Nana Boycs

Can football overtake cricket in India?

And what South Africa must to do their chokers tag

Nana Boycs
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni addresses a press conference the day before the World Cup final, Mumbai, April 1 2011

"Well of course, you can say that every time we don't receive welcome goodie bags at hotels, it is a deliberate attempt to upset our players' psyches"  •  Getty Images

Is there a chance football could overtake cricket in India? And what will be the reaction of the BCCI and the ICC? asks Nmera Waffa
Stranger things, like the Bush family producing two American presidents, have happened, so why not? Logic would dictate that the BCCI would become a more accommodating organisation if football had cricket's present status in India. Much like how the meanest, most popular girl in high school discovers that in college she's a nobody, and then takes the effort to be nice to people, the BCCI would be kinder to its patrons, players and advertisers.
But history kicks logic's behind every time, doesn't it? The football, hockey and other sporting bodies in India are run appallingly - much worse than the BCCI. So why presume the BCCI, if it's living in the shadows of football, would do any better? It will probably go through the triple-D (sorry, Danny Morrison) phase: Denial: refuse to believe anything is wrong, even as the stadiums empty out and there are no bonuses to hand out at the end of each month; Desperation: after television rights disappear, the board will cave in to advertisers' demands to glam up the game by having cricketers dress in short shorts and sleeveless jerseys, AFL-style; Decline: cricketers aren't exactly athletes, so that plan will fail (and cost them massively in sunburn treatments), and the ICC, now in desperation itself, will agree to let Bangladesh bail the game out with micro-credit.
Do you think Dhoni's dismissal off a no-ball in Barbados was a conspiracy to make Indian players agree to the DRS? asks Rash
That's the sort of paranoia that kept the cold war ticking for over 40 years. What are you going to say next - that in order to undermine the DRS, the BCCI will insert vibrating devices into the Indian players' batting pads and trigger them during lbw appeals to confuse Hot Spot? Come to think of it, it might be a good idea to frisk the Indian players as they go out to bat.
Is there any way the South Africans can get rid of the chokers tag without actually winning a World Cup? asks harshacc
Well, it would help if they won the damn thing, but if that proves impossible, they should look to replace the chokers tag with something else. I always wondered why they didn't try to sell the "exporters" tag more aggressively - South Africa: the real home of cricket. Or they could try the "nice guys" angle, which New Zealand let go once Jesse Ryder came into the picture. Only, then they'd have to always finish last, and suffer the shame of winning the ICC Spirit of Cricket award. "Cheats"? Not the most pleasant, but definitely one that will shove "chokers" out of the public consciousness. "Drama queens" is a good one too, though in my mind it conjures up the image of an Indo-Australian XI, circa 2008.
What if Frankenstein built mechanical cricketers? Who will he choose to be his model cricketers? asks asirimihira
The thing with Frankenstein is that he took parts from different bodies, some not even human, to build his monster. It was a pastiche of grotesqueness. If the same applied to cricket, I see the unfortunate creation having the arms of Munaf Patel, the torso of Arjuna Ranatunga, the legs of Sourav Ganguly, the hirsuteness of Merv Hughes, the face of Ian Bell, the hand-eye coordination of Chris Martin, and the brain of Shahid Afridi. What do you think the end result will look like? Would you call me crazy if I said it reminded me of a doctor who played cricket in the 19th century?
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Nana Boycs was speaking to Samantha Pendergrast while auditioning for a role in The Real Housewives of Boroughbridge