If Ravi Shastri thought he’d suggest Virat Kohli’s name as captain for all three formats and that would be it, he’s got another thing coming: the weakened but no doubt still robust Dhoni camp has struck back and how. It is learnt that they want Dhoni to captain India in all three formats. When it was pointed out that Dhoni has retired from Test cricket and at best can only be captain in two formats, Dhoni’s supporters cited the example of Pakistani greats, Imran Khan and Shahid Afridi. Their logic, if ordinary mortals from across the border can come out of retirement, why can’t Dhoni – “there is nothing Dhoni can’t do – from hitting last balls for six, to first balls for four, and running hard in the middle overs.”
These reactions have gone largely unnoticed as the nation’s only preoccupation over the last week has been obsessing over a stand-up comedians snap chat video. The comedian is now threatening to make another snapchat video on MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli with Ravi Shastri making a guest appearance. But that’s not cricket.
Or for that matter the latest battle lines that have been drawn between the Dhoni and Kohli camps. Suresh Raina, longtime friend and CSK mate of Dhoni, made no bones of his support for the beleaguered skipper, “MS is someone who has always backed me to give my best, it is only natural that I now back him to give his best – in all three formats. MS has been Test captain of India and knows how the job can be done. Virat is still new to the job and needs to be groomed under MS. And if MS retired in Australia, he can also come out of retirement in West Indies” When asked what he meant by the last comment, Raina smiled and patted a team mate on the bottom, winking, “Y’kno what I mean, once you have captained CSK for so many seasons, you can captain any team, anywhere for many seasons more”.
Former New Zealand captain and Rising Pune Supergiants’ coach, Stephen Fleming, was more dispassionate when he said, “It’s an internal matter and I’d prefer to not comment on it. But I have full confidence in MS’ abilities as a captain, be it for half a day or for five days”
Not to be outdone, support for Kohli too was thick and fast. Ravi Shastri was back on the counter, “I don’t like to repeat myself but I think I’ll have to repeat myself here”. Shastri then went on to quote himself word for word, as the press marvelled on. When asked how he could recall exactly what he said on the Virat Kohli captaincy issue, he smiled that knowing smile of his, “When I hit it, it stays hit! And something’s gotta give and the boot is on the other foot now.”
Ambati Rayudu, who has previously enjoyed watching Dhoni from the other end said, “I am a batsman and for me a captain who gives me batting is the correct choice. I enjoy running between the wickets but I cannot contribute to the team’s cause as a non-striker”
Ajinkya Rahane, whose batting style has been criticized by Dhoni, was his usual non-confrontational self – “happy to play under any captain and give my 100%”.
Dhoni’s former CSK teammate, Ravindra Jadeja excitedly said that after his CSK haircut he was now ready to have MSD’s name as a cut-out on his head. Whereas Ravichandran Ashwin almost echoed Rayudu’s words when he talked at length about not being able to contribute to the team’s cause when he wasn’t bowling. “Everyone has been joking about my bowling in the IPL, or should I call it non-bowling – personally it was a disappointing season but I can’t do much with the ball if I’m not bowling. I’d be happy to back any captain who is happy to back me. Also I’m not a great fielder so the more I bowl the less I field, it’s Quite Easily Deduced”
Stand-up comedian, Tanmay Bhat had the last word when he mimicked a Bihari and Delhiite abusing each other with a man from Mumbai intervening with one cliché after another. Funerals, favourite moves, enthusiasts, cement and Srini mama were thrown at each other.
(However plausible this may sound, this is largely a work of fiction.)