Lalit comes in to bowl the next one and, oh my god, it’s a real juicy bouncer, one that we haven’t seen the likes of for a very long time. If I remember right, the last time we had such a bouncer from Lalit was last year, when he knocked Chidambaram out cold before scooting off to South Africa. No wonder people hate Lalit’s balls. Shashi is taking it very well, considering it was a really nasty one glancing off his helmet. Shailendra Gaikwad at the non-striker’s end has walked down to Shashi and is offering him comfort and advice.
We’ve been having a lovely day of cricket here at the DY Patil stadium and to be fair the Kochi side has so far played well beyond our expectations. Shashi has been able to strengthen Kochi’s batting line-up by roping in some heavy hitters who play for the income-tax department. They could easily take Lalit to the cleaners. But then, Lalit has also been able to get good players from a holding company incorporated in Mauritius.
Lalit to Shashi. Slower ball this time, hit smartly into the covers for a quick couple of runs. Gaikwad at the non-striker’s end has been playing very well, hitting Lalit all over the field. Lalit was all of a twitter and there was a lot of talk in the dugout about how he was offering a cool $50 million dollars for Shailendra to walk away.
Hold on, what’s this? News has just come in that Shailendra has been sacked from his team. In the middle of the match, when he was in the field? Whodunit, Lalit or Narendra Modi? This must be the first time that’s happened in the history of cricket. Anyway Shailendra has been recalled to the pavilion and someone called Rosy Blue is going to take his place. They’ve even organised a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to take Shailendra back to the stadium. Be that as it may, here’s the new batsman coming on to the field and, believe it or not, it’s a guy from the Enforcement Directorate, coming out to bat for Shashi. Lalit looks stumped, this is going to be some match.
Next ball from Modi to Shashi. Lalit is rearranging his consortium of fielders, shifting Suresh Chellaram to first slip, while Gaurav Burman is now at gully. A couple of skeletons from the Indian Premier League (IPL) cupboard are fielding near the fence. Lalit to Shashi and this time he gets on top of the bounce and cuts it over the head of Sharad Pawar at point. There’s no fielder in the deep and the ball rockets into the boundary for four more runs. Was that a dirty look between Lalit and Sharad? Sometimes you get the impression that people
like Sharad and Shashank Manohar are batting for the other side. But here are the lovely Kochi cheerleaders, led by Sunanda Pushkar, celebrating that hit. They’re sweating a lot in this heat, but I’ve been told they’ll be getting plenty of sweat equity in return.
Oh, oh, one of the underworld bhais fielding near Shashi has just said something to him. Shashi is tweeting about it. He says the bhai threatened him. The chap from the enforcement directorate and the bhai glare coldly at each other. No sledging, guys.
It’s time for a strategic time-out, folks. But before I leave you, here are the latest odds from the bookies: Lalit Modi 3 to 1, Shashi Tharoor 5 to 2.
Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint
The views expressed by the author are personal