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The Heavy Ball

The square cut that shook Parliament

Plus the advent of the exciting, revolutionary new 20-50 format

A short-arm-jab from Kamran Akmal fetches four, Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 3rd ODI, Dambulla, August 3, 2009

Kamran Akmal raises suspicions with an Ashish Nehra impression  •  AFP

Barely days after the match-fixing murmurs and the related Younis Khan resignation episode have died down, Pakistan cricket has once again been plunged into controversy, intrigue and scandal. This time it's keeper-batsman Kamran Akmal who is at the centre of the storm - a parliamentary commitee has been formed to conduct an enquiry into a poor square cut played by Akmal during the recently concluded Champions Trophy in South Africa.
"The whole stroke was suspiciously lacking in technique. Kamran's weight was, rather dubiously, not completely transferred to the back foot, causing him to be completely off balance when playing the shot. Not only that, the ball was suspiciously close to his body, cramping him up and forcing him to make contact too high up on the blade. Such faulty technique from an experienced international batsman is definitely fishy - we are sure that bookies have played a role," thundered a senior parliamentarian, who will not be named since he is a senior parliamentarian. "Such a poorly executed cut shot is a betrayal of the faith shown by loyal cricket fans of Pakistan," he bellowed, before irrelevantly adding, "Hey! Did you know that if you turn Mohammad Yousuf's photo upside down, he looks like one of those Buckingham Palace guards? Hyok!"
Kamral Akmal has refuted the allegations strongly. "This is nonsense. Are they saying bookies are paying players just to play bad shots? Then Ashish Nehra alone would cause economic upheaval in South-East Asia," he pointed out. Akmal also angrily resigned as captain of the Pakistan team. The board has rejected his resignation on the grounds that he wasn't captain in the first place. "Oh! Er, my bad," said a sheepish Akmal in response, admitting that he had got the idea from Younis Khan.
Regarding the captaincy issue, the PCB has decided to stop their rather ad-hoc method of appointing captains, and have drawn up a long-term plan to demonstrate their vision for creating a smooth and sustainable leadership policy. According to the new plan, Younis Khan will remain captain until the World Cup in 2011. He will be arbitrarily sacked a few months later, and Shahid Afridi will be given the reins until 2012 (except for a brief one-month period when Imran Nazir will be skipper before being dropped altogether). In February 2012, half the team will be dropped and an unknown teenager will be made captain for eight months, after which Younis will be called upon to lead again.
Meanwhile, across the border the BCCI has come up with a cunning plan to arrest team India's sliding fortunes in both Twenty20 and ODI formats. They have announced the world's first "twenty-fifty" tournament. Under the rules of the new format, christened T50 cricket, the Indian team will get to bat 50 overs, and the opposition will get to bat 20 overs. Field restrictions will also follow the same method, with 15 overs of Powerplay when the Indians bat, and six overs when the opposition does. "It's a brilliant, innovative, sly, cunning and totally evil plan to ensure India's dominance in world cricket," said a supremely smug-looking Lalit Modi, gradually allowing his adjectives to inch closer to the truth. "Besides, it will give Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman one more limited-overs format to suck at," he quipped, deciding against making that joke on Twitter.
In other news, Daren Ganga has denied that the Trinidad and Tobago team is sponsored by Venkatesh Prasad, Ross Taylor has denied that he was spotted playing an off-side shot, and Australia has ordered a parliamentary inquiry into the reasons why Moises Henriques has a completely needless "I" in the middle of a perfectly legitimate biblical name.

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