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The Heavy Ball

The PCB gets tough, bidding gets rampant, England get cracking

This time the Pakistan board means business, and to prove it, they've looked across the seas for players to ban

Ijaz Butt speaks to the media, Dubai, August 27, 2009

"Something stinks in here. That's it, I'm banning socks"  •  Associated Press

Following the sudden, unexpected bans on several senior players in the Pakistan cricket team, the PCB has surprised everyone by slapping life bans on former New Zealand players Ewen Chatfield, Roger Twose and Stuart Gillespie.
"Yes. We are furious at the goings-on in Pakistan cricket and are in the mood to dish out severe punishment. But since we've pretty much banned every cricketer possible and run out of local options, we've had to resort to the rather nifty trick of dealing out harsh punishments to random guys from New Zealand who don't even play anymore. Bwahahahaha!" said PCB chairman Ijaz Butt, laughing maniacally at his diabolical plan.
Butt also categorically ruled out any chance of the bans on the former Kiwis being reduced. "Absolutely not. We will make sure that these players never represent Pakistan again. In fact, we're so thorough, we have even ensured that they have never represented Pakistan at any point in history. How's that for a complete life ban, eh?" he asked merrily, pleased at his evil genius. He was later heard furiously denying that his name was a clever pun referring to the derriere of a former Pakistan middle-order batsman.
When contacted, Twose said, "This is a great personal blow for me. I can now never achieve my lifelong dream of becoming the first occidental to represent Pakistan - other than Imran Khan, of course."
Meanwhile, an unfortunate typographical error has led to a virtual stampede to bid for the two new IPL franchises. A careless DTP operator's error during the removal of the now-notorious "US$1 billion net worth" clause, and while reducing the advance payment for bidders from $100 million to $10 million, has resulted in the figure being erroneously published as $10. This has resulted in a deluge of bids for IPL franchises. A sampling of bids: The Udupi Hotel Owners Association has bid for the Udupi Underbellies, the Versova Residents Association, Mumbai, has bid for Yari Road Youths, and someone called G Mani has bid for a franchise simply called "No. 3".
The IPL authorities are now virtually buried under a mountain of bid documents. "We are going through them alphabetically, starting off with the bid for Ambala Astrochickens. I think we will finish with Z Victor's Zoological Zapatas by circa 2016," said IPL commissioner Lalit Modi, taking a deep breath and diving back into the massive pile of papers. His head is expected to re-emerge in about six days, but his hand may emerge earlier to check messages.
However, Modi ruled out changing the terms again, saying, "Out of the question. Repeatedly changing the terms and going back on statements about the bidding process makes me look foolish. Oops... er, scratch that."
And finally, England coach Andy Flower explained his team's farcical bowling tactics in the practice game against Bangladesh A, which resulted in abnormal hitting by the Bangladesh lower order. "We use practice matches to practise the skills we use in the more important games. Since we bowl crap in Tests and ODIs, we took the opportunity to fine-tune our skills in bowling crap. Logical, no?" he explained, as the England players nodded vigorously behind him.

Any or all quotes and facts in this article may be wholly or partly fiction (but you knew that already, didn't you?)
Anand Ramachandran is a writer and humourist based in Mumbai. He blogs at bosey.co.in