March had a few moments of cricketing glory, most notably the conclusion of the Women's T20 World Cup in Australia. Although cricket administrators took one last chance to impose their foolishness, by failing to have a reserve day for the semi-finals of that tournament, there was, for once, a bigger force ruining cricket this month. The Briefing is coming to terms with the new global reality by casting many of our favourite cricket stars in roles befitting the times.
Self-isolation maestro: Kevin Pietersen
Will storm out of own house because he's annoyed at the way house is run. Will be graciously taken in by a new house, but after a while begins to send snarky texts about his new housemates to his old housemates. Gets kicked out of new house. Old house doesn't want him back. No choice but to go and hang out with wildlife.
Super immune: Kamran Akmal
We all know what the joke here is, right? Like an edge from Michael Hussey, Covid-19 would go beautifully into his gloves, then rapidly back out again.
Superspreader: Shane Warne
No, Shane, racing over to your Tinder match's place at 2:36am cannot be considered providing an essential service.
Superspreader No. 2: Shoaib Akhtar
You know… genital warts.
Could go either way: Geoffrey Boycott
Isolation specialist in the England team, in the sense that he is at home at the crease and will stubbornly stay where he is. Infamously reluctant to undergo personal inconvenience for the greater good, though. Definite superspreader within the bounds of Yorkshire county.
Stay-at-home visionary: Allan Donald
Edgbaston non-striker's end, 1999.
WhatsApp uncle: Michael Vaughan
Strong opinions. Usually unverified. Almost always wrong. Will definitely fight you in front of everybody if you try to challenge him. Saner people have to lead you away telling you he's not worth it, after you get way too fired up.
Toilet-paper hoarder: Cameron Bancroft
Appropriately stashed away in underpants.
Frustrated Italian mayor: Mahela Jayawardene
All over Twitter and Instagram, imploring his fellow Sri Lankans to keep their distance in supermarket queues, and to be disciplined about isolation. Fighting dimwits all up in his mentions as well.
Superspreader No. 3: Shahid Afridi
No sex jokes here. He just seems the type.
Person whose life has most been sapped of joy: Ravi Shastri
It's been days since he last saw Virat Kohli in the flesh.
Other cricketing inconveniences:
Angelo Mathews spent the last three months working incredibly hard on his fitness. Just as he was getting done losing all the excess weight, the planet goes into mandated couch potato mode. We still loved you thicc, Angie.
Already-thicc-cricketer watch: Lasith Malinga
He is Sri Lanka's T20 captain, and is meant to lead the team in the next T20 World Cup, whenever that is held. A little worried about how this will turn out.
Cricketer most-qualified to lead humanity in an apocalypse:
He dragged his team out of a huge match fixing scandal, led them through tough years of exile, dealt with a board that seemed to change presidents every month for a while, fashioned match-turning bowlers out of spare parts floating around the domestic system, and gracefully gritted his teeth through whatever fresh hells the Akmal bros were brewing up. Global pandemic? Misbah-ul-Haq's got us covered.
Possible cricket hiatus fan: Shakib-Al-Hasan
Who is currently serving a one-year suspension for a corruption-related infringement.
Probable IPL hiatus fans: Royal Challengers Bangalore supporters
You put on a brave face every year. You grit your way through being a laughing stock. "They'll get it right this season," you tell yourself. But look deep. Deep into your heart of hearts. You know the truth.
Next month on the Briefing:
- Huge vaccine breakthrough in the fight against Covid-19 after scientists devise way to inject Kamran Akmal directly into the bloodstream.
- Shastri discovered in his home speaking manically to a pile of cushions, broomsticks and pillows fashioned in the likeness of Kohli.