Tag Archives: Ravi Shastri

A Dressing Down in the Dressing Room

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The white plastic chairs are set around the table. They trickle in one by one, each taking a chair and easing himself on it.

He waits for them to settle down, cursing under his breath, but holding the cool exterior that he was known for. When the last one of them had settled down, Ravi Shastri began speaking.

‘Right, so here we are in the dressing room today…and it looks like this one is going down to the wire’. ‘Cliché’ mutters someone under his breath as the bowlers begin to giggle. Shastri glares at them and they stop.

‘We have been asked by the higher-ups to have a meeting and discuss what’s happening. One just gets a feeling-‘

Suddenly, Varun Aaron stands up, yells, and charges at the wall. He crashes into it, then turns around, and charges towards the opposite wall. Dhoni shares a glance with Shastri. They understood.

Ishant Sharma sat on his chair, his lanky frame hunched. ‘Idontwanttobowlwiththenewballbutbehnchodtheseguyskeepaskingmeto…’
‘Is there something you want to say, Ishant?’
‘Mmmmmgrumblegrumblemumblemumble’
‘You are the leader of the attack, you need to pull up your socks now.’ Ishant stops, bends down near his bag, pulls out his socks, and runs out of the hall. Dhoni shrugs his shoulder and looks at Shastri.

Ever so slowly, the chairs begin to shift a little, gravitating towards comfort zones of their own. Dhoni is gradually surrounded by the calmer ones – Pujara, Rahane, Ashwin, Vijay and Shami. Towards the other side, Virat, Rohit, Dhawan and Yadav are forming a circle of their own.

Shastri looks at the team, wondering if he should have brought Sunny along. But Sunny was growing older, and one couldn’t control what he’d do to the players when he lost his cool. Shastri’s mind went back to the last time Sunny bhai had addressed the team. Sreesanth had picked his nose, and Sunny bhai abruptly poked a burning agarbathi in his cheek. May be he was better off doing this by himself. We have to fight our demons alone. He had jumped at the opportunity to guide the team. Little did he know he’d have to deal with such nutcases.

He cleared his throat. ‘Alright, bright sunny day out here in Brisbane today, packed crowd, you can feel the excitement out here…’ Suddenly, a loud crash was heard from the other room.

Yadav ran across, and dragged Varun Aaron back to the room. He had charged at the television and smashed it into bits. ‘Leave me, I’m a fast bowler,’ he kept grumbling, but Yadav made him sit on the chair.

‘Right. So let’s begin with the meeting. I’d like each of you to state out the reason, according to you, for our loss. Let’s begin with Pujara’.
Pujara:
Shastri: Are you sure? But what about the wickets?
Pujara:
Shastri: Alright. Now let’s move on to Rohit. Why did we lose the match?

Rohit stands up, pulls out a handkerchief from his pocket, spreads it out on the table, and begins rolling it into a ball. Shastri is now losing his cool. ‘Let’s move on to Virat, then.’

Virat stares at him for a while, anger writ large on his face. And then, he speaks – ‘Motherchod teri maa ki choot saale bhonsdi ke haraami kaat daalunga saale behenchod harami’.
Rohit Sharma quickly turns around, takes out a notepad, and jots down some points.

‘If only he did that for his cover drives too,’ Shastri thinks, but knows better than to tell the players anything. He had been like them once – young, hot-blooded, brash, arrogant. The team managers had tried to stop him too, but it was a lost cause. His mind went back to that mad drunken night when he had 17 beers and humped Laxman Sivaramakrishnan. The world was shocked when he announced his retirement later that month.

‘Alright, then. May be we should move on with the-
Suddenly, Varun Aaron was up again. He took off his shirt, bellowed like a drunk bull, and charged at Shastri. Dhoni shook his head, looked at Kohli, and cursed under his breath.

Kohli, Rohit and Yadav ran to hold Aaron down, when Ashwin flung a chair at them. Enraged, they ran towards him, when Dhawan twirled his moustache and slapped his thigh, egging them forward. Rahane now stood up to block the marauding gang, but they got to him and slammed him down on the table.

Chairs were flying around, the screams inside the room had reached a crescendo. The voices grew louder and louder, as furniture, plastic, cloth, and bottles were flung across the room.

Dhoni sat in a corner and was quietly doodling on a piece of paper.

Two mountains, with a half-sun peeping out between them. There were a few clouds, r shaped crows, and a river that began at the point where the two mountains met. He proceeded to draw a house in the plains below, with three steps leading to the house. Should I add a window- BOOM!

There was a monstrous noise, as they all froze, and turned to look at the door.

Dressed in a black leather jacket, brown corduroy trousers, and dark brown boots. The jacket was open, revealing chest hair, and his hair was carelessly thrown across his forehead. There was no mistaking that look, no mistaking the magnetic power it had all over all – man, woman, object. It could only be –

Jackie Shroff. He walked towards the group, the click-clack of his boots echoing in the new silence. He said nothing, walking till he reached Dhawan.

‘Maushichigand!’ he slapped him hard across the face, as Dhawan flew across and landed on his knees. Dhoni made a mental note to put him in the slips.

Jackie walked on to the rest of the group. ‘Mach mach mach mach, all you fuckers do is talk all the time. But when it comes to playing-

He pulled Rahane up by his collar, till his toes were hanging in the air, shook him violently and threw him back on the chair. Rahane, facing yet another unplayable delivery, fainted.

‘And you,’ Jackie spat, his eyes on Varun Aaron. ‘You make even that monster (pointing at Yadav) seem like Gandhi in comparison’. He lifted Yadav and threw him on Aaron. Aaron yelled and began to charge at Jackie. Jackie raises his hand, and Aaron stops, whimpering and simpering.

‘And you’, He turned to Kohli and raised his hand. Only to smile and high five him. ‘Your girlfriend is hot. Kal dekha main. Kadak item hai’. He then turned to Pujara. ‘Do you have anything to say?’ Pujara stared – his lips moved, but you couldn’t hear what he was saying. Jackie lifted him up and slammed him on the table.

Ashwin was punched in the stomach once. And then kicked in the balls. ‘That’s the doosra, asshole. Use it’. He walks across to Rohit Sharma. ‘You. Talented cricketer. When the fuck is your talent going to win us matches? Or are you happy hammering West Indian bowlers in Vadodara? Behnchod go play in Ranji, then.’ He raised a beer bottle and smashed it down on his head.

‘And you’, he said, turning to Vijay. ‘Your name is Vijay, but you never get your team to a winning position. Look at me, my name is Jackie, and I’m Jackie Shroff’. He slaps him hard across the face.

Finally, as the rest of the team lies on the floor, twisting and writhing in pain, He approaches Dhoni, who seems unfazed by it all.

‘Abey oh, cool customer! Maushichigand!’ He lifts Dhoni up and choke-slams him down on the floor. ‘Don’t give me that calm and composed drama, understood? I played Shirdi Sai Baba for fuck’s sake. No one can be calmer than me’. With this, he lifted Dhoni and slammed him down on the rest of his teammates.

Amidst the noise, Shastri listened from the opposite room. He had sneaked out just in time, and sat huddled next to Duncan Fletcher on the floor. Jackie walked around the room. Varun Aaron stands up, looks at Jackie, but folds his hands in obeisance to The Lord.

‘Motherchod. I wake up every morning at five o clock, only to see your sad, idiotic drama. Maushichigand!’.

His work here done, Jackie gives the team a look of disdain, and leaves.

As he retires to bed that night, Jackie is a relieved man. Tomorrow he’ll wake up to watch the third test.

***

Joy to the World, IPL is done!

After the rant on the World Cup ads, it is only fitting that I do a review on this year’s IPL as well. For those who are visiting from Neptune, the Indian Premier League is the world’s second largest sporting franchise. In just four years, the league has created a worth of 3.67 billion dollars.

While it is true that Indians love cricket, and will watch the highlights of a Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh match on a Sunday afternoon, there is something more than just the Indians’ love for cricket that keeps the IPL going.

IPL is truly the first by-product of Bollywood and cricket. Well, there is Saif Ali Khan, but he took really long to take off. IPL has been able to cater to the two largest categories of people in India: those who watch cricket and those who watch films. The only ones left out are terrorists, babas, and the Monkey Man. And Indians are a loving and forgiving audience. How else can you explain a Sanjay Manjarekar, who had no skills to talk of managing to play for ten years? And Suneil Shetty, whose greatest competition is himself and a few trees, still manage to remain in the news?

IPL has been able to bring together both these loving and forgiving audiences and given them something new to trip over every evening, for 45 evenings a year. So Shilpa Shetty is the Big Sister of the Rajasthan Royals, and manages to bring Small Sister to the matches too, thereby ensuring her television time as well. And girls fromDelhiwould say “Yo! KKR rawx” on Facebook even though their knowledge of cricket would be limited to the idea that ‘no ball’ is a physical condition.

The biggest difference this year was the absence of the creator, Mr. Modi himself. For three years, Modi lived his dream, rubbing shoulders with Bollywood actresses, having a million followers on Twitter and the like.

Citi Moments of Success and DLF Maximum have become a part of everyday lore. There is a match everyday and the newspapers trying to make things look interesting every morning. This year wasn’t much difficult. Preity Zinta’s team still sucks, the cheerleaders still jump and laugh in joy after every boundary.

The Good: There cant be much good left in the fourth edition, excepting Rocky IV, but this year, there was something that was a treat to the fans: Chris Gayle. Its really marvellous, the impetus a nice fat package does. This IPL, he was Krish Gayle: he booted the bowlers out of the pack, took wickets in every match, and dived while fielding. I mean, when did you see Chris Gayle dive for anything? But this year, its as if Chris crashed into Mallya’s party and said “Yo maan! Wassap? Gimme ma Passat”. Turning out one champion performance after another, it really was a treat to watch Gayle when he is in that kind of form and Venkatesh Prasad is in the same team, and will not be bowling.

It was a little sad to watch Shane Warne bow his hat. Like his international career, Warnie did it with typical showman charisma. Coached and captained the leanest team to victory, and retired when he still had it. But the end has to come, and Warne, with Liz Hurley at his side, looks ready for a new kind of match, and one can only wish him luck, and remind him that it is possible to track and retrieve text messages. Apart from these two, I cant see much that was special this year.

There were a lot of things to crib about, though, and we shall analyse each of them one by one.

Advertisements: Zoo-zoos managed to retain interest, thanks to some good ads. Many of the other ads were repeats from the World Cup, but trust Shah Rukh to come up with something new for his fans.

KKR ads are like SRK films: loud and dramatic. Through all his ads, he seems to be asking his fans if they really are smarter than a fifth grader. So this year, they came up with a campaign through which fans could pass on a message to the cricketers. So how do you show that you can get your voice across to the team? Ok, how about this? We make Shah Rukh speak in the voices of the people. Very subtle.

So there are ads where SRK walks into the dressing room and asks his team to drink lassi, burst bubblewrap, and gives a player a head massage.. Fans of Dan Brown will say this could be a hint as to why Dada left the team. May Champ didn’t want a Champi from Champu.

The rest of the ads were the typical IPL ads, hastily made, and in poor taste.

Commentary: The IPL is harvest time for ex-cricketers. Everyone from Chetan Chauhan to Manoj Prabhakar becomes an expert on the day’s proceedings. Only in the IPL can Mark Boucher be on the commentary box one day and then a week later, be playing for one of the teams. There wasn’t much to talk about the commentary. Ravi Shastri and Sunil Gavaskar were at it again.

For seasoned viewers of the league, it has become like a game where you guess what they are going to say next. The World Cup victory has brought a halo on them and Sunil Gavaskar seems generally pleased with the world, and has not taken potshots at any Australian cricketer this time.

Studio and Extra Innings: This is something no IPL viewer will ever be able to evade. For a month and a half, he watches Navjot Singh Sidhu. Yes, Navjot Singh Sidhu is still a part of the expert panel. After reports of him having told a fellow commentator “Oye guru, don’t f*ck with me”, Mr. Sidhu is now part of the pre and post match analysis sessions.

Indiaas a nation has learnt to live with Navjot Singh Sidhu. So it is actually fun to watch him draw wonderful similies from thin air, a true artist of the absurd. The cheerleaders are so unexciting, not even the Shiv Sena guys bothered to file a PIL this year.

As a final touch of IPL subtlety, this year Harsha Bhogle and Sunil Gavaskar were wearing kurtas. And just so that you wouldn’t mistake them to be commenting for an ICL match, they had the IPL logo embroidered on their collars and neck.

With two new teams, the IPL has a lot of questions to ask itself. While there will always be speculation about retaining the interest of the viewer, I have a different take on the issue. I watch the IPL for a different reason. IPL isIndia’s show of strength to the cricketing world.

It is the time of the year when the BCCI can jack off its ego in front of the entire cricketing world. The IPL is also the time when every big cricketer in the world is willing to hang up his boots and come to play for a Mukesh Ambani. When South African fast bowler Wayne Parnell says Ashish Nehra is his role model. What greater revenge can India take on Symonds, than to make him share the dressing room with Bhajji for more than a month? Smile and bear it, buddies. But we have the money, and after years of sledging, and abusing, and using mental disintegration techniques, you now play for us. After retiring from your own teams.

Well, I know this is a little pompous thinking. I dont own the Mumbai Indians, but at least there is a deep sense of satisfaction, when I see all these guys – Ponting, Gilchrist, Symonds, and McGrath going ‘under the hammer’, quite literally. And see them appear in tacky advertisements for the money. I hope some Indian company signs Ponting for an ad where he gets kissed by Rakhi Sawant, just for the kick of it.

So it was fun while it lasted. See you guys again next year, slogging your asses off so that Subrata Sahara Roy or Mukesh Ambani can earn some money.

Now, lets get back to reruns of Dharam Veer and No Entry on Sony Max.