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My Dream 11

Updated on: 21 April,2024 04:41 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Rahul da Cunha |

I’m allowed four overseas players-politicians—one Pakistan PM and three ex Prezzies of the USA make my outfit. 

My Dream 11

Illustration/Uday Mohite

Rahul Da CunhaAs the IPL enters the midway stage, the other IPL—Indian Political League—kicked off last Friday.

My interest in national politics has somewhat waned, but elections always piques my interest.

Here in India, the Lok Sabha elections are a two-month festival—colourful, cavalier, coalitions galore, many political parties converging, fighting for your vote, linguistic divisions, demi-gods pointing stern fingers at you… it is a true celebration, even if your name doesn’t appear on any voter’s list.

The other night, as an ad for “Dream 11” played on the telly, my mind went back in time, many old school politicians came to mind, even corrupt characters back in the day had character and charisma. There was idealism in those days, India was on the brink of history, men fought for change, to define the nation’s future. Do we have a future, is a question many ask today. 

I thought, to myself who is my ‘Dream 11’? If I had to pick my greatest ever Indian Player-Politicians League team, who would it comprise? My task was to choose eleven politicians I’ve admired, been amused by, maybe  have been angered by, but each must be an Impact Player—I’m allowed seven Indians and four overseas politicians, so here goes.

My captain, without question, is Atal Bihari Vajpayee,  politician-poet, his stint as External Affairs minister in the Janata Govt, holding him in good stead to handle the foreigners, IMHO, he was our finest PM, a leader who combined idealism with ingenuity.

Without a doubt, my pinch hitter, across generations, across party lines, is George Fernandes, Union Minister at different times for Defence and Railways. For a man with whom the country’s defence rested, he was a serious aggressor, battling for the poor and underprivileged (the man was dynamite, I mean who else would blow up public toilets to prove a point to Indira Gandhi).

Laloo Prasad Yadav with quotes like “Jab tak samosa mein rahega aalu, Bihar mein rahega Lalu” and “If Hema Malini is my fan, I am her air conditioner”, will keep the other player-politicians happy and in good humour, especially if the stump mic picks up his chatter.

Shashi Tharoor has to be player-press relations in-charge. Tharoor’s great strength is his ability to come up with long words—he is supposed to have told an opposing ex-player-politician, “You sir, suffer from ‘ultracrepidarianism’—the habit of giving opinions and advice on matters outside of one’s knowledge or competence”

With women’s cricket assuming great importance, I want Mamata Banerjee (Didi) and Mahua Moitra in my cricket cabinet as a unit, one has grit and the other glamour—these are the strong women of politics, a sport dominated by men, they stand tall, fiery in parliament, and in person. And Jayalalitaa, if nothing else for the fact that she wore a bullet proof vest under her sari.

I’m allowed four overseas players-politicians—one Pakistan PM and three ex Prezzies of the USA make my outfit. 

I would like Imran Khan, since is he is a true player-politician but since he is lodged in a jail, maybe tough for him to cross the border (John F Kennedy is on standby as replacement)

Barack Obama, for the sheer charisma, the love for rock and roll, for the history and the humour. 

Ronald Reagan for going straight from being a cowboy on a white horse to a cowboy in the White House. Plus, the jokes about Gorbachev.

While I was contemplating who my fourth overseas player-politician could be, Donald Trump heard about this team I was putting together—he has already put out an offer for a 51 per cent stake. It is true that I am inviting trouble, but at the moment, my franchise needs funding. Donald Trump wishes to be coach, and team mentor. My team which was to be named the “Dikuna Chargers” is now to be renamed “DBYOT”—”Donalds Blow Your Own Trumpeteers”.

Rahul daCunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at

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