May 11, 2013

The inter-continental Twitter saga

Also known as the Lav Committee controversy

Twitter wars are less dangerous than real wars, but they are far more tedious. You know that a cricket Twitter war is going on because your timeline is full of inaccurate expletive-laden historical references, as though the opening-night disco at the International Conference of Anglo-Indian History had degenerated into a drunken text fight.

I'm not sure when hostilities began, but by Wednesday, the conflict was raging and the intellectual collateral damage was terrible. You know how it goes: colonialism, Gandhi, nuclear weapons, corruption, poverty, the class system, the caste system, the MCC, Henry Blofeld, Priety Zinta, cement, committees, Kermit the frog, a proper cup of tea, and so on.

Usually in these circumstances, I take the precaution of remaining uninformed. Ignorance is bliss, and it's also your best defence. If you're ever cornered in one of these sporadic inter-continental stupidity wars, your best chance of avoiding a tedious argument is to know nothing. Tim May? Nope, never heard of him. Can I go now?

Still, for the benefit of Page 2 readers who might be mildly curious, I have been able to reconstruct events from other people's spittle-flecked messages.

It seems the trouble started on the ICC's Lavatory Committee (which, as I'm sure you're aware, is a sub-committee of the ICC's General Cleaning and Maintenance Committee, with the power to pass non-binding toilet-paper resolutions). At their last meeting, the committee took a vote on whether to replace Third Floor Assistant Facilities Operative, Mr Brad Angry. The vote initially favoured Mr Angry, but after three recounts, it was discovered that this was a mistake, and that in fact the job should go to a Mr Chennai Moustache.

Few things are more emotive to a cricket fan than the cleanliness of the toilets on the third floor of the ICC building, so understandably the situation escalated, with supporters of Mr Angry complaining that he was only removed because he had tried to beat the cistern, and Mr Moustache's fans claiming that his predecessor was a busted flush.

All very silly and it detracted from the most important cricket event of the week, which was, obviously, Kings XI Punjab against Rajasthan Royals on Thursday afternoon.

Kings XI are my team. Sort of. There are approximately 5700 miles between my living room and the state of Punjab, and other than a tendency to be a bit of a disappointment and the fact that I don't look very good in red either, we have nothing in common. Yet somewhere in cyber space is an electronic betting slip with our names on it, so we are bound together in a common cause. A common losing cause, as it transpires.

Asked to bat first, which apparently they don't like, they set a ho-hum sort of total and hoped for the best. In return, The Right Honourable Earl Dravid, weary of always being the sensible one, got himself bowled, which brought Mr Shane Watson to the crease.

I've seen a lot of Watson lately and I'm still not sure he's a cricketer. He doesn't seem entirely comfortable out there, like a pet bull on a leash being dragged reluctantly around a china shop. He's too strong for his own good. I bet he pulls the handles off doors and snaps pencils in half when he tries to write; which may explain his little homework difficulty.

He hit a few brutal looking shots and things were getting serious, so Kings XI had to look for outside assistance to remove him. Cue the IPL commentary team:

"Watson and Rahane are playing Chawla well."

Watson was bowled next ball. But it was a false dawn. Rahane and young Samson gathered the remaining runs, mostly in ones and twos. It wasn't very Twenty20, in fact it was like watching a pair of accountants prudently accumulating a modest retirement fund. But they got the job done.

So now the IPL trapdoor is open and the Kings XI are hanging on grimly, their feet dangling above the crocodile pit of failure. Tune in on Saturday afternoon to find out what happens next (although I think we can probably guess.)

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England. He tweets here