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   Among those wanting to see the semifinal... (March 11, 1987)

Among those wanting to see the semifinal at the Wankhede Stadium is my dog, Bolshoi the Boxer.

“You must be totally out of your head,’ I said. “Human beings cannot get a ticket, for love or money, and you think a dog can get it!”

Bolshoi said: “I don’t think being a human being or a dog has got anything to do with it. It is a question of who is interested in cricket and how much.”

“The whole of Bombay is interested in cricket, that does not mean the whole of Bombay can see the match,” I said. “You must remember it is being played at the Wankhede Stadium and not the spacious Brabourne Stadium. Eventually, there are only so many seats and so many tickets.”

“I am only a small dog and don’t occupy much space, I can squeeze in,” Bolshoi said. “If you want to get me a ticket, you can always get it.”

“I am sorry, you are misinformed,” I said. “Nobody can get a ticket, not even some of our ex-test cricketers.”

“That is a shame,” Bolshoi said. “We ex-Text players who have given our blood and sweat for the game and are mainly responsible to bring it to the present stage, that we should not get tickets. In fact, we should be given free passes.”

“Here, here, don’t get carried away,” I said. “You are not an ex-cricketer of any sort, you have not played cricket in your life. In fact, but for Gavaskar’s century he other day in Nagpur, you were not even interested in cricket.”

Bolshoi said. “The fact remains that I want to see this match. I don’t mind sitting anywhere to watch the game, I don’t even mind, as last resort, sitting in the Garware stand with all the nouveau riche who do not understand a word of cricket.”

“I do not think that is a nice thing to say about the cream of Bombay’s cricket lovers,” I said. “In any case, there are absolutely no tickets available. The stadium, I understand, is so packed that not even an ant can get in.”

“I am not an ant, I am a dog,” Bolshoi said. “If you just tell them I am a dog, they will happily give a ticket. Remember, we are playing the English and the English are very fond of dogs. More fond of dogs than of their children.”

“I have heard of that, the English are a very peculiar people,” I said. “But even if they are fond of dogs, it would be of their own dogs, not India dogs. If I could get you in, I would but there is no way I can do so. If you know a way, tell me.”

“You can tell them I am Gavaskar’s dog,” Bolshoi said. “These days, they will do anything for Gavaskar.”

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