This, that and the other. Mostly the other
DUBAI - Monday, there was a worldwide uproar as it was announced that the 2015 edition of the ICC cricket World Cup would only feature Test-playing nations, a decision met with anguish by fans and batsmen alike.
An ICC spokesman explained the situation: "The World Cup is a global event - there is absolutely no place for teams from around the world to participate in such a competition."
In Holland, riot police used tear gas and water cannons, as the notoriously polite cricket fans of Heerenveen descended on the city centre en masse, chanting well-worn slogans such as: "ICC All Out!" and "Free Tibet! And Holland and Ireland!"
The well-organised Dutch fans also came prepared with placards: "Try the ICC @ the International Criminal Court (it's only round the corner)," and "Give ICC the index finger!" were staples of the non-violent yet forceful protest.
Despite it being such a peaceful protest that Dutch fans were handing out cups of tea and finger sandwiches to passers-by, tear gas and water cannons were deemed necessary after an anonymous ICC representative called Dutch authorities, ominously explaining how they "have men in FIFA too, you know".
In Dublin, Ireland's cricket fraternity was in a state of shock, after having left the World Cup with their heads held high. Batting hero Kevin O'Brien said: "Look mate, it'll all work out fine in the end. But if you give us back Eoin Morgan, we promise to keep our mouths shut for the next four years."
MEANWHILE IN DUBAI an emergency meeting was called of the International Federation of Rusty Batsmen, where the decision to exclude minnows from the World Cup was received with an overwhelming sense of tragedy.
In a funereal atmosphere inside the packed Vinod Kambli Hall, incumbent IFRB president Brendon McCullum was left traumatised by the announcement. "No Canada? No Kenya? How on earth do you expect us to bat ourselves back into form? All this just as I was just starting to decipher Balaji Rao's slider," said McCullum, who averages 153 against Canada.
On being told that at least he'd still be able to face Zimbabwe in 2015, McCullum said: "Ah yes, Zimbo, I average 129 against them, right? But I thought you said only Test nations would be playing in 2015... oh, seriously? Zimbabwe are back in Test cricket?"
McCullum was cut short, as an ICC agent in suit, black tie and sunglasses appeared from the shadows, summarily shook his head and retreated into the darkness.
As if on the cusp of concluding an important business transaction, honorary life member JP Duminy (average: 102.25 v Zimbabwe) looked on with great interest, occasionally nodding firmly, and tentatively red-inking dates in his 2015 diary.
"It's not all bad - we just reached a landmark deal, getting tailenders to agree that they'd throw away their wickets to Steve Smith," said Kieron Pollard, a keen participant in his first meeting of the federation, beaming from ear to ear. "It should keep Smith in the Aussie side for the foreseeable future."
Since Ricky Ponting - ever the optimist - classed him as an "allrounder", Smith is also a de facto member of the IFRB, and initiated a standing ovation in response to Pollard's assertion.
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