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Satire - Swayamvar to select Indian Cricket team's next Coach

What if the BCCI held a Swayamvar to select the coach of the Indian Cricket Team?

anil kumble vvs laxman sourav ganguly sachin tendulkar

The day of the Swayamvar had arrived and the distinguished applicants had taken their respective seats in the board room of the Cricket Club of India (CCI) in Mumbai. The Board President began the proceedings by making it clear that he wanted this to be a clean match which should be devoid of any controversies and the most deserving candidate should win.

Seated in the front row were members of the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) - Sourav Ganguly & VVS Laxman. Joining them via Skype was legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar, who was the third member of CAC.  

Round 1 - How would you bring India to number one ranking?

Initially, all the contestants were asked to give a brief introduction about themselves. Almost all of them emphasised on how they would work towards making the Indian cricket team the number one side in the world. The most notable presentation was from ex-team Director Ravi Shastri.

In his trademark style, Shastri said “Given the resume of my esteemed co-applicants; make no mistake about it, this is a pressure cooker situation”.

Round 2 - Can you handle Virat Kohli?

In the next round, the applicants were asked as to how they will handle the aggressive and vocal Test captain Virat Kohli. Former seamer Venkatesh Prasad was the clear winner in this round as he reminded the members of the CAC about his verbal duel with the Pakistani opener Amir Sohail in the 1996 World Cup quarter-final match.

Prasad went on to say that he will enrich the vocabulary of Kohli with few Kanadda words which will go a long way in lifting team India’s sledging both on and off the field. 

Once again it was the time for Sachin..Sachin

Sachin Tendulkar
“I am carrying this list, to remember all the names in case I forget someone”

After the first two rounds, it was time to announce the names of the applicants who had reached the next round and this job was handed over to Tendulkar. As Tendulkar came on the giant screen in the room, everyone started chanting “Sachin..Sachin..Sachin Sachin”. 

“All my friends. Settle down let me talk, I will get more and more emotional. For the second time (after my farewell speech), I am carrying this list, to remember all the names in case I forget someone. I hope you understand. It’s getting a little bit difficult to talk but I will manage.

“There are people in this room who inspired me to play cricket. My long time teammate Anil is here, I can see Ravi bhai at the back. I will hand it over to my captain Sourav to announce the names, but before that I will just say that the memories you have left with me will always be with me forever, especially Sachin..Sachin”, said an emotional Tendulkar.

Before announcing the shortlisted names, a stern Ganguly said “For the people who are not moving to the next round, I have one piece of advice. You can call up Tendulkar or Laxman to ask for the rejection reason. But you dare not dial my number.

“If you all are hearing this, you dare not call Sourav Ganguly”. Fans will remember that he had the same message for his old coach Greg Chappell. 

Top seven applicants move to the next round

With this warning, the names were announced. Not surprisingly; Ravi Shastri, Anil Kumble, Venkatesh Prasad, Sandip Patil, Pravin Amre and Stuart Law made it to the next round. Hrishikesh Kanitkar was the only surprise pick among the seven shortlisted people. It seemed that people still remembered his last over four off Saqlain Mushtaq in Dhaka. 

Round 3 - How to make the Indian team win on fast and bouncy wickets?

ravi shastri
“If India want to win here, they’ll need to play well”

The next round was a group discussion and the topic was “How to make the Indian team win on fast and bouncy wickets?”. Like most of the group discussion, this also turned into a fish market. Shastri began the discussion with a valid point as always. He said, “If India want to win here, they’ll need to play well”.

There were good points from others like Stuart Law who said that being an Australian he knew a thing or two about playing on bouncy wickets and hence he is the best man for the job. However, it was Kumble’s point which got the maximum applause from the CAC. Kumble said “It is very simple. I will ask them to play my quicker ones in the nets. I am sure even today my quicker ones have more pace than some of our so-called fast bowlers”. 

Apart from Stuart Law, the other six made it to the final round. It is learnt that it was Laxman who was not in favor of having an Australian as the coach. And he got support from Ganguly who didn’t want the next Indian coach to be from the land of Guru Greg. So, like their playing days; yet again Ganguly and Laxman had proven to be Australia’s nemesis.

Final round : Lift the most revered bat in India’s cricket history

The final round was straight from the sets of Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayana. The finalists had to lift Sachin Tendulkar’s bat using only one hand. Well, given the godly status that Tendulkar enjoyed; this seemed an apt ask for the finale. Shocked at this final round; Kanitkar, Amre & Patil left the contest giving the excuse of back injury.

So, now it was left to Shastri, Kumble & Prasad. This made Shastri joke “All three results possible here”. 

Prasad tried really hard but he failed in lifting the bat. Later on he said, “To be frank, I don’t have much experience of lifting my own bat. Leave apart Sachin’s bat.” With only Shastri & Kumble remaining, Kumble went up first and he was able to lift Sachin’s bat.

This for once put Shastri under pressure. Given the respect that he has for Kumble, in a touching gesture he conceded defeat and said that Kumble was indeed the right man for the job. He went on his commentary mode and added “Gets it! Second man on the planet to lift Sachin’s bat..And it’s the superman from Namma Bengaluru…Take a bow Anil”.

At the end of the day, Indian cricket is the real winner

anil kumble
Anil Kumble was ultimately chosen as the coach of the Indian cricket team after the Swayamvar

Well, so Anil Kumble was chosen as the coach of the Indian cricket team. Tendulkar immediately ordered for a Team India cap & jersey for Jumbo and said that he would personally hand it over like he had done during Kumble’s epic 10-wicket haul at the Ferozeshah Kotla.

It indeed was a happening day for Indian cricket and as Shastri would have said “At the end of the day, Indian cricket is the real winner”.

Disclaimer - This article is a work of fiction on the suspense and drama surrounding the selection of the coach of the Indian cricket team. The contents are imaginations of the writer. Any resemblance to real life incidents is purely coincidental. The whole scene has been created imagining if the BCCI had conducted a “Swayamvar” to select the coach. Above is a report from an eye-witness of the Swayamvar, who claims to be just a cricket enthusiast. 

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