This was expected. After a debacle as bad as it was, people had to find reasons behind it. Be it bad batting, poor bowling, lack of spine, IPL, pitches, politics, captaincy, aftermath of policy paralysis during UPA regime, failure of NDA government, lack of oxygen on Mars or anything else. Hence, question of presence of WAGs with players, especially when a Bollywood actress was involved, had to come up.
Were they, the women, reason behind failure?
Did Anushka’s lip-job result in Virat’s monumental decline in form?
Were Gambhir & Ishant distracted because women were accompanying the team?
Was Pujara more worried about booking a table in some restaurant for some candle light dinner rather than how Anderson might bowl?
Were they really a distraction?
I don’t think so.
Well, they’ve been blamed in the past for the same – the women I mean. Here is a look back on some of such instances when women made an impact on men’s cricket.
Tracer Bullet Vs Mard Singh – News from the center was that Ravi Shastri, Kirti Azad and Amrita Singh formed a love triangle or something like that. However, someone had to give up and all three results were possible – who would give up. As it turned out - in the end, Ravi Shastri was the real winner. I just get the feeling that it was Amrita Singh who smashed and smashed hard at him. This affair hogged all the possible limelight in 80s. However, Amrita Singh broke up with Ravi Shastri to marry a Saif Ali Khan. As Saif grew younger, he realized he was no mug with the bat, divorced Amrita Singh to marry a decade younger Kareena Kapoor – maybe to average out women in his life.
Couple of years back, even Ravi Shastri had filed for divorce and I don’t know the result of that. Who knows what future holds? Maybe the love birds of 80s are destined to meet and mate again. Will there be another twist in the tale?
Azhar – Bijlani – Azhar was married, happily. I am not too sure about Sangeeta Bijlani. Yet, the rumors were too strong to be ignored. Sangeeta was seen watching India-SL semi-final in WC1996 in Eden. Some termed it as bad omen which was behind India’s loss –having an extra marital affair is morally wrong as per the yardsticks of society we live in. Azhar got a divorce. He married Sangeeta. Match fixing scandal happened. Sangeeta Bijlani’s picture with a man who was alleged to be a bookie made rounds. That added fuel to fire. Hell broke loose. Azhar was banned. The couple took the backseat. They have been living happily ever after.
Yuvraj Singh – Deepika Padukone – Well, Virat should have seen it coming. This has happened earlier. After being briefly linked with Dhoni, Deepika was seen dining and wining with Yuvraj during India’s tour of Australia in 2008. Yuvraj, was fresh from his heroics of T20WC2007. Alas, the test series which was supposed to establish Yuvraj in Indian middle order proved to be disastrous. ODI series which followed the test series sounded better not because it was. ODI series looked better for Yuvraj because test series was completely forgettable.
Wasn't Kohli hero of India’s campaign in T20WC2014? But for hopeless batting by, oh well, Yuvraj in the final, India may well have lifted the cup. Maybe during the match Yuvraj passed on the bug of 2008 to Kohli. Girlfriend travelled with him to England. Form remained at home.
Noodle Straps – Mandira Bedi is the only name in this list who isn't remembered for wrong reasons. Mandira Bedi was biggest star of WC2003 after Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and South African calculators. With her, Sony Max tried to sell cricket like cricketainment – though they devised the name later. Well, they had tried doing it an year earlier in champion’s trophy. But WC2003 was bigger and better. It had Mandira. Legend has it that India’s performance in a match had a direct relation with Mandira’s dressing – people were either happy on both the fronts or sad. I hope you get what I mean.
Not just that, Mandira created history in another way. Chinese might have made noodles famous but Mandira innovated, added straps to the noodles and made noodle straps famous. She did her job wonderfully well. As Harsha Bhogle once put it – “Good part about her job was that she didn't try to become a cricket expert. She would have failed had she done that. She tried being a presenter and did it extremely well”. It wouldn't be wrong to say that in WC2003, Mandira wasn't just a presenter, she was presented too and was presented well.
Anushka Sharma – Last but not the least is Anushka. Well, we all know her story, don’t we? As correctly conveyed by this article in faking news – it is wrong to blame her for Virat’s failure. Do we blame Virat for Anushka’s poor acting?
I have said it earlier. I will say it again. Problem is not with Anushka. Secret of misery lies in her surname – Sharma. From Chetan Sharma’s last ball in 1986 to Ishant’s hairdo to Rohit’s abundance of talent, this word Sharma has been the bane of Indian cricket. Keep it away from cricket I say. We shall do just fine.
BTW, if you search for pictures of Munaf Patel's wife, you will find pictures of Bobby Darling. Ho figure.
PS: If your surname happens to be Sharma, let me remind you that pun is intended. Even if you are offended otherwise, please don’t be. Offence wasn’t meant. Pun was.