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Srini (BCCI president N. Srinivasan) phoned me the other day. Told me his favourite baby, the IPL, will be expanded by one more team to be chosen from among 10 cities. Naturally, Ahmedabad led the list. Not for nothing am I the president of the Gujarat Cricket Association. I am crazy about sports but had to refuse the chairmanship of the Gujarat Baseball League sponsored by the super-rich motel-owning NRI Patels of Nadiad because the Yanks still don’t allow me into their country. And baseball is their national game!
We are all ready to enter IPL, the money asked for is chicken feed. Our team and its sponsors are raring to go. I have named the team Naroda Patiya Jackals because for me, Naroda Patiya is punya bhoomi, as sacred as Sabarmati ashram. The local players list is ready and the captain is the great Babu Bajrangi, a hero to all of us, who can do many things, including playing cricket. Srini wondered how he could play cricket being lodged in jail. Arre Baba, don’t you know how people in Delhi, Haryana, Amritsar and other places in jail for the same type of offences were always out on parole as and when they pleased and enjoying life. Woh, Jessica Lal wala, Manu Sharma, Punjab Akali stalwart and SGPC boss, some Bibi, jailed for murdering her daughter (our Bajrangibhai never did that). So Babu Bajrangi will be playing cricket, leading our team. We all know cricket in India is more important than our judicial system and some silly life imprisonment. Since Bajrangi is lodged in Sabarmati jail, we can easily prepare cricket pitches and organise adequate practice for him. And I am negotiating with Ravi Shastri and Sunil Gavaskar to coach them. Five crores each should do the trick. Our local boys will be Patels, many of them immortalised in Naroda Patiya heroics.
Now for team selection, the foreign professionals. I wanted Larwoodbhai, Jeff Thomsonbhai, Charlie Griffithbhai, they were men who could draw blood on the pitch. That excites me. What a pity Larwoodbhai is dead but the Naroda Jackals will get the other two as coaches. Srini was full of praise and admiration for my team. Arun Jaitley, president of Delhi Cricket Association, welcomed my initiative. My table is groaning under the weight of congratulatory messages from the Ambanis, Ratan Tata, Mittals, Jindals and every other top industrialist. They all want to be part of Naroda Patiya Jackals and I have to work this out. That said, my IPL entry has upset some people. (Someone told me that Teesta Setalvad has stopped eating after hearing the news. Good for her.) Our captain Babu Bajrangi is eager to get going and assures me he has not forgotten his skills in cutting, chopping, gouging and bashing (I mean the cricket ball).
The Mumbai-based satirist is the creator of ‘Trishanku’; E-mail your secret diarist: vgangadhar70 AT gmail.com