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On your marks

india Updated: Jun 26, 2010 23:52 IST
Manas Chakravarty

A 10 on 10 for the class test will not fetch you ‘very good’ or ‘well done’ from your teachers. Instead, for the next one month, your teacher’s remark would be: “You have scored a goal!”…All the topics….will be in some way related to football.

Times of India, June 11, Bangalore

Maths teacher: If it takes 22 men running after one ball to produce one goal in 90 minutes, how many goals will be produced by 22 men running after 22 balls?

History teacher: Children, the history of India has been the history of some of the most absorbing football matches. Look at the fantastic match played between a local team from Bengal, known as the Siraj-ud-Daula XI versus the visiting British team captained by Robert Clive at Plassey in 1757. Siraj’s team had a good run-up to the match, having distinguished itself in the Calcutta League where they had just lifted the Black Hole trophy.

Siraj’s men started the attack, led by star striker Mir Madan. The Indian side’s weak spot though was their winger Mir Jafar, who seemed to be off-colour. He mispassed and frequently lost possession. In the 37th minute, a stinging right-footer from Siraj beat the English goalie and reached the back of the net only to be disallowed because Mir Jafar was offside.

But it was in the second half that disaster struck. Robert’s weak shot at the goal went to Mir Jafar who inexplicably hit the ball into the Indian goal instead of clearing it. That solitary own goal sealed Siraj’s fate. Allegations of match-fixing were rife after the game, although it was by no means the first own goal in Indian history.

Among other significant matches, you should all be familiar with the one in which the Maratha XI led by Chhatrapati Shivaji played the Bijapur Backstabbers led by Afzal Khan. That match was noteworthy for the horrible foul on Shivaji by Afzal Khan. Luckily the referee was watching and Afzal got the red card. Down to ten men, the Bijapur side lost 10-0.

English teacher: Here is ace English midfielder William Shakespeare’s take on the obnoxious but widely prevalent practice of diving:

To dive or not to dive, that is the question/ Whether it’s nobler in the mind to suffer/ Trying desperately to outplay the defence/ Or to take arms against a sea of troubles/ And by diving end them.

Moral science teacher: In these godless times, during the World Cup in the year of our Lord 1986, the Good Lord though it fit to vouchsafe a miracle unto us sinners. No, I allude not to the goal made by His Hand, but to the one after that, when the Lord God commanded Hector Enrique to pass to Diego Maradona. Starting the move from His own half, He made Maradona dribble past the vile English defenders Beardsley and Reid and so confused Butcher and Fenwick that they knew not what to do.

God then put His magic into His Chosen One’s feet so that they danced the ball around the Fiend that was Peter Shilton, the English goalkeeper. And He did it so that the people would marvel at the wonder that He had wrought and sing His praises with one voice by a great shout of “Goooooal.” And thus did He through His miracle exalt the One True Religion of Football.

Maths teacher: If ten on ten counts as one goal, what if you get three on ten?

Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint. The views expressed by the author are personal