Image via Wikipedia
(First published on maketimeforsports.com)
My dog, Bolshoi , the Boxer, is quite peeved with me.
How do I know that?
Well, for one, he keeps giving me these dirty looks, looks that would have you believe that I am going to eat up everything that is laid in his name-plated bowl.
Dog-food is not quite my idea of haute cuisine but try to convince Bolshoi , the Boxer, otherwise.
Secondly, he keeps scratching at my chair , making these howling sounds , that have me cursing in exasperation while composing an XSLT sheet. If composing XSLT seems relatively obscure or arcane, do not worry your head over it. Let me just say that it is a task only a little more onerous than writing about the IPL.
“That’s it" cries out Bolshoi, “you have not written an iota about the IPL this week. Don’t you know that Kochi have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and are now a bonafide franchisee? The Gaikwads have watered down their sweat equity , and now everything’s hunky-dory with Shashi Tharoor and Sunanda Pushkar.”
“Yes, I know about that, but I have written reams in the run-up to the governing council’s decision that this did not quite seem as really breaking News".
“That’s what you say! Admit that you could not foretell this turn of events. And now you’re ashamed to let your readers know. Who do you think you are? You keep your readers hanging in suspense about the fate of the eighth wonder!”
“Hey, I say, hold on a second. The Kochi team’s reinstatement made world headlines. Me writing a small column or not was not going to make much of a difference! Besides, I’m just a blogger, who opines on televised events, not a derring-do reporter or investigative journalist.”
Bolshoi barks loudly, a loud snorting bark, and I know he is laughing out loud.
“What’s so funny?”
“Well, that’s what I told you but you never listen.”
And I must admit he’s right. I never pay attention to BB—to my later dismay. He’s never upset about it because he can always do his “I told you so” routine which I suspect he enjoys much more than giving me advice I habitually discard.
“And more importantly, I have been busy with other things.” I try to make myself sound important.
“Then, you don’t know that only 12 players have been retained by the IPL franchises? How will you write your weekly B/R column?”
He continues without waiting for a reply.
“Only 12 players retained out of a possible 32. How can KKR be so cruel to Ganguly? A Bengali disowned by a Kolkatta team!”
Bolshoi is a strong believer in regional chauvinism. He marks his domain daily.
“And Yusuf Pathan cannot be accommodated by the Rajasthan Royals. After all those hurricane innings for them and his recent bravura performance for India in the 4th ODI against New Zealand.
That reminds me, you have not written about the India-New Zealand ODI series either.”
“I’ve told you before, I’m not a news agency. And I prefer Tests to ODIs. “ I beg to differ.
“But why not? It’s not like you have a 9-to-5 job or have a job at all? You could just blog all day.
I bet you don’t even know the names of the players who have been retained by the franchises.”
Bolshoi hates my tardiness—even more with his meal-times.
“It’s four each by the Mumbai Indians and Chennai Superkings. Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh – among Indians and two foreign players – Kieron Pollard and Lasith Malinga to MI and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Murali Vijay and Proteas’ all rounder Albie Morkel to CSK.”
Bolshoi is a Mumbai Indian fan.
“Do you know that only three Indians can be retained by a franchise?” he adds.
I try to stave off the barrage of information. When Bolshoi gets going, it’s worse than being spammed. With email, automated filters can be set up. The only way to get Bolshoi to shut up is to feed him.
“The two Shanes, Warne and Watson have been retained by Rajasthan Royals. Sehwag will captain Delhi Daredevils and Virat Kohli continues with Royal Challengers Bangalore.” Bolshoi continues.
“Aha, I know what you’re thinking. How can Rajasthan Royals keep their players when the auction come along in Jan? What will happen if the arbitration process goes against them? Or for the matter, Kings XI Punjab?” The smirk on Bolshoi’s pug-face is more than I can bear.
I silently curse the day I picked up this little Boxer pup. He has grown to read my thoughts before they’re formed.
“The BCCI are so much more clever than any of the investors. Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI have to put up a bank guarantee of $1.8 million before they can participate in the player auctions. This is to ensure that no player is short-changed or left in the lurch. The BCCI are protected, the players get their cut and the only ones getting the stick are the franchise owners. Now, that’s what I call risk management (RM). You should elaborate on that. I didn’t quite like the last piece on IPL and RM. This is much better.”
I rue the day Bolshoi learnt to read over my shoulders. My ever-present critic is well-pleased with himself. Bolshoi, the Boxer, is licking himself all over.
“And, you know, that no one wants to touch Kings XI Punjab? The players, I mean. None of the cricketers said yes to re-joining the team. Just goes to show that if you don’t pay the kiddos but have already made plans to sell your shares , the kiddos are not willing to play ball or for that matter, cricket.”
Bolshoi tends to become increasingly condescending as he gets his teeth into the meat of the topic. My eyes start to roll. BB knows that it’s time to land the sucker punch.
“Just imagine, if both Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab win their cases, then the IPL will have 10 teams as originally envisaged. Just makes you wonder what the whole rigmarole was for! A case of politics triumphing over common sense.”
I utter a shrill shriek and topple over in a faint.
Quote of the day:
If your parents never had children, chances are you won’t, either. – Dick Cavett