Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The London riots

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We @ Opinions are very concerned over the riots in London and the safety of our cricketers with word that the violence has spread to even Birmingham, the venue of 3rd Test of the ongoing Pataudi Trophy. With England a mere 20 wickets or 4-5 sessions of Indian batting resistance away from the number #1 ranking, conveniently our thoughts (and prayers) are reserved for the safety of our players and rankings seem such a flimsy thing to be worrying about.

And we are not alone.

At a press event scheduled to officially count down India's last remaining sessions as the World's best cricket team, BCCI President Shashank Manohar was asked a question on the actions the board is taking to ensure player safety. When a journalist mentioned "riots" the President jumped instantly..."Riots, what riots? The Champions League will go ahead as planned. These riots are illegal, we oppose them and we will get them banned. We have 40 days before the Champions League starts and we will ban all riots to ensure a smooth tournament"

When reminded that the question was specifically about the riots in London, he said..."Well we haven't heard anything from the English board. We can't govern based on what is written in the papers and shown on television. Its all hacked you see. There has been no communication from the ECB so as far as we are concerned there are no riots. In any case its their internal matter, we don't want to interfere".

The press then challenged The President...but aren't you worried about the safety of our players?

"Look, we don't force players to play. If they feel that security is not proper, they can ask for permission to be sent home. It is up to the players. Security is a personal matter. We can't force people to feel secure. Its against our policy"

When asked about the possibility of India losing the #1 ranking to England, The President gave the journalists a lesson in business. "What #1? Look, we don't like the #1 ranking. Its still not perfect. We have to spend millions of dollars in sending a team early to tours instead of expanding the IPL. In return we get no new sponsors. Being number #1 is a loss making venture. We don't support it". 

Speaking on television, "independent BCCI cheerleader" Ravi shastri ripped into fellow commentator Naseer Hussain, suggesting that the riots have been staged to disrupt India's preparation for the 3rd Test. "The important thing for India is to keep their eye on the ball. England knows nothing about being #1. Its India's ranking to lose. The first hour will be crucial, if India can start aggressively, then there's nothing that can stop them. Not even the riots. Aggression is the key here. If anything India must learn from the people rioting. Its about aggression".

When asked about the possibility of England claiming the #1 ranking from India, Ravi Shastri thundered... "England are jealous. We have the IPL. I don't understand why England complains about the BCCI. The BCCI is the #1 board in the world. Now is a good time to be Indian and Naseer is only half-Indian". 

At the team hotel, as the players were huddled in the lobby, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, when asked about the rioting in London wore a quizzical look. "You guys are catching the riot story now? There is strong evidence that the rioting started since Day 1 @ the Lord's...Thanks, I want to head to my hotel room....."

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