E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: A pall of gloom hung everywhere after India’s sudden exit from the Twenty20 World Cup without even qualifying for the semifinals.
For some reason, a majority of cricket buffs, television channels and advertisers thought it was just a formality for India to present themselves on the finals at Lords’, collect the cup and ride a 25 km motorcade followed by a flurry of wining and dining all over India.
House sites, cars, etc, would follow as a matter of course.
But that was not to be.
Reebok officials who had managed to show Mahendra Singh Dhoni “driving” with dusky Bengali beauty Bipasha Basu were crestfallen.
“For the semifinals we had already shot Dhoni and Bipasha running over Big Ben and the Millennium Tower with John Abraham in hot chase. Now without India in the semis, we can’t show this and this is a big reverse for us. The economy was looking up and this defeat has put us back by a couple of million dollars.”
Max Insurance New York which was featuring a child prodigy mouthing words like ‘Czechoslovakia’ had planned bigger things for the kid and the finals involving India.
“We had the child ready to utter words like ‘Machilipatnam’ and ‘Rhododendron’ as part of our campaign. Dhoni & Co have spoiled all this by losing at the super 8 stage itself,” lamented the creative director.
Lalit Modi who was planning an ‘IPL-X’ in New York’s Madison Square Garden soon after the World Cup was crestfallen. He had kept the Sotheby’s bidding system ready with each player to get $10 million and winner take all at $100 million.
The IPL X window was created to be played between Halloween and Christmas.
“My Big dream now lies shattered,” lamented Modi.
The national networks who make their girls dress up as ‘Experts’ to take on any form of cricket were the worst hit. The girls assigned to shadow their heroes and blow up any incident as ‘Breaking News’ didn’t know what hit them.
“What will I do now? I was assigned to shadow Dhoni 24×7 and report tidbits to Sonali Chander and Ajay Jadeja to discuss it threadbare. What can I cover or uncover new in his life? Sab mitti mein chala gaya!”
“I even refused to go to Russia with the PM to cover the Indo-Pak dialogue as I was keen to shadow Yuvi and see whether Deepika Padukone would have any effect on him. Sab gadbad ho gaya,” was the lament of the CNN-IBN girl.
While the advertising companies and news networks were all dumbfounded with this sudden loss, the political parties were no less affected.
“Ab kya kare? Last time, we arranged a big dhamaka motorcade from Sahar Airport to Wankhede stadium. R.R. Patil saab himself was present on the stage all through the felicitation ceremony which we projected as an NCP item. This time we had big plans to take the players all over Mumbai on a helicopter with Pawar saab at the controls. He was even taking lessons secretly. Sab bekaar ho gaya,” lamented the NCP man.
“We had plans to take the team directly to Feroze Shah Kotla and make them meet Rahul Gandhi who as you know is always a winner. After making the team meet the First Family, there was a gala felicitation planned with Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy singing a special song penned by Javed Akhtar on Team India. The mayor of Delhi was to present the keys of Delhi to Dhoni. All the jewellers in Delhi were planning to give gold biscuits to the winning team. Sab choupat ho gaya.”
Amidst all this breast-beating, England captain Paul Collingwood got a letter from one of the schoolboys who accompanied the Indian team for the National Anthem.
“Thank you, your team and God, for beating India. The reaction from India is not surprising. Now only I know what is meant by ‘Insufferable in defeat and intolerable in victory.’ Hopefully, this will make the team more human.’