The Fifth Column

22nd September 1996

Wrong 'un and a straight drive

My dear SB,

Since you have been writing some letters last week to Upali, I thought I must also join the fun, what with all these resignations and you, being the noble gentleman that you have undoubtedly shown yourself to be, refusing to accept them.

I am all for your no nonsense stand SB, regarding your not being invited for that Awards Presentation. Just how could they insult you like that? Don't they know that our glorious cricket team beat the Aussies, not because they wanted to prove that they are World Champions but because they wanted to receive the Singer Cup from you?

Just imagine the insult! There you were, on the podium in that extraordinary shirt waiting to do the honours and you even take one step forward to give away the Cup, but what does that Chappel fellow do? He calls on Hemaka - somebody because he's a Singer and these singers sponsored the tournament! And you, the man who made Susanthika run faster than ever, is humiliated in front of a TV audience of millions...

Really, I think you should sue that Chappel chap, without wasting time writing letters to Upali. Never trust these Aussies is my belief. Even when they take a catch, it takes a TV replay to show that they dropped it. And you mustn't trust these Chappel chaps - remember it was his brother Greg who asked his other brother Trevor to bowl underarm; so it must be running in the family, isn't it?

And it hurts me mostly because they did this to you, SB. If they did it to Lakshman K, I would have understood. When that controversy about the Aussies not coming here for the World Cup was raging it was he who made that snide remark about Shane Warne - "shopping is for sissies" - so it would have only been fair to settle scores with him. But you - you hardly made a noise those days, the gentleman that you are - and this is what you get in return.

These chaps are so dumb they didn't even realise that Satellite also left early that day for you to be the hero, so you are only right in calling for resignations, SB.

But of course, the only consolation was that Upali offered to resign. Just imagine what would have happened if he didn't? You would have been forced to sack him. And that would have made a better story than the match itself: "Minister sacks Board President for not inviting him to be Chief Guest..." the newspapers would say. So, tell you what, SB you owe a lot to Upali now...

Anyway we know that you are not disturbed by these little things. We can very well remember that night in Lahore, when you peeped in between Arjuna and Benazir and was once again in the picture, so you are used to these great moments in life.

That day, fortunately, Benazir wore her head dress; or else, we would have had trouble because both of you - you and Benazir look so alike...!)

So long, SB. See you at the podium when the next tournament comes along...

Yours truly,

Punchi Putha.

P.S. Remember the Cricket Board slogan - "it's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game." Upali has changed that. Now it reads "it's not whether you win or lose, but who you invite as the Chief Guest that matters...." Now don't sack him for that, please.

Then, there is all this fuss about TNL, because they didn't show enough of Satellite. No wonder they call themselves, "We're worth watching!...." Surely, SB even Preme didn't try to block TV stations because they didn't show enough of him!

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