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Comedy of errors: Whose line is it anyway?

india Updated: Jan 20, 2012 23:38 IST
Rohit Bhaskar

The Sheffield Shield room in the Western Grandstands at the Adelaide Oval is so called because it houses its namesake trophy. On the walls are posters of South Australia legends. There's one of Don Bradman, one of Vic Richardson, another of his grandson, Ian Chappell.

History of another kind was made in the room on Friday - that of the drollest press conference at the venue.

For Australian journalists, the tour has given them a chance to 'appreciate' the embroidery on the pocket of India's media manager, GS Walia's, blazer, while it has been said that his only purpose, it seems, is to 'fill a suit and breathe oxygen'.

After earlier getting Indian journalists to translate the answers of Hindi-speaking players during press conferences, a move which saw information lost in translation, Walia did the honours himself during Wriddhiman Saha's presser on Friday.

Walia started the presser with a plea.

"(Sic) I request the Australian media to ask questions in a bit slow form. So he is reply in Hindi and I will give his version in English, but a bit slow so that he understands."

Then to show his 'humorous' side, Walia chipped in, "He speaks beautiful Hindi and Bangla."

The Aussie reporters, who'd seen the presser start an hour after its scheduled time, were not amused.

His translations were punctuated with vacillation and the constant usage of words like "so' "ki', "toh", "woh".

Questions asked in Hindi were to be translated, but after muttering through the first few words, he moved to the answer.

A fine example was a question on the unusual circumstances in which Saha made his debut against South Africa, in Nagpur two years back, when VVS Laxman was out with injury on the eve of the match and his replacement Rohit Sharma also got injured on the morning of the match to hand Saha an unlikely debut.

"He asked when he made his debut, he made his first debut…but what was his, that is," said Walia before abruptly cutting to the answer.

Not that the translation was any more accurate. He ended up using the word pressure more times than David Bowie and Freddie Mercury in their 1981 hit-single. By the end of it, he was talking about pressure like Blaise Pascal.

"Pressure is there but it's a positive. There is no negative in it. There is only good positive pressure," he translated, when Saha was asked of how he felt filling in for MS Dhoni. Good positive pressure!

Walia and Saha shared the chemistry of Jay Leno and a guest at his show. While answering the questions, Saha would face not the questioner, but rather Walia, and explain his answers to the media manager.

At times, he was seen coaching Saha on the dais, "Ucche, Ucche (louder, louder)," he said, when Saha was speaking softly.

Tailenders became "later-on" batsman, among other bloopers. It wasn't all bad though, he did enunciate his words distinctly. He laid particular emphasis on zero while stating that India were "3-0 down".