Welcome to India’s latest reality show—-“Will You Go Tomorrow, Tick Tick Tick Tick” (inspired by the iconic “If you come tomorrow”) presented by the same guys who brought you “Kamzor Kuri Kaun”, “Kaun Banega Laxmipati” and “Jeeto Thappad Marke”. For those of you who haven’t tuned in before, in every show, we kick out, based on popular opinion, one member of the Bangalore Royal Challengers team.
A quick recap. Yesterday the team member who lost his job was Charu Sharma, the CEO of the franchise. Yes the same Charu Sharma who sat to the left of Mandira Bedi in Extraa Innings, the host with a penchant for talking a lot about “nothing at all”, a man whose bald pate sometimes out-glistened in its smoothy roundness the things that Mandira Bedi brought to the table.
Well to be exact Charu Sharma was not really “fired”. According to the official version, Charu Sharma left for personal reasons—-reasons that were so personal even the person himself didn’t know what they were.
And today with yet another embarassing loss to a team also scraping the bottom of the IPL barrel, it is time for the Bengaluru Boys to lose one more item of clothing.
So which one will it be?
Candidate Number 1: Venkatesh Prasad. The former Indian slow leg-cutter and current coach of the Royally Challenged has already been on the chopping block and narrowly missed elimination last time. And if we are to believe Jang, the great Pakistani news outlet, the way Prasad escaped elimination was by saying “sorry” to franchise-owner Vijay Mallya. [Picture to left taken may have been taken while apologizing to Mallya]
Bangalore Royal Challengers sacked its CEO Charu Sharma for benching Misbah-ul-Haq while coach Venkatesh Prasad saved his job by apologizing for ignoring the Pakistani player, according to media reports in Karachi.
The Jang claimed the decision to keep Misbah on the bench in some of the IPL matches led to Sharma’s ouster and according to the report, Prasad too was on his way out before he tendered an apology and escaped a similar treatment.
According to the daily, Prasad was sacked by the owner of the Bangalore team, Vijay Mallya, but the coach later apologised and agreed to set things right due to which his termination orders were taken back
We now know that Prasad never even meant his apology. If he did, how can you explain that in the next match against Kolkata, Misbah-ul-Haq was again benched in favor of the sedentary Chandrapaul ?
Candidate Number 2: Martin Crowe. [Pictured here, pre-hair transplant, when he used to look like Charu Sharma’s long-lost angsty twin] The former New Zealand captain and mega-brain was brought in to “be a backroom player for Bangalore, handling key responsibilities in cricket and marketing”. That the Bengalurus have been behind the eight ball throughout the tournament, consistently exhibiting the worst strategies of all the teams (including the Knight Riders) points to the fact that Mr. Crowe’s strategic acumen has also withered away at the follicles.
Is it time to shear Mr. Crowe off? If Charu Sharma’s dismissal was, to translate a medievally sexist Bengali proverb a means to “send a message to the wife by beating the maid” the question remains as to what is it that prevents Martin Crowe from also being given a bottle of Kingfisher and a “Best of luck for the future” message?
Of course we know that firing him won’t solve Bangalore’s problems. Just like Charu Sharma’s pink slip did not. But then that’s not really the point of the game.
Candidate Number 3: Rahul Dravid A captain is as good as his team. True. But what if the team was handpicked by the captain based on the principle that good Test batsmen are good Twenty20 bashers too ? Rahul Dravid’s team of plodders have become the laughing stock of the franchise. It’s not that God has been totally unkind: Wasim Jaffer got injured and could make a face-saving exit from the roster. But then, in a macabre display of”sticking to one’s guns” Dravid has persisted with his chosen ones—-giving chances to the Chandrapauls and the Kalli-es while keeping the Whites and the Misbahs on the bench.
And the less said about his own adjusting to the game, the better. In the March 8th match against Kolkata Knightriders, at a time when Ganguly was bowling, Dravid allowed the struggling (and boy are they still struggling) Knight Riders to get a stranglehold of the game with a most insipid 5 runs off 11 balls in a 16 over game. And this was when only two wickets had been lost, as he kept on wasting deliveries while White and Kohli rested their heels in the pavilion, still to bat.
So does the captain sink with the ship?
Is it time to send this icon to the Recycle Bin of Twenty20?
Candidate Number 4: Vijay Mallya: India’s Donald Trump. The owner of the franchise. While bringing Washington Redskin cheerleaders may or may not have been a masterstroke, Mr. Mallya has surely been bested by the other celebrity team owner, Shahrukh Khan. Both of them have the weakest/most overpriced teams in the tournament and yet while Shahrukh has been supportive in the true sense of the term of his under performing players, sending consolatory SMS-es and reportedly teaching them dance steps even when chips are down, Mallya has not been perceived to be as gentle, at least publicly. And if he thought that firing Charu Sharma and sending a message was going to scare his players into performing, well then this undoubtedly successful businessman seems to believe in treating champion players and management trainees all the same. Which on current evidence does not seem to be working.
Chandrapaul, Kallis and their ilk are all great cricketers and it is not their fault that Twenty20 is not their game. If there is anyone at fault, it’s the people who chose them in the first place and put them in the wrong combinations. And Dr. Mallya, being one of the people in the initial selection team, should concentrate his ire, justified as it is, on these people—even if it includes himself.
Candidate Number 5: Katrina Kaif. Brand ambassador.
When your brand ambassador is seen to be canoodling with the brand ambassador of the Delhi Daredevils (look at the guy to the right of the picture and his stunned expression), then I think a line has been crossed.
While we may forgive bald smooth-talkers without an iota of cricket knowledge, a hair-transplanted strategic genius who has lost his way, an Indian cricketing great all at sea in a format that disturbs him greatly and a franchise owner who has paid millions for a snake-oil team, there is absolutely no redemption for a comely brand ambassador who is publicly seen sharing such close physical space with a competing franchise personality.
So whom do you want to see go—come tomorrow?
Don’t wait . Send in your votes….the clock is going tick tick tick tick.