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Have you been approached by the Mumbai Indians yet?

by Gaurav Sethi

Mumbai Indians' pursuit of Sir Donald Bradman as their mentor-in-chief has never been documented. Unlikely as it sounds, it never happened. The Don’s time was way ahead of the IPL. Countless others such as Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Anil Kumble, John Wright, Jonty Rhodes and Robin Singh were far luckier. Give it a few more years and Bhajji will join his Sachin Paaji on that watchful bench, with Pragyan Ojha as his apprentice. Match after match, these fine cricketers squat in that Mumbai Indians’ dugout with an intensity only an Ambani can afford. The Mumbai bench extends to old faithfuls Sunny bhai and brother Ravi in the com box. There’s Nita bhabhi and her sons, and on occasion Mukesh bhai too. And what better if the match is at Wankhede. We are family.

On the field, the Mumbai Indians are stuck in a time warp – after years, there’s still a plan underfoot to eke out a return on investment from Kieron Pollard. For years he batted so low, you’d think he was being saved for the IPL after party. And when he did surface, so did the bouncer or a spinner with guile. In between there were petrified IPL virgins sacrificed on the altar of Pollard the match winner. In 2010, Michael Holding said, "Pollard in my opinion is not a cricketer". Since his international debut in 2007, Pollard is yet to play a single Test. By the look of it, it’s doubtful he ever will. Once retired, he too may find himself on the MI-bench.  Position – Catching coach. Key areas – Acrobatic catch, the dodgy ones on the boundary. Additional responsibilities – how to sledge Australians, especially Shane Watson. Overheard saying, “My moves are better than Dwayne’s”.
Lasith Malinga went easy on his Sri Lanka career, retiring from Test cricket so he could be called the world’s best death bowler in a local league. To extend his IPL career, Malinga could play even fewer matches or none at all. Having captained Sri Lanka, an appointment as the Ceylonese Ambassador on the MI bench appears likely. It’s another thing that apart from Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera there are no Lankans in the IPL. So what if Perera doesn’t play, there are still two MI vs. DD matches for Malinga to pen his "Sri Lankans in the IPL diary". Perhaps even a chapter on MI’s match in Chennai – titled ‘No Sri Lankans in the IPL diary’.  Additional responsibilities – On your toes & off-your-yorker coach and how to mysteriously smile while being smashed around. Overheard saying - “For me, MI stands for Malinga Indians”.
Aaron Finch’s indifferent World Cup run is leading to an even more indifferent IPL run. Form-is-fickle coach for Finch. A largely philosophical assignment, he will speak of his record breaking 156 that was preceded by three single digit scores and followed by yet another such score, only to be followed by two half centuries...there, you get the drift. Position – Hit out or get out coach. Additional responsibilities – help under nourished, uncapped Indians put on weight – Eat right or get out coach. Overheard saying – nothing. 
Corey Anderson, signed on by the Indians after he knocked the fastest ODI century, has mastered the what-am-I-doing here look. Will be Finch’s assistant in the philosophical class. Will also hold special classes for sacrificial virgins (young Indian bowlers in the IPL) on how not to bowl at all by being picked as a flash bat who can bowl a bit. Additional responsibilities – how to keep your chin up and out. Overheard saying – nothing.
Unmukt Chand: English speaking coach. Will introduce the players to the Oxford Dictionary and St Stephen’s college. Additional responsibilities – social media. Overheard saying – stuff nobody understands.
Parthiv Patel: Will screen The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. After the screening will stand there as Display No. 1 and a much younger Display No. 2 barely five minutes later. Additional responsibilities – are you kidding, someone so young? Overheard saying: “Mummy!”
Harbhajan Singh: Once retired, he will sit next to Sachin paaji. They will laugh. Not since VVS and Cheeka will there have been such levity in an IPL dugout. In inner circles it will be rumoured that his position is that of Mental Mentor or MIMM – Mumbai Indians Mental Mentor. Additional responsibilities – lifting, slapping, clapping, other mundane tasks. Overheard saying: “Teri ma ki” or “Monkey” or “Maan ki" or "thank you, Sachin”
Rohit Sharma: Talent Scout. Will solely work on himself. Will continue to scout for hidden talent within. Will spend time behind closed doors with Shastri’s booming voice. Additional responsibilities – to pout. Overheard saying – “Thank you, Ravi!”

First published here

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