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Players/Officials: Sachin Tendulkar
Dessie and I were sitting in the drawing room, watching the rain trickle dispiritingly down the window pane and attempting to keep our spirits up with a Terry's Chocolate Orange. Dessie was in unusually cantankerous humour. He had muttered quite vilely through the first hour of The Voice, entirely spoiling my enjoyment of a programme that I believe to be the BBC's most splendid acquisition since the young Angela Rippon.
I have already written a letter to the ECB, urging them to consider Jessie J as a possible chairman if and when Giles Clarke is ever toppled from his perch. I expressed in the most fulsome terms that she has just the right blend of enthusiasm, steely judgement and clarity of vision that cricket in this country needs. It does her case no harm that she would bring the finest set of legs to the top table of English cricket since Raman Subba Row was in his pomp.
However, Dessie - who has been impossible all week since news emerged that Sachin Tendulkar is to enter the murky world of politics in his homeland - was not to be swayed by my attempts to jolly the evening along. When he picked up an ashtray (signed by Chris Tavaré, and damaged by Chris as well, when he dropped it and cut himself quite badly on a chipped corner) and looked set to hurl it at the screen and the blameless will.i.am, I intervened and asked him what on earth was the matter.
Dessie was eventually coaxed to reveal that his black mood was indeed a result of his beloved Sachin's political appointment. Dessie is of the opinion that sport and politics do not mix, as he has been for some years now since his desperately ill-considered one-man campaign to get John Emburey elected as an MP for the Communist Party of Great Britain. Dessie thought he had convinced Emburey that his extreme left-wing candidacy was the right course of action to make good in the hearts and minds of the cricketing public after his second rebel tour to South Africa, but it later became all too clear that Emburey was not joking when he said "I'll facking do it if the facking money's facking right."
Dessie eventually raised sufficient funds that Emburey was, for a while, prepared to grow a Lenin-style beard, wave communist placards around at Middlesex Second XI matches and even agree to an unsanctioned cricket tour of Siberian salt mines. However, along came Gorbachev and perestroika, and Emburey's commitment to the communist cause melted away as quickly as the funds dried up. Dessie, an idealist, took it very hard.
Even beating the living daylights out of Seb Coe in a recent veterans judo tournament/Olympics 2012 photo-op has done little to change Dessie's view that sportsmen have no place in the political arena.
"We Indians already have more despicable politicians than we know what to do with," said Dessie. "Why must Sachin be associated with these people?" I said I knew exactly how he felt: Lord Cowdrey was never quite as much fun in the golf course or unlicensed boxing match in an underground car park once he joined the House Of Lords.
I looked over at Dessie, and he had that same fixed, utterly determined look about him that he had when he collared poor Mick Jagger on the Nursery Ground to demand answers about the Rolling Stones' misguided forays into disco. I knew what was coming next.
"Major," said Dessie. "Pack a bag. We are going to Mumbai to talk some sense into Sachin."
A hundred international centuries or not, I fear nothing will prepare young Tendulkar for the full force of Dessie's personality on this matter. We leave for Heathrow in the morning. I have asked Mrs Blenkinstone, the char, to Sky Plus The Voice until we return.
- The Major
Alan Tyers is the author of WG Grace Ate My Pedalo
All quotes and "facts" in this article are made up, but you knew that already, didn't you?
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