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The Briefing

Don't look up: the James Faulkner story

Our correspondent finds that the hottest face-offs in cricket now are currently happening off the field

Faulk-no: bringing cricket back to Pakistan one chandelier at a time  •  PSL

Faulk-no: bringing cricket back to Pakistan one chandelier at a time  •  PSL

Faulkner vs the PSL
Come on PCB. What are you doing? Why are you mistreating him?
James Faulkner. Player of as many as one Test, and an international cricketer from a mere five years ago. All he wanted was to be paid. Or to be paid twice, depending on who you believe. (Faulkner alleges the PSL didn't pay him. The PSL claims he wanted to be paid twice.) Whatever happened, what we know is this. One day, horrified at his treatment at the PSL, Faulkner ragequit the tournament, throwing a bat and a helmet at a massive hotel chandelier, because how else will you get the common man to sympathise with your plight?
"It hurts to leave as I wanted to help to get international cricket back in Pakistan," Faulkner later tweeted. Don't cry for Faulkner, folks. He's not the victim here. I mean… he is the victim. But not as much as Pakistan.
The IPL wishes it had this kinda drama, don't @ me.
Saha vs journalist
We've all read the tweet by now, right? Wriddhiman Saha, who, on top of being dropped from the Test squad, was threatened by an unnamed journalist over text. Essentially, the journalist wanted an interview with Saha, but Saha seemingly ignored the request, and the journalist responded by "threatening" Saha, stating: "I don't take insults kindly. And I will remember this."
Obviously this is terrible. Terrible that not all interactions between players and journalists don't conform to this power dynamic. Can you believe there are media people throwing daggers at this journalist, when it would clearly be so much easier for all of us if players were so scared they'd never knock back interview requests?
Taking a page out of this guy's book, we're taking this opportunity to threaten cricketers who dare to deny interview requests from the Briefing and its subsidiaries (the Light Roller). Please find the list of threats below.
- Your ESPNcricinfo profile pic will be changed to a photo of you getting clean-bowled.
- If you gain weight, you will be body-shamed in only the most emasculating language ("Chubby-wub Perera bags four"*).
- All non-match-winning performances will be described as "flaccid". When people google that word, a photo of you appears.
- No big-cat comparisons. The only animals you will be likened to are goats, donkeys, and warthogs.
- Justin Langer will be told you are looking for daily coaching videos, as intense as he can make them, please.
- All poor performances from age 30 onwards will be framed as a decline in ability (we do this anyway, but still).
*Not aimed at any Perera in particular
Australia vs their own nature
New Zealand cited a security threat and pulled out of their matches in Pakistan at the last minute. England withdrew because of [look up whatever this nonsense was]. But, so often criticised for pulling out of tours if so much as a baby sneezes unexpectedly, Australia have landed in Pakistan marking the first, momentous return to the country by a… wait, how do we say this since Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Bangladesh have all been there in the last few years? The first return to Pakistan by a Europea... wait, that's not right… first-wor… nope. Hmm, look, don't make us say it. If it's safe for them, it's safe for, umm, other teams like them. (Pack away the chandeliers in case, though.)
Next month on the Briefing:
- World's most popular cricketers line up for exclusive interviews with the Briefing.
- Faulkner inspires a generation of Pakistani kids to get rich enough playing cricket to throw a chandelier-level tantrum. #Hero

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf