The Battle of the Inhalers

Let’s address the elephant in the room, which everyone in the country is discussing, could we have at least avoided the humiliation of the feat to India. Indeed, it’s happened so often now that there’s a younger generation that has grown up expecting this to happen.

The elephant is in the room, but not in the side. I’m talking about Azam Khan, who played (and righly so) against the USA, and was dropped against India. Try and look beyond his rolypoly exterior, which has got the crass calling him ‘Baby Elephant;.’ Well, if he’s the Baby Elephant, then Anant Ambani, who had perhaps one of the most extravagant weddings in history held for him by his father Mukesh, would be the Elephant’s Child.

Does anyone remember the Rudyard Kipling story, one of the Just So Stories, of how the elephant got his long nose? It was all because of the ‘satiable curiosity’ of the Elephant’s Child. And somehow, it’s appropriate that Anant Ambani should be nicknamed after a story by someone who got his first entry into the world of letters through a stint on s Lahore newspaper.

Indeed, it’s because of Kipling that the Rani Tope outside NCA is called Kim’s Gun. Because the opening scene of Kim, Kipling’s story of a British boy ‘gone native’, has the eponymous hero playing on the Rani Tope.

Well, that’s more fantastic than today’s Elephant’s Child playing cricket for India. I mean, if Azam Khan was to play for Pakistan, why not Anant Ambani for India? Anant’s mother has explained away his excess weight by saying it’s because of steroids he had because of his asthma. I wonder if that’s the explanation Azam Khan’s mother would give if she was pressed to explain why he had to have his kit specially tailored. Great! We’ve already got a keeper who’s overweight; now we’ll find out that’s he’s asthmatic too. So if those two played, not only would the ground tremble and the turf go flying every time one tried to field, but it would all boil down to a battle of the inhalers.

AS it was, India took to the field without Anant Ambani, and Pakistan without Azam Khan. This deprived the fans of the sight of a fielder rolling after an already rolling ball. On the other hand, the USA should be grateful that none of the players has done a run. The USA, which I don’t think contains any American Indians or inner-city African Americans, has had a good time against Greenshirts. First they beat Pakistan, and then their match against Ireland was rained out, allowing them to go through to the Super Eight. Losing to both the USA and India might have upset the fans, but it made the diplomats very happy. Of course, the (sole) cricket fan in the Foreign Office went cross-eyed, but who cares?

Of course, the PTI should take a few positives from this. First of all, no one tried to cancel Imran’s cipher case bail because of this. Second, Shaheen Shah Afridi did not put in any extraordinary performance which might mean him going onto the same page.

One of the issues with the World Cup was the associate members. Such titans as Papua New Guinea, Namibia, Oman and Uganda are on show, which makes it difficult for such bread-and-butter teams as Australia, India and England. Did any catch the Clash of the Titans? I mean Afghanistan versus Papua New Guinea. I gave it a miss, still being unable to process the Papua New Guinea-Uganda fixture, which redefined the concept of a winning total..

Bu there’s one factor which everyone leaves out, and that’s the Mumbi Matchfixers, formerly the Bombay Bookies. Going back to the Pakistan-India match, the way the boys in green were spilling catches made it obvious the match was in the book, and for India. I know those were mostly hard chances, but to grass all of them? Might as well have played Azam Khan.


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