The Heavy Ball

In-flight cricket, and a see-through CEO

The ICC has a plan to bring in the crowds for the Twenty20, and it includes the words "mini-TV"

Shonali Nagrani gets crowned Miss India, October 8, 2003

Ms Nagrani can't bring herself to do the "Who, me?" look when informed that instead of a cash prize, the first runner-up gets to head the IPL  •  AFP

Even the most charitable among us would have to admit that the ICC World Twenty20 has gotten off to a rather low-key start. Empty stands, rain interruptions, and the very genteel behaviour displayed by the likes of Shahid Afridi and Harbhajan Singh do not an exciting tournament make.
In fact, response to the tournament has been so subdued that even the ICC president, David Morgan, has no idea that it's going on.
"Really? An international Twenty20 tournament is on right now? Wow!" said Morgan, who admitted he's been too busy watching the final season of Lost to pay any heed to the cricket.
"Oh yes! Now I remember. That's the tournament in which England recently lost to some country named Duckworth-Lewis. Glad to see that the associate countries such as Afghanistan, Ireland and Duckworth-Lewis are doing well," he chuckled, attempting what can only be described as a quasi-recovery. When someone hurriedly pointed out his gaffe, Morgan turned all sheepish and replied, "Oops. Rain rule, eh? My mistake. It's these ruddy West Indian nations, naming places after people. St Vincent. Kingston. Cayman. Windward. How's a man not to get all confused?"
Thankfully, unlike Mr Morgan, others at the ICC have indeed taken notice of the World Twenty20, and in particular of the distressing fact that despite the reduced ticket prices, seats continue to be empty at the stadiums. "Our research over the years shows that people much prefer watching cricket on TV rather than at the stadiums - TV audiences are greatly outnumbering spectators at the grounds. So we need to take steps to bring people back to the stadiums," said a concerned ICC CEO, Haroon Lorgat.
Apparently the ICC is considering installing a TV set in every seat (like those fancy in-flight entertainment screens that always show some Ben Stiller movie) at cricket grounds all over the Caribbean to woo spectators back.
"Since people obviously love watching the games on TV, we're confident that this innovation will bring people into the stadiums in droves, since they'll no longer be forced to watch the live action unfolding in front of them. And since the spectators will be watching on the TV screens, we won't even have to conduct the matches at the same venue. A match scheduled at, say, Providence could be safely conducted miles away at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Think what this would do for rain delays," said Mr Lorgat, pleased to have solved multiple problems with one elegant move. "Plus, we could sell even more tickets at the SCG, install more TV sets there, and then move the game to some other venue. The possibilities are endless... " he concluded, triggering off an infinite-loop sequence that will keep the ICC's cricket operations department occupied till the end of time.
In keeping with the theme of low-profile entities, the BCCI is reportedly regretting the decision to appoint the thoroughly unexciting Chirayu Amin as the IPL chairman.
"Yes, we know transparency is important and all that, but this man is so transparent, you can't even see him," joked board president Shashank Manohar, doing his best John Cena impersonation. Apparently the BCCI is already planning to replace Mr Amin with TV presenter Shonali Nagrani, since she has shown that she has the chief skill required to occupy an IPL post - selectively revealing certain things while concealing the more relevant details. All those who suddenly had visions of Lalit Modi in a shoulder-less gown, please leave the room.

Anand Ramachandran is a writer and humourist based in Mumbai. He blogs at bosey.co.in. All quotes and facts in this article are fiction (but you knew that already, didn't you?)