The Heavy Ball

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The world match-fixing championship

Yet another cunning plan from the ICC to save our great game. And Sidhu confesses

Anand Ramachandran

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Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament Navjot Singh Sidhu on his return to his constituency, at the railway station in Amritsar, March 19, 2010
"It is the noblesse of the populace that I have to thank for this fine garland, my friends" © AFP
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With the menace of match-fixing once again rearing its ugly head and spreading its tentacles across India, Pakistan and England, cricket authorities are faced with the stern challenge of ensuring that the sport is kept clean. This time, however, they have responded with an elegant and far-sighted solution that will ensure that the sport is rid of match-fixing once and for all - by simply legalising the entire thing.

"Several countries legalise things such as prostitution, gambling, and even marijuana, so that these activities are brought under government regulation, and become legitimate businesses that generate revenue for the authorities. So we've decided that the way forward is to legalise match-fixing and bring it under ICC rules, so that the sport can be free of this illegal and evil influence," said ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat, ignoring the shadowy figure with a mobile phone lurking behind him.

To kick off the new initiative, the ICC will organise a world match-fixing championship, in which the finest match-fixing talent from around the globe will battle for supremacy. Teams will first fix matches in a group stage, which will be played in a league format, and then the four best teams (India, Pakistan, England and West Indies) will progress to the semi-finals. In the final India will bat first and score about 250, despite losing both openers within the first three overs. Pakistan, when chasing, will start well, but a clutch of run-outs in the middle order will cost them dearly. Misbah-ul-Haq will remain unbeaten on a fighting 47 as India win by 12 runs. India will then become the first ICC match-fixing world champions, ensuring that the tournament is insanely profitable. The ICC world match-fixing championships will also be the first international sporting tournament where the final result is already known in advance, other than Wimbledon between 2003 and 2007.

The entire tournament will be closely monitored by the ICC's newly formed anti-anti-corruption-unit, to ensure that all the match-fixing activities are fair and above suspicion. "Cheats will be dealt with severely. The match-fixing World Cup is all about honesty and fair-play, and we must do all we can to protect the integrity and image of this great sport," said an out-going functionary, a man whose name is eerily close to that of a popular contraceptive device.

The ICC is also hoping that integrating match-fixing as an integral part of cricket will help popularise the sport in associate countries, since they now need not always lose interest after getting their butts kicked by Australia.

"We are hoping that match-fixing really takes off and sits proudly beside Tests, ODIs and Twenty20 as a popular and viable format of cricket," said Mr Lorgat.

In other news, former cricketer and uncrowned grandfather of mixed metaphors Navjot Singh Sidhu has finally revealed the true reason for his tendency to get run out, which once sparked a row between him and then skipper Mohammad Azharuddin.

"You have to realise that most of the time I was batting with K Srikkanth and Ravi Shastri. So the calling was a total disaster," said Sidhu. "When the simple 'yes' and 'no' are replaced with 'This is what the doctor ordered, Sherry, let's add to the total', or 'No, don't run, my dear friend, I think that's totally suicidal. I think we better not run, my dear friend. Rukh jao, Sherry bhai', it doesn't quite make for quick running. Run-outs are bound to happen."

Sidhu also sportingly refused to blame it all on his former batting partners. "I was equally bad. I once called for a brace by telling Srikkanth, 'It's a happy day for the gander and the goose, when good running converts ones into twos.' Needless to say, Cheeka was duly run out. We never realised that the precious seconds we were wasting on calling could actually be spent gaining ground between the wickets," he said, explaining a great deal more than he intended.

RSS FeedAnand Ramachandran is a writer and humourist based in Mumbai. He blogs at bosey.co.in. All quotes and facts in this article are fiction (but you knew that already, didn't you?)

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Posted by Arjun on (May 31, 2010, 12:05 GMT)

Nice one Anand.Very funny like most of ur articles:)

Posted by Dummy4 on (May 29, 2010, 6:41 GMT)

Super, Anand! As usual!

And it looks like your talking about Wimbeldon between 2003 and 2007 has made someone think you too young to know about the 70s and 80s! Good one! Hahahaha!

Chill, Mr.Ali.majaz and Taiyab Ullah! Get yourself a sense of humour! This is a funny article. Not war!

:-)

Posted by Satish on (May 29, 2010, 5:43 GMT)

Of course Mark Waugh and Shane Warne could be called out of retirement for this tournament but that sentence wouldn't meet the approval of the Holy Cows in CI editorial board, would it? And Anand Sahib would know it would get far less attention than terms like India and Azharuddin in an article about match-fixing.

Posted by SRINI on (May 29, 2010, 4:16 GMT)

You betray your age, Mr Anand Ramachandran! The Wimbledon matches results were known well in advance twice before: Martina v anybody (who cares!) and Ivan Lendl v anybody, really 'nobody'!) Oh yes, in case you need it to be explicitly stated, Lendl loses to the 'cow on the grass' on that July Sunday! LOL!!!

Posted by SRINI on (May 29, 2010, 4:01 GMT)

Good one indeed! BCCI must already be planning an IMFL (no, I dont mean the 'liquid' variety!) but the cash flowing from the Indian Match Fixing League. I wd imagine mobile phones will hit the price of gold and will become as scarce as a decent politician in India. Come to think of it there cd be a shortage of people interested in politics with all those folks turning to the IMFL as they already are in the IMFL anyway - Indians Made Fools League!

As recent news suggests the Elite English Counties will surely send a delegation to explore how a tie up can be arranged for the English summer (the chief betting item cd be how to 'fix' the English weather!) Excuse me, I will get back later, someone with an Italian accent is on Skype!

Posted by roja on (May 28, 2010, 23:40 GMT)

This is helarious. Recently when Munbai lost in IPL final I was laughing when Sachim telundakar would not score I knew right then that this match has been fixed and every thing has been fixed. Match fixing is only done by brand name players and people respect these players a lot. Anand should bring more humuor to players like sachim telundakar, ravi shastri, Azuruddin, chiraguunddin, garwaskur, or any other respected match fixers.

Posted by Sriram on (May 28, 2010, 17:37 GMT)

AWESOME.and for people like "i bilal" who find the most boring sentence as the funniest and the rest as boring,please stay away from these articles on the heavy ball and go to rediff instead.ull find ur sorts commenting regularly there.who knos,u might find a life campanion!!

Posted by Anurag on (May 28, 2010, 17:21 GMT)

the last part about sidhu srikanth and shastri running each other out...i have never ever ever heard of a more hilarious concept man....hats off to you....you are the best...cant stop laughing

Posted by Dummy4 on (May 28, 2010, 13:46 GMT)

Hello ali.majaz, the short ball problem is based on skill we (Indians) will overcome it someday. But brother match fixing problem comes from greed and your team (pakistan) is the champion in it. Every other day they get involved in it. Atleast when India takes the field they are the favourite to win it and not the underdog.

Posted by kierang on (May 28, 2010, 13:45 GMT)

Match fixers want their glory days too! Let them escape the shadows and represent their nations in the full light of day!

India may be favorites, but can they stand the challenge of The Leather Jackets, those wily South Africans? Can simple bluff-and-bluster Australians rise to the occasion and fix it with the best of them? Will England out-fix the Windies in the Bangla Desh v Afghanistan match?

It's 6-4 that New Zealand will go out in the semis against Zimbabwe trying to fix Sri Lanka v Pakistan!

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Anand Ramachandran
Anand Ramachandran is a game designer and writer based in Bangalore. He specialises in finding creative ways to justify time and money spent on watching sports, playing games and reading comics as "professional investment". He boasts a batting average of 79.66 with 53 first-class hundreds in various cricket videogames, on platforms as diverse as the Sinclair ZX-Spectrum and modern PCs and consoles.

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Anand RamachandranClose
Anand Ramachandran Anand Ramachandran is a game designer and writer based in Bangalore. He specialises in finding creative ways to justify time and money spent on watching sports, playing games and reading comics as "professional investment". He boasts a batting average of 79.66 with 53 first-class hundreds in various cricket videogames, on platforms as diverse as the Sinclair ZX-Spectrum and modern PCs and consoles.
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