This, that and the other. Mostly the other
In breaking news straight out of Hell, the Devil has announced that he will no longer be accepting souls sold at IPL auctions. In a statement released along with a sulfurous plume of infernal fire and malodorous gases, the Prince of Darkness said that the decision hadn't been an easy one to make.
"Due to unforeseen circumstances, it has become untenable to accept these souls," the statement read. "Hell no longer has a place for them, and I have nothing to offer the owners of said souls in return. We do apologise for the inconvenience, and wish you luck in your future endeavours selling your souls elsewhere."
The news appears to have deeply shaken the cricketing fraternity, and the ramifications of the announcement are expected to be felt far and wide. Some athletes are reportedly contemplating legal options.
"It's not fair, to be honest," said Kevin Pietersen. "It's common knowledge that when you enter into a pact with the Devil, you receive something in exchange for your soul. It's been many a long year since I sold mine at my first IPL auction, and I'm yet to receive the promised kickback of bountiful talent translated into results. My lawyer tells me I have a good case. If I don't hear from Hell in a week's time, I'll have no recourse but to take this to the courts."
Speculation is rife as to what prompted the extreme ruling. A purist at heart, and for long a keen follower of the game (the Chappell underarm incident has long since been attributed to his mischief, and it has been suspected on more than one occasion that Javed Miandad was but old Beelzebub in thinly veiled disguise) the Devil has, it is rumoured, become dissatisfied with the quality of the modern cricketer's soul.
"The amount of money being thrown around these days has served to adulterate what has traditionally been a very tasty and wholesome soul," said a Page 2 scribe known to be in league with Satan. "So much so that he has increasingly come to wonder whether modern cricketers possess souls at all, and that if they do, they aren't worth their weight in the transactions he makes."
Another theory making the rounds is that the Devil is simply upset that people don't approach him directly to make their deals anymore, but through an intermediary instead, like the IPL. As is well known, the IPL likes to take a significant cut of every human soul it can lay its hands on for itself before passing on the scraps.
Yet another has it that the Devil is simply upset at having his name taken in vain by the Delhi franchise of the IPL. "But who wouldn't, to be fair," said Delhi skipper Virender Sehwag, himself at one time a beneficiary of devilishly impressive hand-eye coordination.
Perhaps one should turn to Twitter for the answer. A prolific tweeter, this is the Devil's most recent message at the time of writing:
"Better luck upstairs. #QualityControl #DLFMaximumTHAT"
Perhaps one shouldn't turn to Twitter for the answer after all.
Whatever the reasons may be, the impact has been near-catastrophic. Cricketers around the world have been seen wailing and wringing their hands in gestures of futility at having been cheated out of their nefarious deals.
At the time of writing, stories continued to pour in of players forming long lines at temples, mosques, churches, and Lord's cricket ground, seeking divine pardon for having attempted to sell their souls in the first place.
"I promise I'll never play IPL again," wailed Graeme Swann. When informed that he never had, Swann whimpered. "I know," he sniffled. "Can't I just pretend for a while that I have?"
According to a poll taken of religious leaders and members of cricket boards, most of the suddenly born-again cricketers have all pledged one thing in common: to start concentrating less on money and more on Test cricket. They also promised to do the dishes more often.
R Rajkumar hopes that writing about cricket helps justify his watching it as much as he does to the people in his life who wonder where the remote control's disappeared to.
All quotes and "facts" in this article are made up, but you knew that already, didn't you?
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