E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: The Board for Commercialisation of Cricket in India (BCCI) met at the 7-star Burj Al-Arab Hotel in Dubai to chalk out their future programme. Post the Australian tour, the board members had acquired a sheen which you didn’t find even on the Taj Mahal in full moon.
“I had a tough time reaching here. I had to wait for Lufthansa flight at Bombay for hours. If John Travolta can have his own Boeing 707 parked next to his porch, why can’t each one of us have our own aircraft?” asked Inderjit Singh Bindra.
“I have already put this on the agenda,” grinned Lalit Modi, the ever futuristic vice-president. “Initially we will be procuring 30 of these. For us, the selectors, and the senior team. Subsequently, we will cover the under-19s also.”
“We need a hangar too. Otherwise we will look silly parking our planes in the open,” suggested Prof Ratnakar Shetty, considered the sanest among all BCCI voices.
“Consider it done, professor,” gushed Modi. “You will get hangers to hang your pants and shirts too. We will incur additional expenses which I am sure N. Srinivasan won’t mind,” said Modi looking at the treasurer of BCCI.
“Don’t worry Professor! I will take the tab. Pant and shirt reminds me… We’ve got to reward the streaker who ran towards the pitch in Gabba. He really took Andrew Symonds’s mind off cricket. This resulted in Mathew Hayden’s run-out. It was not Harbhajan’s doosra or teesra that foxed Symmo, but the streaker’s pehla and iklauta!”
“Good point, Srini,” piped in Sharad Pawar, the president. “Please ask Gautam Bhimani to find out who the streaker was and give him Rs 1 crore in Australian dollars. I have two points to make. Let’s identify and prepare a streakers pool who will run in to the ground whenever our bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad and fielding coach Robin Singh decide. Streakers turn the matches on their, well, head during crucial moments. We must keep a few streakers on our payroll.”
This was unanimously agreed with a voice-vote with somebody calling it a stroke of genius.
Waving aside the accolades, Pawar continued, “Friends, some of you may be aware I am the Union minister for agriculture. As you know P. Chidambaram is writing off loans of farmers up to Rs 60,000 crore. This has taken a big load off me. Now I can fully concentrate on cricket! If Chidambaram has a problem in writing off the amount, we should help him by loaning some amount from BCCI.”
“‘This is not a big amount for us. Since FM has helped you, we should return the favour in some form or the other. I propose we authorise our President to bail out Chidambaram out with whatever money he needs,” said Bindra, the former bureaucrat.
This was greeted with thumping of tables all around.
The board secretary Niranjan Shah read out the next item on the agenda.
“It’s a peculiar request from the pitch committee of State cricket associations. The sweepers of the pitch have demanded to be rewarded for their work. They say the dust which comes up while sweeping the pitch must be helping our fast bowlers to get an early breakthrough, which later settles down to aid the spinners too. Ravi Shastri, who is now an authority in reading pitches, agrees with their stand.”
“Give one lakh each for these ladies and ask them to keep up their good work,” said the president.
“That finishes our agenda. Is there anything to be discussed?”
“What about the media?” asked Bindra.
“What about them?”
“They have put cricket on the front burner for the last 3 months ignoring Lalu Prasad‘s and Chidanbaram’s budgets, Clinton and Obama, and the Left’s face-off with the government. Surely we must reward them?”
“I have a plan already!” butted in Modi. “During IPL League we will offer modules of ‘A day with Rohit Sharma’, ‘A day with Praveen Kumar‘, etc and offer it to the highest bidder from the media. To make it attractive we can throw in a Ricky Ponting, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly spending some time with Rohit and Sharma. Media will go ga-ga over it! We can again make some more money.”