India August 21, 2010

The plight of the South Asian effigy burners

The Sehwag-Randiv controversy cannot be allowed to fizzle out

Wednesday, August 18th There has been an angry reaction from some quarters following the apology and suspension of Suraj Randiv for his involvement in what has become known as The Great Dambulla Disaster. The Amalgamated Union of Effigy Burners and Associated Light Arsonists have written to both the BCCI and the Sri Lankan Cricket Board, protesting at the manner in which the issue has been allowed to fizzle out.

"We note with concern,” their letter states, “that both boards appear to have taken a cavalier approach to this issue and in stubbornly refusing to pour petrol on the fire, they have allowed the delicate spark of controversy to be extinguished. We urgently ask the BCCI, the Sri Lankan government and possibly NASA and the United Nations to vigorously poke the embers of this dying scandal, in order to offer support to the hard-pressed likeness conflagrators of the subcontinent.”

Meanwhile the campaign to give Viru back his century has gathered pace. All Indian cricketers are being asked not to score a century in their next innings, out of solidarity. Already it is believed that Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar have signed up. And a charity single: “A Six for Sehwag”, designed to raise awareness of the plight of Delhi-based batsmen with only 12 one-day centuries to their name is to be recorded next week by many of the world’s best singers and Brett Lee.

Thursday, August 19th After the great injustice perpetrated against our nation yesterday, all true-born Englishmen were united today in raising a mojito to the ECB’s Emailer-in-Chief, Giles Clarke for his dynamic intervention that has salvaged our country’s pride. The crisis began less than 24 hours ago when the ICC announced the long list of nominees for some award or other. The precise name of the award and indeed the identity of any of the previous winners escaped most in these shores, but what did not pass us by was the total absence of any Englishmen on that list.

The sound of thundering jowls could be heard all the way back to Dubai, but in our hour of need, it was to our leader, Lord Clarke of Antigua, that we turned. A swift electronic mail, no doubt involving heavy use of the underline and bold font facilities and hey presto, sanity was restored to the ICC lists. I am proud to report that sitting at the head of the list of nominations for a brand new category, “Offspinners Named After Large Birds”, sits our own buck-toothed twirler, Graeme “Tiddles” Swann. Three cheers for good old Giles and God Save the Queen!

Friday, August 20th The Sri Lankan Cricket Board, under fire for arranging too many matches against India have responded to the criticism that they couldn’t possibly find a new way to take on their rivals to the north by rising to the challenge. Rather than India versus Sri Lanka in India or Sri Lanka versus India in Sri Lanka, it was today announced that their next encounter will be Sri Lanka Versus India On Ice.

The two teams will tour the ice rinks of the world re-enacting classic moments from the recent past. Laugh as the hapless Yuvraj is teased by a group of small boys waving cups of water at him! Cheer as Murali collects his 800th wicket as the clock strikes midnight! Boo as wicked Randiv hides the magical ball from the hero Viru, then cheer as the heroic Sri Lankan administrator chases him from the ice!*

* Those buying tickets for this event will be guaranteed half price admission to Sri Lanka Versus India On Ice 2, due to tour next year. Book now to avoid disappointment!

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England