The distinguished cricket correspondent and commentator was sitting at the press club bar, sipping a Gibson (2 oz. gin, a few drops of dry vermouth, I cocktail onion). I ordered a Miami Beach (1 oz. Scotch, 1 oz. Dry vermouth, 1 cocktail onion). I ordered a Miami Beach (1oz. Scotch, 1 oz. Dryvermouth, 1 tbs. Grapefruit juice) for him, a Mexitini (1 oz. dry vermouth, 1 tbs. Tequila, 1 chilli bean) for myself, and asked: "Who would you say has won the Bombay International that was not played at the Wankhede Stadium?"
The distinguished correspondent drank his Miami Beach, considered the question, and said: "It is difficult to say. According to the record books, the Shiv Sena has won, but the Maharashtra government has not lost, since it did not give up the match and it was
Pakistan that withdrew from the match."
I ordered a Foxhound (1 oz. brandy, 2 tbs. Cranberry juice, 1 tbs. Kummel, 1 tbs. Lemon juice) for him, a Frances Ann (1 oz. Scotch, half oz. Cherry Herring, 1 tbs. Dry vermouth) for myself, and said: "Then is it right for Mr. Thackeray to celebrate as if he was won the encounter?"
"Well, technically he may not have won," said the correspondent, downing his Foxhound, "but you know how Indians are! They celebrate even when they just manage to draw a losing match, so it is all right. After all, his team has such few occasions to celebrate."
I ordered s Suissesse (1 oz. Pernod, anisette, egg white) for him, a Summer Bourbon (1 oz. Bourbob, 2 oz. orange juice, pinch of salt) for myself, and asked: "What would you say was the main cause for Mr. Sudhakarrao Naik's defeat, or, if you like, not winning?"
The cricket commentator pondered, for a minute, as he sipped through his Suissesse, then said: "I would say, the main weakness of the Maharashtra government team was not including Madhav Mantri in the side. In these contests, experience always counts, and there is no more experienced cricketer than Mantri. As you know, he was not prepared to give up the match till the last ball was bowled."
"That is true," I said, ordering La Belle Creme (1 oz. vodka, 1 oz. heavy cream, 2 tsp. white creme de cacao, 2 tbs. Cointreau) for him, a Polish Sidecar (1 oz. gin, 1 oz. lemon juice, 1 tbs. blackberry liqueur) for myself. "Tell me, what would have happened if the Maharashtra government had kept out of it, as it has probably done, and left the fight entirely between Madhav Mantri's BCA team and Bal Thackeray's Shiv Sena team?"
"Then it would have meant a straight fight between Sunil Gavaskar's uncle and Sunil Gavaskar's father," the distinguished cricket correspondent said.