It is not generally known that before Reliance decide on Dovey the Dove as its mascot for the World Cup, several other candidates were considered. One of them was my dog, Bolshoi the Boxer.
When the letter came from Reliance asking if Bolshoi would consider being the mascot, I told him: "It is advisable to accept, you will be famous in England, West Indies Australia, Sharjah, everywhere."
Bolshoi said: "Who has signed the letter? Is it Mr. Dhirubhai Ambani?"
"Mr. Ambani has no time to write letters to potential mascots," I said, "he has got enough on his hands making ordinary 100-rupee shareholders into lakhpatis. In any case, I suggest you accept immediately, before they make some elephant or dove the mascot for the World Cup."
"They are not so stupid as to make a dove a mascot for cricket," Bolshoi said. "These are not some friendship games in Moscow that they would even consider doves. In any case, I don't want to be a mascot."
"Think again, there is a lot of money in it," I said. "Everybody will be buying your logo, Gold Spot, Bank of Baroda, PIA, Indian Airlines, Dilip Sardesai Enterprises, Only Vimal. And you get royalty on everybody who uses your logo. By the end of the World Cup, you could be as rich as Sunil Gavaskar."
"What will I do with money! I am not a cricketer, I am only a dog," Bolshoi said. "I think you want to push me in because you want the money for yourself."
"I wouldn't touch you money," I said. "And even if I did, I don't think there is anything wrong in that. after all, I have been spending money on you all your life, keeping you, feeding you, once I even paid for your trip to Moscow."
"So that is how your mind works," Bolshoi said. "Well, if you want your money back, I will work for it and pay you back, but I am not going to be any mascot."
"Forget the money," I said. "Think of the fame. You will be a familiar figure throughout the cricket playing world. All the TV coverage will being with your face first. People will stop you on the road and ask for their autographs. Why, you will be as well known as that baby elephant, Appu, was during the Asian Games in Delhi. Only more so, because that was only a political show to promote Mr. Rajiv Gandhi and Mr. Arun Nehru."
"That's all fine," Bolshoi said, "but I don't want Kapil Dev to wear me on his T-shirt and go about. By the end of the World Cup, it would make me as big a joke as Palmolive shaving cream is."