How To Make Enemies and Offend People
Rs. 399, PP205
From time to time, newspapers and magazines excrete massive interviews with the selfish-gene-cum-genius. And the general format remains the same as always: cleverly flattering questions followed by seriously vapid answers. Since I am in the enviable position of never having to call Sachin for a quote ever again... I would like to share a list of 10 questions that I have waited for somebody to ask him, in vain. If anybody can get him to answer these questions, I hereby publicly undertake to buy anybody a drink.
So Sachin, here are my 10 questions:
1. In 1999-2000, Indian cricket was rocked by the match-fixing scandal. You were a key member of the team that was captained by Mohammed Azharuddin, and Ajay Jadeja was your teammate… When asked why you remained silent, you said: ‘The only reason I did not speak about it is that I didn’t know anything about it. I would have given a statement if I knew something.’ So are you lying, or are you being a cretin…?
2. The whole world knows that you (and subsequently MS Dhoni) are the reason the BCCI has been stonewalling the ICC’s move to make DRS (decision referral system) mandatory in all international fixtures. What exactly do you have against the DRS? Is it that, without technology, the benefit of the doubt (especially on LBWs) goes to the batsman, and you, knowing that there will be far more LBWs with DRS than without, don’t want technology messing with your averages and milestone-hunting?
3. You are richer than anybody can ever want to be. Why then are you forever, and shamelessly, asking or accepting favours from the government? Be it having to change the law (Customs Act) so you don’t have to pay duty on an obscenely expensive luxury vehicle, or petitioning the government to relax the FSI regulations for your bungalow in Bandra, why can’t you just graciously accept the rules that apply to everyone else instead of cashing in on your celebrity status to seek favours?
4. For most, nay, all, of your adult life, you have been a very influential person, with access to the highest corridors of power. Yet, not once in your life have you ever taken a stand on any issue — not even on sporting ones. Do you then seriously expect to make a meaningful contribution to any of the debates in the Rajya Sabha? If not, why did you agree to become a Rajya Sabha MP?
5. And having become a Rajya Sabha MP, you say ‘cricket comes first’?!! What were you thinking? That being a Member of Parliament is a nice hobby or what?
6. Why is your captaincy record so abysmal? If your cricketing intelligence is so great, and if you are a thorough professional, and if you are a nice guy, how can you not be even an average captain, like, say, Anil Kumble was?...
7. Against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup, you crawled to your 100th hundred (114 in 147 balls on a flat track against a bovinely gentle attack) at 4.5 runs an over, and actually slowed down in the slog overs when the team’s interests dictated that you score faster. And it was because of your milestone obsession that we lost the match to Bangladesh, which cost us a place in the final. This is not a one-off incident, but the culminating irony of a long career marked by the relentless deployment of individual talent for individual glory, though last I checked, cricket was a team game. Now that you’ve got every record in the book, will you, at least in the last remaining matches of your career, either stop playing for records or stop paying lip service to how you are a team player — because it’s too brazenly hypocritical to do both?
8. Why is it that when the chips are down, and India is chasing, you never... ever take India home? Don’t say, ‘check the records’ — because the records tell me very clearly that you’ve never single-handedly taken India past the finishing line in your twenty-two-plus years of international cricket... You just cannot bat for the team under pressure, is that it? Or is it that you never cared for the team as much as you claim to?
9. I’ve been pondering this one for ages. How did you become such a boring person — open your mouth and everyone goes to sleep?
10. This is an easy one. Do you like journalists who suck up to you?