Resident Evil – virus attacks Cricket
Raccoon city – In an underground research facility called ‘The Hive’, a deadly mutating virus, codenamed ‘T-virus’ is unleashed turning every human into a flesh-eating zombie. By the end of the movie, the virus has escaped the confines of ‘The Hive’ and infected Raccoon City with the promise of annihilating the world’s population. More at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120804/plotsummary
BCCI Headquarters, Mumbai – India – In a dinghy office building, a deadly virus, codenamed and trademarked as ‘T20 virus’ is developed and released into the world by its creator – Lalit Modi. It ravages the cricket world in a matter of a season, with seemingly few visible symptoms. Those with skill and techniques with ideas of glorious combats against talented opponents in white clothing are consumed immediately, left to be celebrated posthumously. The virus galvanizes those with mediocre talent and a taste for celebrity, letting them build reputations based on off-field antics and snazzy haircuts. It sweeps across the cricket world, consuming boards and their sense of responsibility to the game. Those that loved the original format of the game, are reduced to hiding in alleys and ditches, huddling together for some protection as the hordes (crazed fans of the primetime version), run amok devouring everything in their path.
The BCCI is now paying off other cricket boards to buy up their cricketing calendars to remove minor hindrances like test series to ensure maximum participation in the IPL. Lalit Modi, the ‘Moses’ of cricket (quoting Ravi Shastri), now appears on television commercials as a brand ambassador for a telecom service provider, talking, in a stilted and manufactured manner, about triumphing against adversity. And in Dubai, the ICC meeting discusses the Indian Cricket League (ICL) issue before any other matter. The hordes have spoken. Cricket is dying.
The BCCI, and Lalit Modi’s reasoning is straightforward. The more players of international stature don the psychedelic cricketing gear of the various IPL franshises, the more people will tune in, and the more money, the media rights will fetch them. Since getting the big names depends on the co-operation of the respective cricket boards, it makes sense to share the largesse to ensure that the only ones objecting to the marginalization of test cricket, are those that give a damn about the sport.
What now? There is no way all test-playing nations can play each other in meaningful series over 5 year time-frame set by the ICC. One of two things will need to happen (for the money machine to thunder on) – increase the duration over which teams are expected to play each other thus ensuring that the ‘un-cool’, read low TRP combinations will play each other probably once or twice a decade. Two – the requirement in number of test matches will be reduced and 1 or 2-match series will be plugged into ODI or T20 tournaments, where convenient.
Either way, test cricket will become an inconvenient ritual conformed to at The Ashes and maybe some India-Australia games to ensure the marketability of the Australian cricketers in the graveyard of cricket (India, of course).
This is no movie. The hordes are coming. It’s only a matter WHEN, not IF anymore