(This is a work of fiction).
Following a special committee meeting ‘preponed‘ to Thursday, Hockey India chief Narinder Batra briefed the media on the selection of the men’s hockey coach.
“We have decided to select the late Major Dhyan Chand as the coach of the men’s squad until the 2016 Rio Olympics. We do not need foreign coaches. We have an illustrious forebear to look up to. Dhyan Chand is a source of pride and inspiration for all generations and we believe that he is the best we can present the boys under the circumstances. This is also HI’s way of posthumously honoring the man given the Indian government has yet to make him a Bharat Ratna.”
When asked how the players’ skills are to be honed, given that Major Dhyan Chand is not a living personality, Batra replied:
“India has a proud tradition of guru-shishya relationships. Our boys will be modern-day Ekavalyas to Indian hockey’s Dronacharya. Just like Ekavalya proved himself to be a better archer than Arjun despite the master’s absence, our boys will prove themselves on the hockey field and cover themselves in reflected glory. As a mark of respect to Ekavalya who lost his thumb as ‘guru dakshina’, Hockey India will not accept sponsorship from the Coca Cola company, specifically its brand Thums Up, and will also be banning the hand sign as a congratulatory or celebratory gesture.”
It is learnt that life-size statues of the hockey great have been commissioned and will be installed at every practice field in the country. Smaller sized busts of the major will accompany the team on tour.
“This practice is being tried on a trial-only basis for a period of one year. Should the hockey team fail to perform as expected, more life-size statues and busts may be commissioned of other Indian hockey greats or foreign coaches as desired. The cost savings are substantial and will improve Hockey India and Sporting Authority of India’s finances. This will also still mouths in the media that claim that I have an ego problem and am responsible for a ‘revolving door’ when it comes to selecting and firing key support personnel.”
Major Dhyan Chand’s family members declined to comment when contacted.
Disclaimer: All facts and quotes in this story are made up, but you knew that already, didn’t you?
In a surprise announcement that again bewildered fans and critics, Mahendra Singh Dhoni announced his signing up as a marquee player for Chennaiyin Football Club in the Indian Soccer League (ISL).
The Indian ODI skipper is co-owner of the city club and will now represent the side in the next edition of the football league at the end of this year.
Dhoni announced his retirement from club T20 cricket effectively ending speculation about his future in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The wicket-keeper batsman said:
“I have decided to discontinue my association with Chennai Super Kings and the IPL but my love affair with Chennai continues. I would love to give back to the metropolis that has adopted me with such passion and love over the past eight years. I have always loved playing soccer since my school days. Cricket was a fortuitous accident that has rewarded me in abundance. But I am still young and would love to ,maybe, emulate my idol Sir Vivian Richards who represented Antigua in soccer. I am a sportsman at heart—whatever the game. Soccer will also allow me to use my head more. The two months off from the IPL will be accommodated here. My commitment to the ISL is total and my playing for Team India (cricket) will be scheduled around the ISL league games.”
“I would love to try out my heads, hands and feet at other sports as well. In the future, I will also be looking at Motocross racing and kabaddi as possible outlets for the zing and zest within me.”
Abhishek Bacchan, co-owner of Chennaiyin FC, said:
“We are proud to have MSD as part of the team. We believe that he is a great motivator and can move our franchise right to the top of the league. Besides, after years of practice catching a small, red cricket ball, grasping a larger one under the bar should be a cinch.”
Disclaimer: The personalities are real but the story is fictional. Some facts (and figures) are made up, but you knew that already, didn’t you?
July 15, 2015, Mumbai:
Shilpa Shetty and her husband Raj Kundra announced the making of a soap opera for Indian television titled ‘IPL: Heroes to Zeroes‘.
At a glitzy affair attended by most of the bigwigs in Bollywood, the glamorous actress said:
“S2 Global Productions will be producing a magnum opus on the Indian Premier League, that will begin with its inception in 2008 and end with the current denouement by the Supreme Court on the fate of teams Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals. It will attempt to present our side of the story—the IPL saga from the viewpoint of team owners and their travails and run-ins with the BCCI dictatorship. Raj and I will be portraying ourselves. My husband has always been fascinated with Bollywood and has always wondered if he could romance me onscreen. This is his golden opportunity.
Our friends in Bollywood, Preity Zinta, Shah Rukh Khan and Juhi Chawla have graciously consented to be a part of this venture and play themselves as well. Talks are on with Lalit Modi to have him play a stellar role in the series. His is indeed a unique role. He is both hero and villain. Indian television has never seen such a paradoxical character and we would love to have him on-board. We will be shooting all his scenes overseas and are willing to accommodate his travel schedule while meeting our requirements.
We would love to have Mr. N Srinivasan and his son-in-law Mr. Meiyappan shoot for us as well. But we hope the public understand if that’s not possible.”
Ms. Shetty added:
“The production values for this series are lavish. We estimate that this will an even more expensive affair than Anil Kapoor’s 24. The show will be in Hindi and will be dubbed in the regional languages. We are also looking at international tie-ups for an English version of the series. The series will have several firsts. Each episode will be streamed live on a pay-per-view basis. The publicity will be conducted on social media only. We have a predilection for Twitter and Instagram as our preferred vehicles of choice.
We also hope that our out-of-work IPL crew and team-members will join us. We have starring roles of every member of the CSK and RR franchises. This is our way of ensuring that they do not feel left out in any way. We also have bit roles for the various team cheerleaders and hope that some of them can go on to bigger roles as item girls in Bollywood films. IPL anchors such as Archana Vijay and Shibani Dandekar are also being sought to be narrators for different seasons of the soap.
While we do have screen writers for the scenes and dialogues, the twists and turns in the plot write themselves. Truth in this case is stranger than fiction and we have no qualms in courting it.”
Mr. Raj Kundra said:
“This is a big bet for us. It can make or break our production house.”
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. While the personalities are real , all facts are made up and any resemblance to any persons living or dead is purely coincidental. But you knew that, didn’t you?
Sarbananda Sonowal, Sports Minister of India, reacted swiftly to squash player Ms. Dipika Pallikal’s comments on sportswomen not receiving equal prize money at the Nationals.
“The reason is the same why I haven’t played in the last three years. I feel we deserve equal pay like most of the tournaments which are becoming equal prize money on the PSA professional circuit.
I don’t see why there should be a difference between men and women. I would have loved to play in Kerala and definitely miss playing the Nationals. If women have started getting equal prize money at professional tournaments around the word, why can’t the same happen in India?”
In a circular issued to all the National Sports Federations, the minister said:
“Henceforth, there is to be equal prize money distributed to both men and women players in all national level championships. In fact, there will be no prize money at all for participating in the nationals. This should end the debate about pay parity among the genders.”
While players reacted with shock, awe and disdain in varying proportions, organizers were at a loss as to how to felicitate the winners of these tourneys.
A spokesperson for the Senior National squash championship said:
“We could present ribbons or medals to the victors. Different color ribbons or medals for each place. Other suggestions from our innovators include tees proclaiming, ‘Senior National Squash Championship, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM. I was there. Were you?'”
Organizers at other senior championships were quite enthused about the changes after their initial shock.
“This will allow us to provide athletes two-star , if not three-star, accommodation. No more dingy dormitories or dirty toilets and bathrooms. Every participant will be comfortable with the eating, drinking and living arrangements.”
Some men players were not so pleased.
“If women and men enjoy equality, then why aren’t men players allowed to wear skirts or skorts (i.e. skirts over shorts). This will allow us to move more freely on court. Why are our movements hampered so?”
A spokesman for a leading sports federation responded:
“The men have a point. Abolition of prize money will free up funds to equip our players better. We will be able to provide them designer clothing much like the Indian cricket team. In fact, we have sent out feelers to leading Scottish clothiers seeking quotes for kilts which are truly a unisex form of attire. We hope to be hearing from them soon.”
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. (Some facts and some “quotes” in this article are fabricated but you knew that already, didn’t you?)
I’m not a Formula One fan. I don’t watch the sport on television. It’s booooring.
I see no point in watching one or two cars lead the rest of the field by a wide margin, where the only exciting part is how long each driver spends at a pit-stop. Pit-stops are a science and an art and the team’s mechanics its heroes. It is a sport where the engines maketh the winner and the only skill and challenge in the sport is deciding which tires to use in inclement weather.
There is very little overtaking on the track happening and to watch 60-odd laps hoping such an eventuality occurs is an exercise in futility.
Vijay Mallya lit up the Grand Prix-es with his retort to Bernie Ecclestone’s comment that he has a “crappy product to sell“.
“Uncrap it,” responds the man who left his Kingfisher Airlines employees, creditors and shareholders standing in loads of (you know it, here it comes) excrement.
According to Mallya , the poop has to be sustainable.
“The most important thing is to ensure the sustainability of all teams in Formula One. If that is addressed, as it should be addressed, even the small independent teams can be competitive. If Williams beats Ferrari, it’s exciting. If Force India can beat Mercedes, that is the cherry on the cake!”
Matthew Carter of Lotus complains that to win at shit you have to spend more money.
His exact words:
“To win or get near the podium is pretty much related to how much money you spend. If the technical rules and regulations can be loosened and allow smaller teams to come up with something that isn’t immediately copied by bigger teams, it goes back to the ethos of Formula One. “
Clare Williams of Williams would like to see more people talk positively about stools.
“I watched F1 years ago and thought ‘these cars are amazing, these drivers are fantastic’. And they still are, and we have to remember that. I would like to see more people talking positively about the sport, it’s about pulling together. We should not forget it is an amazing sport. “
Eddie Jordan of the BBC would like fecal matter to be noisy.
“Noise in F1 is something I grew up with and I miss it. I thought noise was an important part of the show and I will always think that. My bigger concern is the engine rule change, particularly the costs. We have to make more heroes in F1 and make the show more appealing globally.”
Mallya additionally wants more positive coverage for feculence.
“Formula One is perhaps the most exciting sport in the world. If Formula One is made sustainable for all participants I think the negativity will be removed.
If the stability of all participants in Formula One is addressed as a matter of priority we will have more exciting racing and we will get a lot more positive media.”
Well, this certainly isn’t it.
PS: Bernie Ecclestone proof-read this piece. His suggestion: Replace ‘Formula One’ with ‘crap’ everywhere.
There have been a couple of tall tales in the Indian media recently.
Two of our very own boys have been selected to play in the National Basketball Association (NBA) league.
Their names: Sim Bhullar and Satnam Singh Bhamara.
One’s Canadian and the other’s from our very own Ludhiana.
Both seven footers. Giants, indeed.
Bhullar plays for Sacramento Kings.
Sacramento? Isn’t that California’s forgotten seat of governance much like Canberra is Australia’s?
Or is that Sacrament-O?
And Dallas Mavericks?
Whoever’s heard of them?
Chirp ‘Dallas‘ and all I can recall is that American soap opera telecast on Star World.
And a maverick? Isn’t that an unbranded calf or yearling? Or isn’t that Mel Gibson portraying the title role in ‘Maverick’?
How Mad Maxingly confounding!
An ABCD (American-Born Confused Desi) tells me that it’s not as perplexing as the NBA draft. I’m told they have a weighted-lottery system that favors the bottomed out—quite unlike the ‘simple‘ auctions at our Modi(l) IPL.
Sim signs on for a week or so and Satnam may never play. Yet, there’s a hoopla here like never before.
There are whispers that it’s all a marketing gimmick to target the extremely long, extremely fat tail that is the Indian market for American basketball.
Whoosh! In goes another three-pointer!
It’s said the two Singh’s can do a Yao Ming for the NBA in the sub-continent.
You’d imagine that two billion plus Indians and Chinese the majority of whom barely top the five-and-a-half foot mark would find it hard to identify with a trio of seven-foot-plus and 20-plus-shod behemoths who themselves belong to a minuscule minority not just in their nations but all across the globe.
Sporting goods marketers expect otherwise.
MakeTimeForSports had the privilege of chatting with legendary India skipper MS Dhoni before the third ODI in Mirpur against Bangladesh.
1) It’s a do-or-die game for you against the Bengal Tigers. You’ve already lost the series, right?
Yes, it’s certainly do-or-dye. I’ve ordered cartons of Bigen hair color for the entire team. Ashwin will color his on the field itself should we suffer another loss.
2) It’s the No.4 slot for you again?
Got to score some runs as a batsman, right? Can’t let Kohli and Shastri have their way, can I? At least, it won’t be that easy to ease me out if I score some. More runs in the kitty, more games to play—no pun intended. Besides, if I play Rahane, Kohli would bat at No.4. In a way, I’m taking his place!
3) What are you not in line for next?
Quite a few things actually. Sports management, commentating and cricket administration.
4) Did you see the above question coming?
But, of course.
5) Will Indian cricket start doing really well if you quit now?
Well… for the next two years, at least. Remember we always play well at home on subcontinental wickets. So yes, but then they’d do well with me at the helm too.
Disclaimer: The character(s) are real but the interview is fictional.
Lalit Modi is making waves not just in the political sphere but also in the travel sphere.
Unconfirmed reports reveal that travel companies Thomas Cook and Cox and King are vying to enlist the former cricket czar as their brand ambassador.
An anonymous source within Thomas Cook confirmed the news.
“Mr. Lalit Modi would be a wonderful emissary for the travel industry and Thomas Cook, in particular. Extensive reportage of his sojourns in the Indian media over the past few days has witnessed an increased interest in packages for exotic locations such as Havana, Cuba, Montenegro, Madrid,Jamaica,Zimbabwe,Pattaya,Seychelles, Serengeti,Venice,Istanbul, Doha, Qatar, Positano, La Coruna, Ibiza, Spain and last, but not least, Portugal. We expect the demand for these destinations to grow exponentially should Mr. Modi agree to our terms. Who are we kidding? Mr. Modi can name his price.”
Cox and Kings representatives expressed similar sentiments.
Meanwhile, ICC chieftain, N Srinivasan, was horrified that his former ally and current foe was visiting countries and places on the fringes of international cricket.
It is learnt that the former BCCI chief is investigating the possibility that Mr. Modi is a front-man for Dr. Subhash Chandra, chairman of the Essel group. The Essel conglomerate is in the news for registering subsidiaries in Australia and New Zealand in an attempt to overthrow the existing cricketing establishment and form a breakaway body that would lure top cricketers into their fold.
“Is Mr. Modi purveying Mr. Chandra’s agenda while purportedly holidaying at these outposts?”
wondered Mr. Srinivasan in a hastily deleted tweet.
“I can visualize the sales pitch—A truly international T20 competition, come with your WAGS. Come one, come all. Beach cricket now not just a dream.”
Meanwhile, in an interview with a leading daily, Ms. Zoya Akhtar thanked Mr. Modi for inspiring the choice of locations for her next film.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. (Some facts and all “quotes” in this article are fabricated but you knew that already, didn’t you?)
What he said:
“People see you in the street, especially fans of your club, and because you’re on the pitch and they see you every week, they think you’re their mate. To me it is a stranger in the street. I’ve been playing football for 18 years and it still surprises me when people come and speak to me. My mates have said I’ll come across as rude and arrogant. It’s not like that. But it’s that initial: ‘Oh, Christ, what do you want me to say?’”
Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper Robert Green is quite certain that television and fame may make you everybody’s bosom pal but it does not make them yours.
Green is not quite keen on becoming a coach-manager and would prefer to play ball in the boardroom instead.
“Eventually I’d like to have some sort of role like a chief executive in a football club.”
Green is pursuing a BA (Hons) in business management (sports and football) from the Open University.
“The speed of how football changes is so fast that to finish playing and still to be able to relate to 18-, 19-, 20-year-old lads, enough for them to like you, to run around for you, is probably beyond my limitations as a person. I think if I want to stay in football then this would be the path that I need to take rather than the coaching side.”
On his first course workshop:
“I sat down at the workshop with the tutor and six or seven other lads who are all football fans and I thought: ‘Hold on a minute, I’ve got half a chance here because I know the outside view is so different to what is going on on the inside.’
I think to be a fan and take over a football club would be great but you’re going to lose your money and you’re going to have a rollercoaster of a ride doing it. So to have someone [working for you] who’s been in that rollercoaster all their life and realises how good clubs operate …
A great model for me is West Brom. When I first started playing at Norwich, West Brom were in the Championship, got promoted, got relegated, got promoted, got relegated, and all the time they were building until they eventually stayed up. The dangerous point is when you try and make those steps like Leeds did by buying all those players in the late 90s and early 2000s, living beyond their means, and that’s when the problems occur.”
Green takes his goalkeeping seriously but does not bring work home.
“I think it’s a self-preservation thing more than anything. I think as a youngster I took myself far too seriously. Now, with experience maybe, having good times, bad times, you think: ’Are you prepared physically and mentally for a game? Yes. Have I done everything I can this week to make myself as good as I can be for this game? Yes. Am I going to try my utmost in this game? Yes.’ Right, that’s all you can do. Could I stop Oscar’s shot in the game at Stamford Bridge? No, because I’d need a four metre extension on my arm.’ It’s managing your own expectations.
If you walked into my house there wouldn’t be one thing to do with football in there. You see people with a room full of their career achievements. Brilliant. Well done. That’s just not something I do. They’re in a bin bag in my mum and dad’s loft. And if I go out, I’ve got the same mates from the Sunday football team when I was a kid. That doesn’t change. They probably hammer me as much as anybody, saying: ‘He’s an oddball.’”
On the infamous lapse that handed the US a 1-1 draw in the 2010 World Cup, how he handles opposition fans and whether his career will be forever defined by that moment:
“I just turn around and give them (hecklers) a yawn sign. It’s something that happened two tournaments ago. We drew the game. We didn’t lose the opening game of the World Cup.
If that happens, fair enough. You can’t argue with apathy. People can say what they want, do what they want, realistically it’s not something that’s going to affect my life.
I actually think it’s going to be good for my children. They are going to ask me one day about it, because some kid is going to Google it and hammer them at school. So it’s a great lesson that you can put everything you can into something for all your life and it’s not always beautiful at the end of it.”
What Green really meant:
“Hey man, it’s called information asymmetry. You know all about me but I know nothing about you. Would you like a stranger chatting you up, in a familiar manner? Would ya, really? Sure, it’s a hazard of fame but don’t let it go to your head.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“I’m the friendliest bloke around. Let’s have a pint of lager anytime.”
Deepika Padukone is a sports lover, biopics or no biopics.
What she said:
“It’s nice that so many biopics are being made, and they are leading to more awareness. But why do we have to wait for a movie to learn more about the sportsperson or sport? It just shows that we don’t encourage our athletes enough.”
Bollywood actor, Deepika Padukone, feels that the big screen should not be the sole medium via which sports stars are lionised for the public.
“If we start writing and talking about them early in their careers, it will be much easier to create awareness about various sports and their champions. Also, I feel the media has a huge part to play in making people aware of our champions. It’s not just cricket, we have so many other sports.”
Deepika is the daughter of former shuttler, Prakash Padukone, the first Indian player to win the All-England Open. He is widely rated India’s best male badminton player ever.
On the Mary Kom biopic:
“But people didn’t know who Mary was. Four-five years back, I think she was a three-time world champion. Now, she is four- or five-time world champion. So, when Priyanka (Chopra) did the film, I thought it would be great as everyone would get to know her.”
What she really meant:
“I’m not just a pretty face, you know. I have sporting genes. That I chose to become a model and actress instead is beside the point.”
What she definitely didn’t:
“Now if I’d only known that I wouldn’t have to wear prosthetic makeup for ‘Mary Kom’, I’d have done the picture in a blink of an eye.”