February 21, 2020
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Ravi Shastri

Of course, it is possible to win a game armed with nonchalance. But you have to be aggressive.

Ravi Shastri
Illustration by Saahil
Ravi Shastri

I am not bothered with anything. TWhen the breakfast Spanish omelet tasted like the one at Bhendi Bazar; I threw it against the wall. he waiter brought me a fresh, fierce-looking one, humming a suitably aggro tune. Well, the MD of the Indian team had to be aggressive. On the morning of the Sydney Test, Murali Vijay in the slips dro­pped a simple catch. He was not bothered. I had told the team that I am not bothered about the scorecard, but do be aggressive. Murali dropped a sitter, picked the ball up, spat on the turf and did a war dance. The Aussies were stunned; I applauded. It was the ‘aggro’ I demanded.

But how the spirit has caught on! This morning I used so much of it while writing the secret diary that the pen broke, the sheet was torn. When I told this to Virat, he applauded. You see, Virat is aggro personified. We are now down 0-2 in the series but am I worried? Ha, ha. Under my managing directorship, the boys are so ‘aggro’ on the field that they sneer, snarl, pump their fists, and run round and round without a reason to celebrate. I asked the BCCI to get the team some famous ‘war dance’ gro­ups for inspiration before the World Cup.

Will that enable us to win the Cup? Ha, silly question. Take a cue from what I told the media about winning the Sydney Test: ‘We are going there wit­h­out a care. We will try to win the game. To hell with the scoreline!’  Of course, it is possible to win a game armed with nonchalance. But you have to be aggressive. The openers could be out first ball; I don’t care. Provided they show the damn Aussies they know the business of agg­ression. An aggressive ‘duck’ means more to me than a staid century. Now my bowlers know that it is okay not to take wickets and concede 70 runs in ten overs provided they glare menacingly at the batsmen, muttering obscenities. Look, to begin with, I was a timid tailender, a wee spinner. But I watched dozens of Shiv Sena bandhs and ‘demos’ where they razed their way to power. Aggro pays; it was a lesson.

There were other factors too. Sunil Gavaskar, Don of Mumbai cricket, took me under his wings and I had no worries thereafter. Why, with my defensive approach, I could even open and bat with eyes closed. Once I hit a Delhi bowler for six 6’s, equalling a world record held by Sobers. But to be aggro, a bit of luck is needed. At the Benson & Hedges tournament, Sunil asked me to open with Srikkanth, who was in great form. I hung around, scored a lot of runs and won the Audi. It was tempered aggro. In the BCCI and IPL tamasha, I was everywhere and like a tracer bullet hit the bulls-eye with my aggression. What more can I ask for?

The Mumbai-based satirist is the creator of ‘Trishanku’; E-mail your secret diarist: vgangadhar70 [AT] gmail [DOT] com

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