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In Shastri's domain

Modified 21 Dec 2012, 17:19 IST

I wake up in a delirium and find myself in the middle of an India-Sri Lanka match. Yes, another one. Thankfully it seems like there is not much left to it.

Somewhere a loudspeaker comes to life. It is THAT voice.

“The last over can make a big difference to this game.”

The audience gasp at this profound observation. Someone resembling Heisenberg stands up and drops dead on the spot.

“From here all three results are possible.”

The sound of a ringing telephone pierces the night air and I can hear Ricky Ponting say “Fellow punters. The master has spoken. We need to put equal bids on all three results.” This is followed by a million hushed whispers of acceptance.

I see Malinga with a bat in his hand and a helmet plonked down carelessly on a bed of curls. Zaheer runs in and, when he is about to take a leap, he does not because he realizes he is already standing thirty feet above the ground. Undeterred, he sends down a fierce bouncer to Malinga who steps out of his crease to hook it – only to find his shoelaces tied to each other. He loses his bat in the process but, with a little twitch of his fingers, detaches his wrists from the rest of his body which then proceed to give the ball a royal smack to the boundary. A huge cheer erupts. The loudspeaker booms, “Zaheer made good use of his height in delivering that bouncer but Malinga compensated for his little feet movement with his supple wrists.”

The next ball catches Malinga right in the face and sends him hurtling to the ground. He bounces back like a Bobo doll and the momentum forces him to move forward at an extremely high velocity. He is at the non-striker’s end before Zaheer can say “jellybean”.

“Malinga is up and running in a jiffy.”

I see Mathews now at the striker’s end. “Mathews can bat”, we are informed as the giant screen shows a montage of him flaying the Australian attack to all parts of the ground in an earlier game. Mathews acknowledges this with a smug smile which reads “I know exactly what I do.” He is wearing a jersey which has Aamir Khan saying “Thanda matlab Coca-Cola” in a blurb.


“He is a cool customer and he knows exactly what he is doing.”

As the next ball is delivered, Mathews unsheathes a sword from his bat and proceeds to slice off his clothes. He then proceeds to decapitate the ball into two – half of which ends up in Yuvraj’s hands and the other half in Raina’s. There is pin drop silence in the crowd – someone actually drops a pin to test it.  We hear chants of “Thalaivar, Thalaivar” and someone says “Son, I can do it much better”; in Tamil. The silence is broken soon enough.

“And Mathews has given it the full Monty; he has slashed hard only to find two fielders under the ball.”

The next man Kulasekara walks in. He is not carrying a bat, but a gift-wrapped parcel which suspiciously looks like a washbasin.  He walks up to a perplexed Zaheer, plucks the ball out of his hand and proceeds to make an oration. “To the red cherry which took me to the top of the bowlers’ rankings. A big thank you.”

Everyone checks their phone to see that someone called swannyg66 has just tweeted: “Can someone tell him that ODIs do not matter and Tests are more important any day?”

My attention is diverted to the loudspeaker again. “And he has given the ball a kitchen sink. This is turning out to be a good over.”


Zaheer is not at all happy at the turn of events and he tries to land a series of punches on Kulasekara who somehow manages to dodge it. “Kulasekara is living dangerously here.” The umpires intervene and hand the ball back to Zaheer who is mumbling something like “My left is your right. Your left is my right.”

Again on cue, “Zaheer needs to get the ball in the right areas.”

Zaheer somehow manages to bowl a delivery which Kulasekara neatly clips off his legs to the boundary. Before it could reach the boundary though we see representatives from Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance and other telecom companies rushing out to the ground and clinging to the turf shouting “I came first”, “I saw it first” and “I conquered it first.” They are followed by an Indian bureaucrat and his cronies who proclaim “There is going to be an auction. Please place your bids.” who are followed by a group of pensioners who pant “This is BSNL’s property.”  Our confusion is cleared soon enough, “The ball has reach the boundary with lightning fast speed thanks to the outfield which is as fast as lightning.”

I look at Dhoni who is somehow starting to look more and more like Tobey Maguire in a mask with each passing delivery. “Dhoni has sensed the urgency to finish this off quickly.” He signals to the dressing room for something. Manoj Tiwary and Piyush Chawla rush onto the ground with a couple of out-dated telegraph machines.

“This match is definitely going to the wire. I repeat: all three results are possible.”


Zaheer runs into bowl but Kulasekara decides he has had enough. He pulls out a pair of red undies from his pockets and puts it on before proceeding to fly out of the stadium. “And Kulasekara has taken the aerial route.”  A little later I hear a big splash somewhere in the Indian Ocean.

“I sense something is going to give…” Half of the commentary box (the half not containing Ravi Shastri) gives way and we can hear muffled screams of “We have been DLF-ed into the ground” and “Somebody could have Karbonn Kamaal caught us.”

“It is funny how two balls can change the whole complexion of the match.” The camera pans to the giant screen which shows Poonam Pandey wearing what looks like half a T-shirt with a Facebook like on it. Zaheer runs into bowl at the new batsman Mendis who skies the bal. Munaf Patel comes under the ball apparently in an effort to catch it.

“Munaf Patel is as safe as a house when it comes to catching.” He clangs the ball. As he bends to pick it up, we see the word “Dilapidated” printed in screaming black letters on the back of his shirt.

Last ball of the match. Sri Lanka now need two to win. At least the scoreboard says so. Malinga on strike. Zaheer runs in to bowl. Malinga swings and just manages to connect. The ball heads toward Munaf again seeing which the batsmen decide to run two. Munaf picks the ball up and takes a cannon out from his backside. He puts the ball in the barrel and points to the stumps. “And Munaf takes careful aim…”


The ball misses the stumps by ten yards and the umpire by ten millimetres. As it makes its way across the turf, we notice that it is no longer a red cherry but a sleek red tipped bullet which makes its way into the forehead of a “Lalit Modi for President” cut-out on the boundary edge.

“Look at that, it sped past the stumps like a Tracer Bullet aaaaaaaaannnddd the match is over.”

I have had enough for a nightmare but there is still a final twist to the tale – the presentation ceremony.

“Both the teams were closely matched but in the end we have to have a winner.” Dilshan cocks a snook at Dhoni and starts walking up to the dais to receive the trophy. He is shoved aside by a giant grasshopper-like insect which then goes up on stage and collects the trophy from the befuddled dignitary. Dhoni looks at the fallen Dilshan with a condescending “I told you so”.

The last words I hear before passing out again are “In the end, cricket is the winner.”

“What does not kill you makes you stronger. I am talking about my commentary.”

Published 16 Sep 2012, 00:07 IST
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