He tightened the knot of his Versace tie. He put on Gucci shoes. He looked at the time in his Rolex. It was time.
Arnab Goswami had been appointed to coach team India. While his appointment had come as a surprise to the rest of the nation, cricketing fraternity and cricket board welcomed it. Now if team performs badly, they wouldn’t need to face Arnab. The hunter was assuming the position of the hunted now.
Arnab entered the dressing room. For him, it was moving out of his comfort zone. For first time in ages, he was moving in a workplace where cameras and microphone weren’t allowed. For Arnab, they were his oxygen and water – he couldn’t imagine life without these two.
Anyhow, this was a new challenge.
All he could see in the room was cricketing gears thrown around here and there, Virat Kohli putting on some gel on his hair, Gautam Gambhir and Ishant Sharma deeply engrossed in each other’s eyes and Ravindra Jadeja watching the movie 300. Rohit Sharma was frantically searching for something and when asked what he was looking for, he gave a one word answer “Talent”. MS Dhoni was complaining about the pitch at which Ashwin was singing the song Koi Lauta de mere, beete huye din.
It was total chaos, almost.“Gentlemen” said Arnab in his booming voice. No one paid attention.
“Gentlemen” Arnab repeated with higher pitch. Result didn’t change.
He went straight to Virat, put his hand on his shoulder and said Virat.
“Oye hatt #@#@#$!#$ saale Ishant. I am not Gambhir. !@#!@#$ let me style my hair” said Virat while turning back “Hey Arnab dude, the news hour. How are you man?”
“Hi. I am your new coach”
“O teri !@#$#@!%@. You are the new coach. Oh yeah I heard that sometime back. Welcome coach”
“Thanks Virat. Can we have some order in the house please? Can you please ask rest of your colleagues to gather around quietly so that we can have a meeting?”
“Dude, DIY. I mean do it yourself and let me know when you are done. Make sure the meeting is quick. I have a date tonight and don’t want to miss it. Oye bolo Papa Ranjeet ki jai, !@$@$$%”Arnab stood there and watched. It didn't look like if he was going to get any attention. Meanwhile, Awana and Dinda spotted and came to him.
“Sir, coach sir. Dinda. Fast. Bhery Fast sir. Swing also sir. Bhickets in Ranji sir. Bhery promising Bhowler ,sir” said Dinda.
Awana also nodded with every word Dinda said.
“Mr. Dinda” said Arnab in his usual booming tone, “do you think I am blind. Do you think people of India are blind? Do you think our democracy which has been born and bred by millions of patriotic Indians is Nincompoop? In case you think so, you are suffering from enantiomorphism. The people of this country are not dilettantes Mr. Dinda. The people of this country are connoisseurs as far as cricket is concerned. And they are bloody concerned.”
Dinda slowly took a step back. Awana was looking at Arnab, agape.
“When you say you are a fast bowler, do you even know what it means Mr. Dinda? I ask you Mr. Awana, Parvinder Awana. Do you even know what fast means? Do you even know what people of this country expect from a fast bowler?”
By now, Dinda had disappeared. It was just Awana and Arnab. Awana’s face looked flat.
“I am asking you a question Mr.Awana. On behalf of people of India, I am asking you a question? Don’t you feel ashamed? Don’t you feel ashamed that in the name of a medium fast bowler, all you do is run a bit more than the great Anil Kumble and bowl a bit faster than Venketesh Prasad?” Awana’s silence was making Arnab lose his patience. He wasn’t used to of such surrenders. “Answer me Mr. Awana. India demands answers” said Arnab while almost shouting “Are you dumb, Mr Awana?”
Two tears rolled down from Awana’s eyes. He started sobbing.
“Dude, what are you doing!@#$@#$!$?” said Virat as he came running down to wipe off Awana’s tears “He doesn’t know English”
“What? He doesn’t know the language? How the hell we are going to succeed with such illiteracy in the team” Arnab looked shocked.
“We are cricketers, Arnab. We are no journalists writing articles on
Paaji’s leg glance” said Virat.
“But your opponents’ minds are written in English. You need to read them, Mr Virat”
“Do you ever think before you speak?” asked a stern Dhoni.
“Here he comes, the captain cool – Mahinder Singh Dhoni. Mr Dhoni, may I request you to call upon your colleagues so that we can have a team meeting?”
Everyone gathered around Arnab.
“No, no. Please don’t encircle me gentlemen” said Arnab. Virat moved out the circle first and he was followed by Gambhir. Ah, he wants to meet the gentlemen only, thought Virat.
“Please arrange a banana shape table. I will sit at one end and all of you sit in the rest of the chairs. That is how I do my meetings” said Arnab.
The meeting started.
“Mr. Dhoni. I would like to start with you. Will you be kind enough to tell us all, the people of India, that why are we not winning? Despite the fact that our board is the richest in the world, despite the fact that we get to play in world’s most wanted cricket league, despite the fact that we have God on our side, despite the fact that we have so much talent in the side” said Arnab which brought a sheepish smile on Rohit Sharma’s face.
“We have been battered in the recent past. Our hopes have been crushed under the crusaders of pace bowling, our wishes have been bulldozed by the juggernauts of the batsmen in opposition, and our eyes have wept like an infant by this side’s laughable fielding. Laughable, did you gentlemen hear the word? It has been laughable” continued Arnab while shaking his head “May I have some answers Mr. Dhoni”
“Well off course…” started Dhoni and was interrupted immediately by Arnab.
“No Mr Dhoni. You cannot do that. You cannot keep doing it. You cannot use the word well any more. It is high time you start to dwell instead of saying well all the time. Please leave that job to Mr Shukla” Arnab continued “May I ask you Mr Gambhir. What is the reason that suddenly, from a fighting tiger, you have become a leech on team’s batting”
“Well, I am just a century away from my form” said Gambhir.
“You, Mr Gambhir, are not a century away. It is because of your irresponsible, and I repeat, irresponsible batting that we look like a century away from winning. Just to make it clear to you Mr Gambhir, by century I mean century of years and not the runs you may make”
Arnab continued his motivational lecture. He randomly picked up the cricketers and told them about what he and the people of India think and expect.
At the end of the table, it was Sehwag. Right since Arnab had entered the room, Sehwag had been sleeping. In fact he was put on the chair by others but he didn’t wake up.
“He was practicing till 4 in the morning. Let’s wake him up only if it is absolutely necessary” was what others had told Arnab.
By now, Arnab’s patience had run out. He never believed that Sehwag would have been practicing till 4 in the morning. That was not the Sehwag everyone knew. But it was the manner in which he was stopped from waking him up that had stopped Arnab.
“Mr Sehwag, it is high time you must wake up. People of India are awakening against the capitalist society in Indian cricket team. It is high time and you must wake up. How long we, this country, the people of India, can tolerate your irresponsible behavior, how long you can keep donning Indian cap with pathetic level of fitness, how long we can tolerate you typical excuse of playing the natural game. Wake up Mr Sehwag, how long we can tolerate your incompetency in the name of see the ball, hit the ball theory” Arnab started shaking Sehwag’s body “Mr. Sehwag, I don’t want to sound like a martinet but in my regime, discipline will rule. You will wake up on time, sleep on time. You will practice on time. Your see it, hit it theory will just not work Mr Sehwag. Wake up. People of India want you to wake up Mr Sehwag. You need to go for net practice. You need to sharpen your instincts. Without that, even your see it, hit it theory is useless”
Suddenly Arnab felt as if he was in universe and his head was surrounded by stars.
“Mr Sehwag. You hit me? Why the hell”
“Oh Arnab, it is you. Sorry. I just saw you. Sorry boss, I need to go to practice. See it, hit it theory may not work, always. In fact I am not sure if it works even now” said Sehwag and off he went.
Arnab’s right cheek had become blue by now. It was bleeding blue
To be continued…