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The Heavy Ball

Uncapped Pakistan youngster announces Test comeback

And Suresh Raina admits he doesn't know who his team is playing against

Mohammad Yousuf and Kamran Akmal share a joke as Pakistan prepare for the series finale at Lord's, August 24, 2010

"…And this one time I revoked a retirement so quickly, I got dizzy"  •  Getty Images

A young Pakistani cricketer named Mohammed Waris, who has yet to play an international game, has announced that he will be returning to the national Test side for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka.
Speaking to the press, Waris confirmed news of his comeback, saying his decision was influenced by public demand as well as personal requests from the president of Pakistan, former players, and someone named Azeez.
"It is true that I had decided never to represent my country again in Tests - a decision made easier by the fact that I was never picked, nor was I anywhere in the selectors' future plans. But if my country needs me, then I am always available," he said, before adding, "If selected, I will be proud to be the first international cricketer to make his debut in his comeback Test."
Even for a country where some individual players go through more retirements, comebacks, bans and pardons than the entire nation of New Zealand, this has come as a bit of a shock.
"It's completely ridiculous. What has Pakistan cricket come to?" fumed an angry Mohammad Yousuf, the holder of the international Test record for "retiring for the time being". "In our generation you had to earn your comebacks by paying your dues. Players had to work hard and go through the grind of getting picked and then randomly dropped or banned, or having to suddenly retire in order to get the chance to make a comeback. These days youngsters are making comebacks even before they have played a single international game."
"Damn. The kid's totally gone and stolen my thunder," said former skipper Shahid Afridi, in the middle of a temporary retirement imbroglio himself. "Now I'll have to think of something even more sensational. Maybe I'll retire from Twenty20 and then announce an ODI comeback, while simultaneously getting banned from Tests," he pondered.
The PCB has attempted to bring some sense to proceedings by announcing a blanket ban that will prevent retired players from playing cricket. "Effective immediately, any Pakistani cricketer who has retired from playing all forms of the game will not be allowed to play any form of the game. Players found violating this ban will be banned from retiring, and will be forced to play all forms of the game," said a PCB spokesperson, secure in the knowledge that Pakistan is the only country where his statement could actually be considered to make any sense at all.
Meanwhile the Indian ODI squad under Suresh Raina has admitted that they have no idea who they are currently playing against.
"Who are we playing?" said skipper Raina, his brows knit in concentration. "Well, hmm… let me see… can't be West Indies. There's no Chris Gayle. There's a guy who looks like Ramnaresh Sarwan but clearly isn't him, judging by his batting. There seem to be random guys named Sammy, Lendl, Andre, and a bunch of others I can't recognise."
"So let me guess. Sudan? Andheri West? Chicago Bulls?" he hazarded, more in hope than anything else.
"It's getting hard to keep track, quite honestly. With all the cricket being played, I sometimes can't remember if I'm playing for club or country, in a Test or Twenty20, or even cricket or table tennis," admitted Raina, finally shedding light on some of his more curious shot selections.
The BCCI has been quick to defend Raina's comments. "Our players play a lot, so some confusion is inevitable. As long as they are absolutely clear whether they are playing a match or shooting a commercial, they should be fine," said board president Shashank Manohar, desperately trying not to form mental images of a bare-chested MS Dhoni tossing a bar of sandalwood soap to Zaheer Khan at Lord's in July.

Anand Ramachandran is a writer, comics creator and videogame designer who works when he isn't playing some game with an "of" in its name. He blogs here and tweets here. All "quotes" and "facts" in this piece are made up, but you knew that already, didn't you?