We are going to be at a loose end shortly. The IPL, which stretched across seven thrilling weeks, kept everyone on tenterhooks. Finally, the old warhorses, Dad’s Army CSK were, at the very last ball, pipped at the post by arch rivals Mumbai Indians. A fitting finale. The IPL tourney provided a diverting balm compared with the bilious, hyperkinetic General Election drama that was playing out daily. The people’s verdict will be in on May 23. Will it be Phir ek baar, Modi Sarkar or will the Maha gudbud bandhan manage to stitch together a credible alternative coalition? Once that is known, we can all get back to our daily rounds of duties and concerns, in the evocative words of my school prayer book.
Frankly, the actual results of the General Elections will not be giving me sleepless nights, as nobody seems to have the faintest idea how things will pan out. In any case, none of us has any control over the verdict. We went to the polling booths, pressed our preferred button, leaving the rest to the much maligned Election Commission and their much maligned Electronic Voting Machines to tell us which political party or parties will be uncorking the champagne, in a manner of speaking. Or distributing laddoos, more likely. We could also be witnessing the possibility of a dead heat with its concomitant consequences of horse trading a distinct prospect. It is the one time the President of India comes into his own, a burden and spotlight the titular head of the nation would dearly wish to avoid.
Reflect for a fleeting moment. The ruling party will have us believe it’s all over bar the shouting, that the BJP and its allies will wipe the floor with the Opposition’s liquorice all-sorts concoction of an alliance. In turn, the Opposition have dismissed the allegedly grossly exaggerated claims of the BJP, and have given notice to a gullible populace that the unravelling Armageddon will surely be followed by the day of reckoning, which will see Goliath biting the dust. So says David. Hope springs eternal. The point I am making is, all this brouhaha will anti-climactically vanish after the results are in and we will be left twiddling our thumbs, wondering what to watch on the idiot box. My own preference is to read a good book, but the rest of you are free to torture yourself with more post-election slanging matches. For the impatient, get your rocks off on the dodgy exit polls.
In a nutshell, there you have it. No more IPL and no more General Elections to entertain us, and the Nation Wants to Know what is in store for it by way of entertainment from June onwards. Then again, I speak too soon. My intense preoccupation with the concluding mega sporting and political events made me develop a blind spot to ‘life after June.’ How remiss of me! If you are primarily a sports buff and nothing else, sit back and relax as a world of top class sporting entertainment awaits you.
Just when you thought you had all the cricket you can take, the quadrennial World Cup kicks off in England on May 30 and goes on till the middle of July. Those of you who go, ‘I am tired of cricket’ are only fooling yourselves. This is 50-over nation vs nation stuff, almost akin to a Test series compared to the T20 jamboree. When India take on Pakistan on June 16 at Old Trafford in Manchester, all hell will break loose. Who knows, Imran Khan and Modi Ji may be sitting side by side in the pavilion, chai pe charchaing. On the other hand it could be Rahul, Mayawati, Mamata or Chandra babu discussing the intricacies of reverse swing with Immy. What a photo op that would be! Either way, expect the peripatetic Navjyot Sidhu to be wearing a green jersey. So out with the blue war paint and all together now, ‘Indiaaaaaa, India!’
Tennis buffs, this may be your last chance to see Roger Federer win anything of substance. That is, if Nadal and Djokovic give him the time of day. Even they are not exactly burning up the courts.
The new kids on the block like Thiem, Tsitsipas and Zverev are punching above their weight and doing their best to push through the erstwhile impregnable triumvirate’s door. The French Open and Wimbledon, virtually back to back, beckons over the next couple of months. One way or the other, for sports fans, it promises to be a sizzling summer. Provided the capricious English weather behaves itself.
Cricket and tennis will not be the only focus for English sport. The notorious English football fans are overrunning the overworked pubs what with English clubs from the EPL winning just about everything in sight on the world football stage. Chlesea, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool are vying with each other to share the spoils in the Europa and Champions League. Guardiola’s Manchester City are once again the undisputed English league champions. It’s another matter altogether that you will be hard put to it to find more than a couple of true blue English players in these teams. At least, the IPL compels the squads to include at least seven Indian players in each playing XI. At the end of the day, be it MI or CSK, it’s the club’s colours that matter. YELLOVE!
Finally, do sports and politics mix? Spare a thought for poor Gautam Gambhir. It seems just the other day that he and Dhoni conspired to lift the 2011 World Cup for India, and more recently he was the darling of KKR. Then he decides to join politics and what happens? His candidacy is questioned, he is accused of spreading salacious messages about his lachrymose opponent and he threatens to hang himself. Alas, poor Gautam! He should have stuck to cricket commentary....