Bishen Singh Bedi was studying the geography of the United Arab Emirates. Sheikh Bukhatir was explaining to him on an emlarged local map: "Now this is Dubai, and this is Sharjah, and this is where we are."
"Yes, yes," said Bedi. "But where's the sea?"
"The sea is all about us," said Bukhatir, pointing to the blue parts on the map. "But it is not the sea as you know it, it is the gulf."
"Gulf, sea, it does not matter, as long as it is deep enough to drown a dozen men," said Bedi. "Isn't there an ocean around? And ocean always sounds better than a gulf, to dump people in."
"There is the ocean, but not right here. You have to go out of the gulf, like this, to reach the ocean, here," Bukhatir said, tracing a line through the blue waters with a pointer."
"It's getting too complicated," Bedi said. "Let's stick to the gulf, it should be adequate for our purpose. I understand, it is known as the Persian Gulf."
"Shhh, shhh," said Bukhatir, casting a quick look around. "You don't want to displease the Arab governments and stop cricket and the benefits to all the ex-players, including yourself. You don't say Persian Gulf, you say Arabian Gulf, remember."
"That would be congusing," Bedi said. "If I say I am going to drown the team in the Arabian Gulf, people in India would not understand what I am talking about, even the cricket board would not know. In India, we all know it as the Persian Gulf."
"You say you are drowning the team in the Persian Gulf, and before you have the chance to do so, you entire team will be banned and on its way back to India. Make you choice: you want to crown you team in the Arabian Gulf or go home with it?"
"I did not know, when I became the cricket manager," Bedi said. "The way you put it, my choice is between the devil and the deep blue gulf."
"Do you have to drown the team only? Why don't you dispose it in some other way? There are other ways of doing away with teams you disapprove of," said Bukhatir.
"Even drowing the team causes so much heartburn, if I suggest any other way, there will be a riot," Bedi said. "I do not know whether you have heard of it, but when I proposed to drown the team in the pacific, there was a big controversy."
"I tell you what," said Bukhatir, "give your team one more chance. Perhaps, they may beat Pakistan and Sri Lanka may also beat Pakistan. Anything can happen, after all this is one-day cricket."