This India, that catch '83

NO spot during the year captured telestruck India's sanctimonious imagination the way that BJPriest `held' you with his holier-than-thou Pepsi punchline: Humein World Cup kie kya ichcha hogie _ sub Moh Maya hai! The `in' hand thing the World Cup, fantasised, is. How `on' then is Hamiltoned Test commentary right now? Shah Rukh Cup Laaoge truth to tell, viewers just can't wait for the Idiot `Boxing Day' of December 26 to Auckland dawn and for the Eden Park picnic to begin. Cricket day and night it is as EspnStar is back in Indian business with a Sachinow or never bang. From Sony to DD to STAR has been a hop, step and jump testing the athletics of our mindset, hasn't it? DD could no more tell Danny from Geoffrey than we viewers could Tata Namak from Birla Cement.

The Indian captain Sourav Ganguly holds the 2002 ICC World Cup Trophy, crafted in silver and gilt at a function in New Delhi. "Point for Sourav to note - you have to make it happen. Like you did against Australia - against all odds," says the author.

"Something concrete" their Dalmiyaar Board Chief now expects from Sourav & co during the seven ODIs in New Zealand marking the play-off for the World Cup. How the more we wish away Pakistan the more soaringly Yousuf Youhana is spotted to be in the fray! The competition building up is frightening but that is the World Cup's `Om Cricketaya Namah' beauty, `suggestive' of the sexpot — of gold. Before Ruby returns as Sony's most precious gem, EspnStar needs to come up with something more colourful than the turbaned Sherry as its model performer. For the Ayyangaroving eye of Kris Srikkanth may settle for nothing less than Hema Malini as Sony World Cup guest chatterbox-office this time. Leaving Kapil Devil to Sony double for Dharam Deol.

The World As A Kareena Cup is shapely enough for Sourav to hug. How to get hold of `it' is the million dollar dilemma. Azhar went after it and was left holding Sangita. Hansie wanted the Cup if only to leave his millions in it for Bertha, but Herschelle dropped the idea just the way Steve Waugh wanted him to do. Border on the near ridiculous did the idea of Allan's Australia winning the World Cup from under `The Ashes' nose of Mike Gatting's England in Eden. Where Laxman continued to play all his shots — only for Rahul to work his wooing way up from No. 6 there to `Bachelor Of The Year'!

"Wicket-keepers make good lovers!" is a Prime Sports Sunny quote you never can write off. That quote provided the only justification for Rahulove-making Dravid to take up wicket-keeping one-day. The Gloves Are Off is the urgent Godfrey Evans message Rahul needs now to be sending Raveena. As a sturdy stayer on the silver screen, Raveena is prepared to wait till the World Cup. Not after that if Rahul says he still has to move to first slip. There is many a `slip' between Cup and hip. How our cricketers have refined their technique since Sandeep (Kabhi Ajnabi Thhe) Patil faltered in picking and choosing between Poonam Dhillon and Debashree Roy. Deb of The Lotus Eyes went on to make significant strides in meaningful cinema; while the Dennis Lillee hammering Sandeep could `manage' neither his cricket career nor the Indian team.

That way Ajit Wadekar remains the last word in man management and woman management — as a performer always fond of flirting with the ones outside the off stump. Wadekar never ceased to remind Pataudi that, by the time our Tiger skipper got hooked on Kashmir Ki Kali Sharmi, Ajit already had, at home, Rekha in tow. Now Ajit wants played-out romantics Azzu and Jaddu back, tele-striking out for India before it is too late. Ajit well knows how spots in India open up, on TV, after a World Cup. Let us hope Sourav Dada does not find himself in the kind of Jadejam by which our selectors start playing Azharoulette all over again.

For heads have Indian traditionally rolled behind the sightscreen in the wake of the World Cup. If Kapil Dev could lose the Indian captaincy in the same 1983 year in which he commandeered the World Cup from the West Indies, anything could happen by March 31. As the date by which to settle Cricket Board and lodge accounts following the South African Safarip-off. That is why it is imperative Sourav now returns with something `Cupacious'. Not empty-handed, as Azhar habitually did through three World Cups. It is an open field where it takes something more than the `Sexy Shot' to be a global player. It is a Cup in which a run saved is a run scored. Yuvey and Kaify alone truly meet World Cupping standards here. The rest — Ten perhaps excepted — make up a team of non-benders.

It is one thing to chase the Hep Heroine, another to chase The World. The advantage with the saucy movie heroine is that you can bend her whichever way you feel inclined.

While the advantage in the World Cup is with the team that stays the course to the grim end. Even Steveteran saw his South African calculations all but go wrong in the World Cup. So could the MaveRicky Ponting overreach himself.

This is where Souravenous India needs to display the hunger Kapil did in going for Neena Gupta's prize catch. The style of hold Kaps Lord's finally got of Vivy left Supercat Clivey in no batting or battling position to strain every nerve in leaping for the Big Prize. Clivey found his style literally cramped. That was Kapil's moment. He seized it and the World was our Cup. Point for Sourav to note — you have to make it happen. Like you did against Australia — against all odds. Leaving Steve Waugh still groping for the one rubber slipping out of his 1-0 hands.