresh coat of paint at the end."
"Yes. But I don't want to be too hasty… After all Sachin would only be 37 and Kumble around 41 something…. Along with Ganguly, we will have the nucleus of 'experience bank' India is always looking for… I am sure I can convince Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan and do a Jeetega bhai jeetega ad… We have a lot of time to do experiments in between..."
"That reminds me… what about the coach? Are you going to have a new one?"
"Yes and No. Greg Chappell will be our coach up to 2009. He will do all the experiments up to 2009. I will give him a new lab, fresh set of white coats, 'rabbits and rats' from a pool of under-19 that go with any lab… From 2009 we will have a new coach who can think on his haunches and turn around India's cricketing fortune…"
"Whom do you have in mind?"
"My colleague and the Railway Minister Lalu Prasadji. He has offered to be the new coach. For one thing, he knows how to milk any cow. He has experience. He can milk BCCI Cash Cow dry. He has some revolutionary ideas like 'adjusting' neutral umpires etc…. Since he has grown fodder he knows a thing or two about pitches, watering, etc, his experience will come in handy preparing the pitches. He will know what type of pitches will suit our team. He is confident he can win the 2011 World Cup for me."
"Pawarji, you have some brilliant idea to rebuild our team…."
"No, no. I want to win the World Cup first. I have hundreds of ideas of rebuilding the team which can wait. But, there is a hitch. Laluji wants the BCCI headquarters and Cricket Academy shifted from Mumbai and Bangalore to, Patna. He feels milking is easier in Patna. I agree with him."
ER Ramachandran can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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