Narendra Hirwani is spending a pleasurable evening at Bangalore after yet another day of coaching young spinners at the National Cricket Academy. He has just heard the news about Lalit Modi’s expulsion from the Board of Control for Cricket in India as he is found guilty of “committing acts of serious misconduct and indiscipline.”
Hirwani’s mind goes back to March 25, 2010 when he was at the Brabourne Stadium watching Mumbai Indians take on Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League. Being a national selector he parked himself in the first row at the pavilion end of the Cricket Club of India. A few men claiming to be part of Modi’s entourage asked him to sit four rows behind since that area was reserved for the then IPL commissioner.
After a while, when Modi makes himself omnipresent, his constant movements disturb Hirwani who wants to be fully focused on the action. After all, India’s World Twenty20 squad was going to be picked the following day. “Excuse me, Sir…” Hirwani says, indicating in good measure that he wants Modi to sit still. Modi stares at Hirwani’s accreditation card and tells him that he is sitting in the wrong place.
Hirwani tells him who he is and insists that he is in the right area. Modi warns him about challenging him again. Hirwani is a gentle soul, but this is too much to endure. Standing up to Modi, literally, Hirwani stresses that if he disturbs him again, he will raise another objection. Modi appears livid, but doesn’t want to create a scene. He requests Hirwani to sit down.
The incident ended there, but it left Hirwani sad. After all, a ‘Johnny Come Lately’ cricket administrator had shown scant respect for an India player. At his hotel room that night Hirwani looked up at the ceiling and urged God to teach Modi a lesson for his arrogance and he would be utterly disappointed if He didn’t.
Hirwani felt Modi got his just desserts yesterday. “Of course he has got it back for his arrogance. Just imagine, he got upset with me when I just said, ‘excuse me, Sir.’ He was so full of pride,” says Hirwani. He continues: “However great you are, people won’t like you; won’t respect you if you are arrogant. I believe that if you show disrespect to this game, it will come back and bite you in the wrong place.
“Just look at Sachin Tendulkar and Amitabh Bachchan. Despite their achievements, they don’t go about being arrogant. I tell people there is no need to read books on self improvement… just look at how Sachin and Bachchan go about spending their lives. They are wonderful role models. Modi has been paid back for his acts.”
When Hirwani complained to the Board officials about the Brabourne Stadium incident, they were upset that a national selector had been treated badly. Probably, they didn’t have the ammunition then to pull up Modi, the kind of which they possessed after the 2010 IPL edition. The former India leg-spinner doesn’t say so, but Modi’s BCCI punishment sure appears to be a wicket he has been eagerly waiting for.