This, that and the other. Mostly the other
A story by Alison Mitchell in Tuesday's Times revealed that the ECB's anti-corruption unit has not yet had a meeting since it first gathered four months ago, that members have not been contacted since, and that a Corruption Hotline for players to call in the event of a brown paper bag emergency is unmanned - and goes straight to voicemail.
Some might think that a bit of an unimpressive effort. Au contraire: the ECB have got their top people on the case; and they have synergised the following telephonic solution.
Recorded voice: "Hello and welcome to the ECB's anti-corruption hotline. Please hold."
This goes on for six minutes.
Recorded voice: "Hello and welcome to the ECB's anti-corruption hotline. To report a no-ball, please press 1. To find the address of your nearest ice-cream parlour, please press 2. If you are a match-fixer and wish to turn yourself in, please press 3. For all other options, please press 9."
The caller presses 9.
Recorded female voice: "Hello and welcome to the ECB's anti-corruption hotline. Please hold."
Vivaldi's Four Seamers (muzak version) plays.
For six minutes.
Caller jabs at buttons in rage.
Recorded voice: "You have selected 1 - reporting a no-ball. If you wish to proceed, please say: 'Howzat?'"
Embarrassed to be saying this aloud while in the queue for the cashpoint, the caller whispers: "Howzat?"
Recorded voice: "I'm sorry, I didn't catch that. If you wish to proceed, please say: 'Howzat?'"
This continues for some minutes until the caller is eventually obliged to shout: "HOWZAT??"
Recorded voice: "You have been fined for excessive appealing. Please redial on 0845 555 55555, quoting the reference 0981241jJjjjJjjJ37i12u3jjasJAKSDASK. Remember that this passcode is case sensitive. Calls will be charged at 90p per minute. If you are a match-fixer who wishes to turn himself in, please press three. Please. Please. That's our only hope. Go on. Goodbye."
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