Free Press Journal

This Missed Lunch Can Be Costly


Sunil Gavaskar

The uppity Indian cricket stars may not take the ‘Affair of the Missed Lunch’ lightly. The MEA better make amends quickly, warns V Gangadhar.

So far the Cricket World Cup in Australian and New Zealand had had a smooth run. India won all their league matches easily, defeated Pakistan and was not involved in any controversies. All this may change.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Ministry of External Affairs are expecting trouble from former Indian captain and current busybody Cricket Commentator Sunil Manohar Gavaskar over an alleged ‘insult’ to Gavaskar and thereby Indian Cricket, Indian TV and Radio commentators, Indian listeners and viewers, the Narendra Modi government, the Opposition and anything else related to India. The BCCI already had enough problems with Gavaskar’s commentary in the past and do not want to upset him any further.

Watching and commenting at the match between India and UAE at Perth, Western Australia, Gavaskar who regards himself as the doyen of the Indian commentators was late for lunch and was miffed that the dining room had been cleared by the pavilion staff. When he protested the Polish lady politely informed him that since it was way past lunch time no food could not served. The great Gavaskar had to be content with a cup of tea and some ice cream which was no substitute for a proper lunch. When Gavaskar returned to the same dining room for dinner someone asked the Polish lady if she knew who he was. She just shook her head and replied, “I don’t care about cricket, I’m here to do my job”.

The incident created ripples among the Indian cricket loving fraternity and diplomatic circles though it is not known what action was being contemplated. Indians in Perth are quite upset that one of their cricketing idols had been treated like this and had to starve till dinner time for lunch! They pointed out that such an incident would never happen in any Indian cricket centre where a man of stature like Gavaskar would be served breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks anytime he wanted to eat.

Could it be because the Polish lady in the Perth dining room was aware that Gavaskar in the 1975 World Cup in England had batted through the entire Indian first innings of 60 overs to score 36 runs, a scoring rate neither equalled nor bettered. The only Hindi paper in P3rth highlighted the incident in a page 1 story with a headline ‘Sunnybhai bhook se margayza tho!” and pointed out that his post-lunch commentary lacked the usual pep and fizz’

The Perth Punjabi Cricket association held a press conference where he was decided to bring the sad incident to the attention of the Western Australia Prime Minister. Gavaskar’s commentary colleague, Harsha Bhogle, who for once was minus his ear to ear grin (with or without any reason) promised he would raise the issue before the International Broadcasters association. “Today it was Sunnybhai, tomorrow it could be ME,” he snarled.

V Gangadhar writes satire, a special form of humour. Incidents and anecdotes in his column are purely imaginary