This, that and the other. Mostly the other
Police claim to have uncovered a nefarious IPL racket with connections to the Mumbai underworld and beyond, according to unconfirmed reports.
During the course of a daring late-night raid on a series of houses in the otherwise respectable neighbourhood of Noida, near Delhi, a Special Operations Force reportedly arrested scores of people suspected of being engaged in the illicit and subversive activity of not watching IPL matches.
"I don't want to say anything too soon," said new IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla. "But we appear, at last, to have stumbled upon the mysterious reason why television ratings for this year's IPL have been suffering of late."
Acting on an anonymous tip, which police admitted was provided to them by the otherwise jobless Sidhartha Mallya on behalf of his father (whose investment in the IPL is starting to look as turbulent as the state of Kingfisher Airlines), police reportedly entered a house to find a group of young men sitting around watching a rerun of Desperate Housewives.
"It was the episode where Lynette tries to keep her pregnancy a secret, and Bree begins an affair with Karl," said a disgusted chief of police, BK Gupta. "Not that I would know anything about that. But it was as surreal as it was shocking to see these guys sitting around watching this stuff. It's like they didn't even know that a second Kolkata Knight Riders v Deccan Chargers match in three days was live on another channel."
In another house, officers claimed to have caught an otherwise-normal-looking young man getting ready to go "outside" to meet what he called "friends" in what appeared to be an attempt at entertaining some twisted notion he had of having a "life".
"It really makes your skin crawl," said Gupta. "I mean, this kid was so ordinary he could have been anyone you or I know. He's like your typical boy next door. Especially to his neighbours. It makes you wonder who else out there could be involved in similar unpatriotic activities."
Shukla said this latest menace to the game might be more widespread than is assumed.
"Yes, there have been reports of such rackets across the country. In Chennai, for example, there have been reports of people walking aimlessly on the beach, taking deep breaths of disgustingly fresh air while they could be at home watching a match between a team wearing red and another team wearing blue."
The police have asked members of the public to be vigilant and to turn in those they suspect of not watching the IPL. They have come up with a list of telltale signs that might betray a non-watcher:
1. He or she claims to have friends
2. Doesn't shout "Free hit!" when a bowler oversteps the mark in a Test match
3. Responds to his or her name when called, instead of slumping to one side while drooling from the mouth
4. Doesn't hate himself and want to die
5. Remembers exactly which two teams he saw playing last night
6. Isn't helplessly humming the Deccan Chargers theme song
7. Finds himself slowly gravitating to watching other sports just for the sake of doing so, even if it means watching reruns of the Delhi Commonwealth Games on Doordarshan
Police have set up an anonymous hotline for people to report the crime. To give him something to do, the phone line will be manned by Sidhartha Mallya.
R Rajkumar tweets here
All quotes and "facts" in this article are made up, but you knew that already, didn't you?
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