October 19, 2011


After "monkey-gate" in 2007 comes "donkey-gate" in 2011. Despite their volatility, there cannot be two more different characters than Harbhajan Singh and Nasser Hussain. Having said that, I am frankly tired of the fuss made out of Hussain's remarks. To dilute the pointless rage a bit, here's a funny take on the issue - some fictitious reactions from real people who have a stake in Indian cricket.

Shastri's words accuses Hussain of one of seven sins; and an eighth - envy towards his own commentary: 

"Nasser Hussain is jealous of everything in Indian cricket - their former number one ranking, their present status as World Champions, the IPL, attractive (read ear-offending) new words that have been contributed to the Queen's Language like DLF-er, the BCCI's stand on the DRS, Mumbai cricket, Sachin Tendulkar and most importantly the way I say tracer bullet. All of Indian commentariat will take up issue against anyone calling Indian cricketers by name... beg your pardon, names!"

Navjot Sidhu as always delights us with his word play:

"You remember the 2002 Natwest final my friend? Two young Turks using their bats as if they were bazookas and the English team were terro...," - and quickly checks himself remembering Dean Jones' fate after calling Hashim Amla a terrorist on air - "terrace players on tiny little lanes in Tate Square?"  NJ  probably added that for alliteration but how a Square can have streets is beyond us! "Hussain's paying back through words now. But as they say," - as always Sidhu does not say who? - "a man who pays for deeds with words is like a mirror that does not reflect."

Kris Srikkanth is, well, Kris Srikkanth:

"Arrey yaar! I am the Chief Selector, not the team manager - yes, yes Chennai Super Kings won the last IPL and will win the next one too. Anirudha is a class player, man. This Naaser," - pronounces it acutely like the name of an actor from the south - "bhaai no, when he was a boy he was fond of Chepauk but after going to England...," - and as always jumps topic without giving us a clue - "Yes, yes to call any Indians a donkey is not right yaar especially when we have Tendulkar who has scored a double-hundred." Some journos try to inform him that SRT was not in the ODI team in England but Kris has a call - either a fake one or from N. Srinivasan.

Lalit Modi tweets:

"As fmr bs of IPL I'd v hd Swn, Brd, Ck playing. Husn wunt hv cld us Dada not donkey." Mr. Modi. One clarification: even if you were the boss of IPL, you didn't pick teams, or did you?

N. Srinivasan (after his call with Kris Srikkanth):

"Bearing in mind the professionalism we want to bring to the running of the board and the team, we have just advised everyone in the selection committee, team coaching committee, present and past and future, team and organised groups of fans to never issue press statements. We will definitely conduct a lexical and legal enquiry into Hussain's use of the offending word," - Mr. Srinivasan is too uppity to even bring himself to say it -"but we continue to be in consensus over the fact that the team's performance in England requires no investigation, that the ICC is right in removing the mandate on DRS and that Gideon Haigh is... never mind. We also do not have any conflict of interest," concludes the BCCI President heading to a court hearing. 

We just hope James Sutherland, CEO of Cricket Australia, does not hear Srini speak; he's quite elaborate as it is.

Viswanathan Radhakrishnan (cricket host and expert, Neo cricket):

"It's incredible isn't it how the Indians, the World Champions, have sl...umped to no. 5 and England have played some outste...nding cricket haven't they?" Arun Lal tries to say something but Mr. Radhakrishnan goes on. "However, the question is: is Nasser Hussain justified in claiming that the Indian team... has... some..." Fans wonder why there cannot be a blackout like the one in the Sky studio.

Shahrukh Khan, part-time actor, owner KKR:

"Heyyyyy, hey, hey, chill guys. I am Bollywood's Baadshah and I say every Indian in the Indian team is a superstar. Take KKR...," tapers off remembering that KKR's most successful player has been Jacques Kallis. What is with South Africans and other countries? ;)
Mandira Bedi:

"Ajanta Rahane," - ma'am that's Ajinkya -"what a player he is! I cannot understand how Hussain can call Indian players donkeys." Indeed, just like we do not understand how you have been allowed to host or co-host cricket-related shows for so long.

Barkha Dutt:

"Gentlemen, the point is at a time like this, when the Indian team was already facing a huge crisis such as the loss of key players, the loss of number 1 ranking, the loss of the World Cup gloss," -strictly in that order it appears - "and, of course, the 4-0 loss in the test series, was Nasser Hussain morally right in calling Indian fielders donkeys? We will first go across to our cricket correspondent in Chennai..."

Rajdeep Sardesai (threatening the glass panel on TV screens as always):

"We have completely run out of time. The verdict: 88 % says Hussain was wrong 11.5 % says maybe and .5 %... well. Mr. Hussain... you owe... the aam aadmi, the commoner in the street, the fans across the country shouting whenever an Indian takes a wicket or a catch," - well that was the point of Hussain's comment wasn't it? -"you owe them an apology. On that note, it's goodnight."

Rahul Dravid:

"Look there's not much you can do about it. We just have to go there and do what we are good at and let the others do their job. I dropped a few dollies myself in the test series," - smiles -"and we have to work really hard on our fielding. I sometimes wish fielding is like batting, it would help me concentrate more."

As diplomatic as ever, Dravid does not mention either Hussain by name or the donkey remark. After a polished statement, he signs off with a repetition of his success mantra.

Dravid's fellow test debutant of sixteen years ago and these days a refreshingly honest voice in the commentary box, Sourav Ganguly is precise - but confuses his pronouns as usual:  

"That's the Indian team at its worst. This is Hussain at its best!"

h. i. s Dada, "his", not "its".

Nothing in Indian cricket is every complete without a gig and/or a word from our Prince from Kerala. This is what Santhakumaran Sreesanth had to say repeating his famous line, and in the process giving the former English skipper some advice:

"Silence is the speech of the spiritual seeker. I hope Hussain goes to the Himalayas or Dharamshala to get some inner peace. After all, even the great Tamil superstar Mr. Rajnikanth does it!" 

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