The usual enthusiasm in his voice was missing. On enquiring, he said: “Yes, I am not keeping well. I have viral fever. But I will be okay very soon.” Before I could express my disappointment over his ill health, Lele asked: “What is it that made you ring me up?”
After being briefed about the BCCI president-in-exile N Srinivasan announcing his intentions to contest for the top post during the September 29 AGM in Chennai, Lele, like always, was quick to shoot from the lip: “It is nonsense. He has to first set his own house in order before running the Board. He punished the players (S Sreesanth and Ankeet Chavan in the IPL spot fixing scandal), but what about his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan? This is nothing, but double standards from Srinivasan. He has to go. He has ruined the Board.”
Lele then promised to give me some inside information regarding the forthcoming BCCI elections. “Call me tomorrow (Friday) and I shall let you know the exact developments,” he said before ending the call.
A few hours later, a little past midnight, I learnt Lele had passed away. Life’s unpredictable ways came to fore yet again.