Thursday, November 29, 2001

Bombay Manicurist Nails Denness's Lie

"This is a conspiracy to malign me," thundered Anirudh Nakunwala.
As the official manicurist of the Indian cricket team, he is predictably perturbed by Mike Denness's suspension of Sachin Tendulkar for running his nails along the seam of the ball.
"Just before, the Indian team left for South Africa, I had an extended session with each one of them,'' he says, sitting in his now empty Hard As Nails salon in Bandra. "In fact, I clearly remember clipping Sachin's nails so short that the stubs of his fingers were pink as a new-born's bottom."
He claims to have supplied each member of the cricket team with imported, specially-fitted clippers that could clip nails as short as 0.001mm. Explaining in detail why he doesn't buy the charges against Sachin, he says: "Nails grow at an average rate of 1.8 inches per month. I spoke to Sachin on the second day of the second test, and he had just clipped his nails. Some simple math would tell us that his nails would have been just 0.12 inches long when he allegedly tampered the ball. Now, tell me, could he have made any difference to the ball with those nails? I don't know what he was doing to the ball, because with those nails, he is unlikely to have even got any dirt off the seam."
He points to the empty chairs in his salon and says wistfully, "On any given day before the controversy, these chairs would be fully occupied. Now, nobody wants to have their nails clipped here." His business has dropped by over 80 per cent in the last few days.
He has been in touch with his lawyer and is contemplating legal action against Mike Denness and the ICC. "I plan to sue them for damages and loss of business," he says, biting his nails.
He believes the ICC needs to be more consistent in enforcing its laws with regards to the permissible length of nails. He feels teams in the sub-continent are hauled up more frequently for nail violations than those in the West. "I don't want to comment whether this is racism, but there is definitely a bias here, and that's not good for cricket, neither is it good for my business."
His favourite customers, he says, were the Aussies and the Pakis.
"When the Australians were in India," he claims, "only the Aussie batsmen would have a manicure. The bowlers usually opted only for a pedicure."
What about the Pakistani bowlers? "Oh, they are very prompt with their manicure. Who would need nails, when you have bottle crowns?"

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