London: As Indian journalists covering the 30th Olympiad we often get an 'inferiority' complex. Surrounded my thousands of media persons from across the globe, especially from those from China, Korea and Japan, the mood in the Indian media dressing room has been rather cold. With just four medals to show for till Thursday evening, Indian journalists have little to write home about. But not quite!
Mary Kom's bronze medal ceremony at the ExCel Arena was 'celebrated' with the same zest as the British media's merriment of Nicola Adam's historic gold medal in women’s boxing. But late on Thursday evening, the Indian Press got the world’s fastest man talking about one of our most prized sporting property, the Indian Premier League!
Before the London Olympics tennis competition started at Wimbledon, Roger Federer arrived at the Main Press Centre for a media interaction. The usual and a few not-so-usual questions were asked and Federer fended them off like his classy volleys. Yours truly asked Federer about the tennis controversy around Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna. The Swiss legend took the question and gave his opinion.
At the Olympic Park Thursday night, Bolt was equally forthcoming when asked on the IPL. There was no sign of irritation, no anger as the showman that he is, obliged with a pretty long riposte. After all, Bolt is a close friend of West Indian master blaster Chris Gayle!
"I definitely love cricket... not as much as Yohan loves cricket. For me, it's a great sport and I love the 20-20. Cricket with the new rules kind of allows me to see it. I don't have to say much about the IPL and I try and catch as many matches as possible. The one and the greatest stars to have been there, Chris Gayle, I Usain Bolt have got his wicket. So I don’t want to say any more.
"I am ready for the IPL... if I get a chance it's something new to try. It's going to be fun and give me joy. If I get a chance, it will be something wonderful to do," Bolt said.
If Bolt seems to talking about his IPL 'dreams' with a tinge of humour, Blake seemed more serious.
The Jamaican, who claims he is an all-rounder, said: "Of course I want to play in the IPL. Cricket is my first love and if I get the chance I want to play. A couple of teams want me to come and try out because my game is supposed to be good. I will be going to Mumbai (Indians) and also (Royal Challengers) Bangalore. I love you Indian people," he said.
Chris (Gayle) is a great friend and I follow his side very closely. I also like Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai (Super Kings). But I want to play for Royal Challengers Bangalore because of Chris," he added. But can financially struggling Vijay Mallya afford Blake?
Blake claims he can bowl faster than Zaheer Khan and Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni were among his favourites. “But Virat is young and a great player. I really love watching him play," Blake added.
At least, there was something for the Indian journalists to smile about!