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The Heavy Ball

Why Pakistan is actually New Zealand

The new definition of home series has delighted many, and confused not a few others

Indian fans burn an effigy of Greg Chappell during a demonstration as the Indian team return from Zimbabwe, where a rift developed between Chappell and Sourav Ganguly, Kolkata, September 24, 2005

Effigy-burners have fundamental rights too  •  AFP

Many people don't realise that Pakistan's recently concluded Test series in New Zealand was actually a home series for them, thanks to the combined genius of the ICC policy-makers and the security situation back home in Pakistan.
Inspired by this, teams such as India and Sri Lanka have hit upon the evil plan of improving their less-than-impressive overseas records by playing all their away series at home.
"Yes! If Pakistan can play home series in New Zealand, then we can play away series in India itself. Finally we will beat Australia in Australia by beating them in India. It's brilliant," schemed BCCI president Shashank Manohar, rubbing his palms with glue.
"Damn! It was supposed to be glee, not glue! For heaven's sake. Dumb writer! Careless editor!" he cursed, unable to separate his palms for a few hours afterwards.
The Sri Lankan cricket authorities are also thrilled with the idea.
"For our next away series, no one can accuse us of preparing slow, lifeless wickets. We can't help it if countries like South Africa or England prepare such wickets in Sri Lanka, which end up helping the away team," winked former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga, slightly breathless as always.
The news has had spinners Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis licking their lips with glee (hence cleverly escaping gluing their mouths shut).
"If Pakistan played a home series in New Zealand, we can safely conclude that Pakistan is New Zealand, since Pakistan's home is Pakistan. This means that Pakistan recently drew the series against Pakistan, played in New Zealand, which is actually Pakistan," said an increasingly flustered-looking former New Zealand great Sarfraz Nawaz. "What's next? People will soon claim that Barbados, Jamaica and West Indies are one and the same," he signed off.
There is no need to panic over rumours about a new horror film based on the return of JY Lele to Indian cricket administration
"This new development essentially means that international boundaries have become completely irrelevant. Good, now let's all quickly form clubs and play some IPL," grinned IPL commissioner Lalit Modi, displaying a keen sense of opportunism that would have made Ruud Van Nistelrooy turn green with envy.
In the meantime, South African (or possibly Bangladeshi) legend Makhaya Ntini played his 100th Test match in Durban against England (or possibly Australia). In a typically cheerful and upbeat mood on the eve of the match, Ntini told presspersons that he had absolutely no regrets at the impending end of his long and distinguished career. "Except, it would be nice if Sunny Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri would finally stop referring to me as 'En-tini'. Can't be that hard, yeah?" he winked. "I'm sure they wouldn't appreciate being referred to as Eggvaskar or… er… ah… ," he trailed off, unable to think of an interesting play on "Shastri".
Also, the effigy-burning fans in Kolkata, India, have decided to protect their rights by forming an "effigy-burners' union".
"We have to regularly burn people such as Greg Chappell, MS Dhoni and Shah Rukh Khan in effigy for hurting the sentiments of Bengali cricket fans. But the media always shows us in a negative light. We have decided to protect ourselves by forming a union," said someone whose name sounded like "Sinestro", but that couldn't possibly be true. Apparently, the effigy-burners' union will deal with anyone who criticises them by burning their effigies.
And finally, there is no need to panic over rumours about a new horror film based on the return of JY Lele to Indian cricket administration. The film is unlikely to see the light of day because a succession of studio executives have had fatal heart attacks while contemplating the idea for green-lighting.

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