This, that and the other. Mostly the other
Teams: Sri Lanka
In its most dramatic move yet, Sri Lanka's sports ministry has sacked the entire Sri Lankan cricket public and announced that they will be replaced by cheaply built scarecrows. The decision, which many are struggling with, firstly to comprehend and secondly not to chuckle at, has been described by the ministry as long overdue, and part of the natural order of change that Sri Lankan cricket needs to undergo.
"Sri Lankan cricket is currently said to be at its lowest point. But you must ask yourself this. Who judges what the lowest or even the highest point is?" a spokesman said.
"I will tell you who. It is these people who call themselves 'fans'. Now, in my mind, a fan is just something that sits on my desk and propels cold, refreshing air during a hot Colombo day. But these fans are a cancer. Spreading through society like a rainy-season cold. Dictating what a good or bad performance is. So we thought to ourselves - if we remove this unnecessary aspect, then this will open up a whole new opportunity for Sri Lankan cricket to prosper. With no public reaction or interference, which I am sure has been quite frustrating and an annoyance for players, cricket can go on as it is."
The official went on to say that he believed the move would open up several revenue streams for SLC and encourage new industries in rural areas of the island.
"A scarecrow on every seat. What we propose is a scheme where a fan can represent himself at the ground by purchasing a scarecrow, which we will then place on a seat at the nominated ground. The fans' rights are limited to the purchase of the scarecrow - they have no say or input into the game before, during or after. It's ingenious."
When Tillakaratne Dilshan, the first victim of the ministry's many sweeping changes, was approached for comment, he spoke about the realities of the new dawn for Sri Lankan cricket. "The axe had to fall and I have accepted the decisions made. I did everything for my country. I bowled, I batted. Opened, kept. Did it all, really. I was once asked to sit at the back of the team bus because my gold chain nearly blinded Mahela in one eye. I did that too. No questions asked.
"By the way, do you have any spare change for a can of Fanta?"
As news filtered through to the rest of the world about this unprecedented move, it gained support from some unusual corners. Several high-profile Indian cricketers, who wished to remain anonymous, have backed the move as something the BCCI could also look at implementing.
"Sometimes you just want to go out there and get some runs, maybe a 100, and not worry about what the fans are going to think. Or do. Do you have any idea how much I pay on home content insurance? My premiums are through the roof!"
The Sri Lankan sports ministry meanwhile is convinced that this series of changes is what the Sri Lankan cricket team has been crying for.
"What the team is in need of at the moment is stability. We believe this change, along with the other 20 to 30 changes we are going to be making in future, will provide them this environment, but getting rid of the fans will prove to have the biggest impact of them all.
In addition to this, we have asked Mahela to bat without a sponsor's sticker on his bat, like Michael Clarke, and Kumar to perhaps use locally made shoes so that he doesn't get run out so often."
A call placed to SLC headquarters for comment on the changes was taken by SLC president Upali Dharmadasa. "We at SLC HQ have no knowledge of any such decisions and cannot confirm their validity," he said. "These appear to be more baseless rumours spun by the spin doctors in the media. Hold on, I have a call on the other line.
"So as I was saying, we are fully supportive of the sports minister's decisions and believe them to be in the best interests of Sri Lankan cricket. Now, I really must go. We have a seafood buffet for lunch and I heard Arjuna was in the building."
Damith Samarakoon is a Sri Lankan cricket fanatic living in Sydney. He blogs regularly at www.theflyslip.net
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