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If the likes of Dravid and Ponting went into politics, would the world be a better place?

Andrew Fernando

Comments: 19 | Text size: A | A

The year is 2035. Over the last 25 years several international cricketers have shaped the world by taking up affairs of government. Starting with Sanath Jayasuriya's political debut in 2010, these are their stories.

A grim Ricky Ponting watched as the wickets tumbled, Australia v Pakistan, ICC Champions Trophy, Group A, Centurion, September 30, 2009
Ricky Ponting practises his thousand-yard stare for parliament © Getty Images
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Sanath Jayasuriya
Despite worries that Jayasuriya would have trouble defeating Arjuna Ranatunga, who was his rival in the 2010 election, Jayasuriya's disdain for anything short and wide helped him campaign to an overwhelming victory over his former team-mate and captain. Jayasuriya's popularity saw him fast-tracked to the presidency, a post he revolutionised, employing extremely aggressive economic and social policies in the first 15 months to get his administration off to a flyer. Taxes were cut ruthlessly, with immense power, while government spending was also slashed away at an alarming rate. Jayasuriya even energised Sri Lanka's languishing economy by doing away with land transport and making helicopters the primary mode of transport: a policy that stemmed from his natural preference for going aerial.

Shane Warne
Much was expected of the great legspinner when he became Australia's minister of finance in 2020 on the back of his natural affinity for commercial ventures. Despite public annoyance at MPs Adam Gilchrist and Ian Healy, who repeatedly bleated "Nice one Shaayne" from the back bench whenever Warne did something remotely praiseworthy, Warne was a popular choice. However, his stint at the top level was ultimately far more entertaining than effective. While he led the nation to a period of incredible prosperity early in his term, the decision to gamble Australia's entire annual GDP on a poker match proved to be a wrong'un. Warne lost billions, sending the country spiralling into a recession that was only slightly mitigated by the booming diuretic drug industry, which had taken off after his appointment to cabinet. Mobile phone companies also did well during Warne's spell, as his unrestricted access to Australia's phone directory resulted in millions of citizens receiving random text messages on a regular basis, many of them simply reading, "What are you wearing?"

Jesse Ryder
Although he did not command as much respect from the denizens of New Zealand as the country's previous prime minister, Gandalf the Grey, Ryder was quick to make his own mark on the nation's history, lowering the drinking age to 12. Despite the many detractors who criticised Ryder's bombastic nature, his swashbuckling style and aggressive tactics saw the country do well for a while, even if he looked slightly worse for wear at most morning engagements. Window salesmen, hand surgeons and therapists prospered while Ryder was in office, with many young New Zealanders taking to Ryder's truly unique style of celebration. However, his exit from the political arena proved less than graceful, when in a rage he ordered several small New Zealand towns aerially bombed after he was eventually voted out.

Rahul Dravid
Despite showing immense talent as a policy-maker and adviser, Dravid's lack of natural charisma hindered his chances of becoming prime minister of India. However, he was extremely adept at occupying political office for extremely long periods of time, as he proved with a decades-long stranglehold on his position as India's foreign minister. Dravid provided much-needed stability to the country, allowing other politicians to take risks and conduct business freely around him. He earned himself the nickname "The Wall" for his stoic, unyielding nature when it came to trade talks and general diplomacy. He was especially effective at handling hostile negotiations, often facing down spirited overseas foreign ministers in 13-hour debating marathons, in which many of them slipped into irreversible comas.

Ricky Ponting
Ponting was able to capitalise on his initial forward movement as prime minister of Australia and led the nation relatively well during his time in office. He was considered fairly lucky, having inherited a cabinet full of political superstars from the previous incumbent, and this led to a period of immense prosperity for Australia during Ponting's first term. Any ministerial cock-ups were dealt with harshly by Ponting, whose preferred method of punishment for delinquent MPs would be to place hands on hips and stare irately at the culprit for what seemed like hours, right in the middle of a parliamentary session. Ponting was understandably not a favourite of foreign leaders, partly because they questioned the ethics of his incredibly intimidating politics, but primarily because they did not like shaking hands with a man who had spent the better part of their meetings spitting profusely into his palms.

Andrew Fernando is a student at Auckland University. He blogs at www.cricketordeath.com

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Comments: 19 
Posted by pranesh_csk_india on (April 10, 2010, 2:27 GMT)

THIS is called good humor. absolutely hilarious...thank you. PS: Why dont you take short courses in writing humorous articles for Andrew Hughes, Anand Ramachandran etc.

Posted by straight_driver on (April 8, 2010, 20:34 GMT)

Great piece! The best according was about Jayasuriya, describing Ranatunga. "...his disdain for anything short and wide..." - hilarious!

Posted by VipulPatki on (April 8, 2010, 4:35 GMT)

SREESANTH: After retiring from cricket, he took up a job as a dance-guru in one of India's premiere dance shows. Public liked him in his new avatar and like Govinda, was asked to contest an election. His conduct in the parliament was as disgraceful as his on-field conduct. He once started dancing in the well of the parliament after shooting down an argument of the opposition party. He has the dubious distinction of being the only MP outside of UP or Maharashtra who was captured on camera slapping his colleague. He has been asked by the party chief to attend the Art Of Living course or Yoga classes but he has categorically refused to do anything of that sort as he has already attended 79 sessions of the former and 99 of the latter. He is hurt that he could never make a century in cricket and won't complete century of any sort henceforth.

BTW a terrific article I must say. Hats off and thanks indeed for bringing a laughter on my face.

Posted by VivaVizag on (April 8, 2010, 3:59 GMT)

@SumitSahai. Thanks! A befitting appreciation of the genius.

Posted by knowledge_eater on (April 8, 2010, 2:21 GMT)

SEHWAG: He went to become Defense Minister Of India Like Sardar, his motto was to attack every state Ministers and worlds biggest leaders, despite worry about Country's progress. Fortunately, He convinced every state ministers that every politician can be beatable in real voting day, despite high prolific polls. His rules were quite erratic but very effective. As an example, you see the criminals or anyone being offensive towards country's mothers and children should be punished on spot despite worrying about anyone's image. He was never fond of talking behind back. He always remained outspoken towards oppositions and other party members. There was no two minded decision in passing bill, he thinks of something he signed it and pass the bill right away. Over the time he made whole world convinced that there was no proper argument, or planning to bring down his Empire. He brought peace and comedy in to boring parliament. His wisdom remained immortal. May the force be with us.

Posted by   on (April 8, 2010, 1:38 GMT)

SumitSahai's analysis was brilliant! side splitting stuff

Posted by   on (April 7, 2010, 20:06 GMT)

Goju's continuation of the article was good and overall Andrew, well written mate! Wish to see more from you in future

Posted by   on (April 7, 2010, 19:12 GMT)

I can easily picture Ricky Ponting & Sanath Jayasuriya getting into politics after their cricketing careers are over!! Dravid...smart, but too simple and straight-forward, Ryder...aggressive, but too erratic, and Warne...smart, but too much of a gambler and a risk-taker to even think of entering politics!! :D

Posted by pranav301283 on (April 7, 2010, 15:57 GMT)

Awesome article, Andrew. Goju, rohitkossery, athabasca & SumitSahai - strong work indeed, had me in splits.

Posted by   on (April 7, 2010, 12:39 GMT)

Awesome article....simply superb...:))

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