Small Asks

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What is a natural game?

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Adam Gilchrist makes his point at a press conference, Mumbai, September 16, 2008
"… and then my tail was tied to one of my hind legs and I couldn't even flick the flies off my back!" © AFP
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Series/Tournaments: Indian Premier League

I see the Royal Challengers logo present on the uniform for Kings XI. How many teams does Vijay Mallya own? asked Mustansir, from the USA
What is ownership, really, Socrates once mused. In his defence it must be said his strong suits were ethics and epistemology, not filthy capitalist notions. Many worthies since have been foxed by the concept, but not the astute Dr Mallya, who owns yachts, planes, breweries, and a significant stake in Hawaii's garment industry. He has demonstrated his grasp of the intricacies of ownership by bringing branding, yet another concept (the first being the auction) from the exciting world of livestock-rearing, to the IPL.

Last year Adam Gilchrist spoke of feeling like a cow in the lead-up to the IPL. Heeding that plaintive cry, Dr Mallya has refrained from having his logos seared into the flesh of the players with hot irons, but has permitted them to wear them on the sleeves of their uniforms instead. And by the cunning expedient of having these logos placed on the uniforms of teams he does not own - i.e. spray-painting "I wuz here" on the wall and running away, so to say - he has taken ownership of them all.

Next up: replacing the dugouts with paddocks and providing the players with a good layer of clean straw on their hotel-room beds.

What is this natural game thing? asked AN from the UAE
Not sure, really. New-fangled invention, one is told. Didn't have it in the sixties. And that was a time when everyone was free and easy and au naturel. Do what comes naturally? That way anarchy lies. Often the desire to lie on a sunbed drinking pina coladas is overwhelming, as opposed to going out and facing Charlie Griffith or whoever. It is natural. But life is a struggle, and cricket's worse. Natural's all very well when it comes to hair conditioner, disasters, resources and gas. Cricket did not fall out of a tree or spring fully formed out of the ground. Next one who talks about his natural game gets it with a strap of the finest rawhide, right across his back. Now that's natural.

Since people with the last name "Pathan" have put the tournament on fire so far, do you see actual pathans - Afghans - in the tournament next year? asked Kababi from Afghanistan
"Talks are on to widen the ever-increasing embrace of the IPL to include our Afghan brethren," a spokesman for the IPL said when the question was put to him. However, the list of peoples, cultures and entities the IPL has committed to embracing is long. Afghanistan is eighth in line, just behind Teletubbies and former shareholders of Lehman Brothers. Ergo, the Afghans, unfortunately, will have to wait a few years. Till then, as a gesture of solidarity and appreciation, Lalit Modi will wear Pathani suits every Tuesday during the tournament.

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