Chak De: ACP Dhoble is new Indian hockey coach.
India’s campaign at the London Olympics seems to have received a boost. In a rare meeting of minds, Hockey India and the Indian Hockey Federation have jointly announced that Assistant Commissioner Vasant Dhoble, of the Mumbai Police’s Social Services branch, will assist Michael Nobbs at the event.
“I wish I could wield a hockey stick like him.” sighed Hockey India secretary general Narinder Batra enviously. “Such dexterity and control is exactly what our boys need to display. Michael Nobbs is a good man, but I’m sure he will also benefit from Dhoble’s expertise.” he claimed.
IHF president KPS Gill was even more effusive. “Show me a man with more dedication than Dhoble.” he gushed “He even sleeps with his hockey stick, which is more than any of my boys can claim.” Playing down Dhoble’s rumoured tendency towards violence, Gill said that, as a former cop himself, he understands Dhoble’s motivation. “Just because he practices with juice shop owners instead of a white ball doesn’t mean that Dhoble doesn’t have a keen grasp of the game. Remember also that he is a firm believer in making people get a good night’s sleep, which is always a plus for a sportsman.” said the retired Punjab Police chief. “People are spreading false allegations about Dhoble, just like they did with me. I have only done India a favour by making a few misguided sardars disappear for good, and he has unmasked a few housewives moonlighting as hookers. Aren’t I an able administrator? Dhoble, likewise, will make an excellent coach.”
While Nobbs was unavailable for comment, members of the Indian team have mixed feelings. “It’s going to add to off-field pressures.” lamented defender Ignace Tirkey. “We were so looking forward to seeing a bit of London, but the presence of this wet blanket is sure to take all the fun away.” Vice-captain Sardar Singh voiced other apprehensions. “Being sportspersons, many establishments give us free entry. But, in this guy’s book, this may be interpreted that we are persons of loose morals. The last thing we need now is a manufactured scandal. Besides, though Michael has been doing a superb job, we’re pretty sure that Dhoble will look at him with suspicion. After all, he firmly believes that foreigners are the root cause of immorality spreading amongst Indian youth.”
Dhoble’s appointment, though, has support from an unexpected quarter – large sections of Mumbai’s youth. “What an idea, sirji,” exclaimed a teenager sipping a cappuccino at Theobroma in Bandra “while the prick’s away, I can dump this crappy coffee and get thoroughly plastered at Bonobo!” Members of Facebook groups SOS: Mumbai’s Nightlife and Mumbai Unite expressed similar feelings. “I’m happy for Dhoble, but would be thrilled if they appointed him for the long term. I feel sad for the team, but it’s better that 20 guys suffer him rather than 200,000.” went one post.
Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik, however, dispelled any such notion. “Dhoble is an integral part of Mumbai Police’s drive to make this a decent, livable city.” he said. “Mumbai can spare him for a few weeks in the national interest, but we would like him back at the earliest. There are, after all, thousands of young people here who will benefit from his guidance.”
Meanwhile, pubs and bars across Mumbai have announced extended happy hours during every match the team plays. “We’d like to cheer our team on.” said Srila Chatterjee, co-owner of popular lounge Blue Frog “In fact, we’d like to just say ‘cheers’ for a few days without getting busted.” she grinned, clearly thrilled on hearing the news.