Watching the Mumbai - Delhi IPL match yesterday was a nightmarish experience to say the least. More than the shameful defeat, it was Sachin Tendulkar's body language that was cause for widespread embarrassment for all those like me... who love Mumbai and Sachin in equal measure.
It was a perfect recipe for disaster that Sachin had so painstakingly prepared - dropping Sanath and forcing Duminy to open were two unpardonable offenses - more ghastly than the decision to bring himself on for the dreadful 19-run gift on a platter.
At least, the bowling aspiration had some method in the madness - the lure of spin following Duminy's success with the ball in the match and Sachin's track record as a bowler (do we still remember the last over of the HERO cup?)
That the gamble boomeranged was another issue..
But how can one drop Sanath Jayasurya? - whatever his current form - you drop him and you lose three-in-one - an excellent fielder, a wily bowler and a superlative match-winner batsman...
Is there anything called team meeting in the Mumbai camp - one wonders?
Shaun Pollock & Jonty Rhodes... do you say something at all, if at all you have a say!
Time and again, we see the Mumbai players repeating what they do worst - Bravo impresses with a quick-fire knock and just when you expect him to break loose, he loses his cool... and of course his wicket.
Abhishek Nayar seems desperate to either run himself out or attempt a cross-batted heave at the first opportunity. He succeeds in his mission every single time.
Harbhajan comes out for a stroll - fancies a shot or two and bids good bye exactly when you need him to slog it out.
Malinga, one of the leading wicket takers in the tournament, bowls four great balls in an over, followed by two forgettable deliveries and it's all over.
Duminy begins well, consolidates in style and when the time is ripe for the final wrap, he succumbs without a fight!
And watching this circus, match after match, is our ring(read wing) master Sachin, wearing a wry smile, perhaps secretly whipping himself in KADAKLAKHSMI fashion.
Mr Mukesh Ambani - Sachin may have great celebrity supporters like Aamir Khan singing his praises and applauding his cricketing skills but that hardly helps your cause. Thank your stars - Anil is not in the IPL race - for a second, imagine him backing Delhi or Hyderabad! Scary, is it not?
And when it comes to waving flags, Priety Zinta, her stupid giggles and hugs notwithstanding, looks more confident than your wife - given the heroics of Yuvi and his guys who perish, but perish in style!
We all love Sachin for what he has achieved and is capable of but does that condone his lethargic ways, suspect captaincy and worse, his adamant stance of playing the doctor rather than undergoing an honest diagnosis as an ailing patient.
Hope is the hallmark of a Mumbaikar...we still hope of Mumbai going for the kill, winning the rest of the encounters and booking a semi-final berth eventually...
Sachin, we would still watch your next game(s) but get back Sanath...he's still your best bet! Sanath Power! Go get it ...Else, do share your thoughts on playing a non-playing captain for a change!