I hate Ferrari
Being a McLaren Mercedes man, I have always hated Ferrari, just for the fact that the &@$%@^% Schumacher (the elder) drives for them. But this hate has not extended beyond Formula 1, at least not until now.
Fiat's decision to gift a Ferrari 360 Modena to Sachin Tendulkar and the subsequent controversy has changed the status quo. Throughout the fracas and the spate of PILs that have been added to the already flooded Indian courts (the latest being this),Fiat's only response has been a statement offering to pay the import duty for the car. This was about three weeks ago. But since then the PIL's have only doubled and the company has been strangely silent in this regard. If the Ferrari was "meant to felicitate and honor him for his achievement" (equaling Don Bradman's 29 Test centuries), then the company is doing him more harm by not backing him aggressively. So much that Sachin (already the most introverted among the ranks of the Indian cricket team) is is staying away from the media in a manner that has raised eyebrows. Surely, someone could sit beside him when he meets the media and tell the media before hand that only questions pertaining to the camp and other cricketing issues will be entertained. Or worse, questions can be planted. I am sure Sachin knows quite a few people in media rank and these people could be coerced to ask only those questions. In fact, the BCCI has a media manager appointed - Amrit Mathur, who himself writes columns and hence is known in the fraternity himself. But strange are the ways of Indian cricket and strange they will be till professionals take over the management.
And it is now known that the Government had in fact changed laws last year, enabling such exemptions on a case-to-case basis. While the Sachin issue set precedence (the law was changed to facilitate this case), surely this will be done to other individuals as well on a deserving basis. And I am sure that no person is more deserving than Sachin in this aspect. Hence this issue might be nothing after all.
Coming back to Fiat and their original offer. Come out to the open guys and get back on that offer. Let the people and the media know you are still behind Sachin. It looks as if he is a Lone Ranger now. However after all the mud racking, it is best that Fiat owns up and pays the money on Sachin’s behalf to ensure that Sachin is vilified no more and can concentrate on cricketing issues.
QOTD:"There was no championship, but equalling Sir Don Bradman's record of 29 centuries is [a] landmark achievement. The spirit of the exemption notification is that the prize should reflect a landmark achievement. The duty exemption may therefore be granted." - Finance Minister Jaswant Singh, elaborating on the reasons behind the exemption.