Humour: Pakistan team in utter chaos after PCB's decision to terminate players

Addressing the media, Shahid Afridi said: â I have lost track whether, at the moment, I am playing or retired.â ©Getty Images

 

By Arunabha Sengupta

 

After issuing termination notices to 18 employees, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has dropped a new bombshell by announcing the decision to end the contracts of six current cricketers.

 

The names of the six cricketers have not yet been made public, but sources close to the board have hinted that the axe is certain to fall on captain Misbah ul Haq and vice-captain Mohammad Hafeez.

 

“The recent scheme of central contracts have hit our finances hard and we have been forced to take this unfortunate step,” the PCB chief Zaka Ashraf said in a press briefing. “We have been struggling with budget deficits since 2009 when foreign teams stopped visiting the country. We have to take a few bold steps for the benefit of cricket in Pakistan … and wherever else we play our home matches nowadays.”

 

This new cost cutting measure has been taken based on the recommendations of consulting firm McKinsey & Company, hired to help the ailing board tide over the critical financial situation.

 

A McKinsey spokesperson revealed, “Based on the decreasing ROI of the Board, we decided to perform a cost benefit analysis on the current contracts. The method of rationalisation has been objective and merit based. We have evaluated the crowd-pulling potential of each individual cricketer and weighed it against his contract value. Popularity and performance have been taken into account to ensure profitability in the form of cash-flow from the end spectator. We looked at the performance of each player in the last ten international matches, his marital status, the number of followers on Twitter and the number of ‘Likes’ on profile pages of leading cricket websites.”

 

Meanwhile, the announcement has had disastrous effects on the Pakistan cricket team engaged in the second Test against Sri Lanka at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo.

 

Soon after Geo TV carried the story during the opening session of the third day’s play, Misbah-ul- Haq and Mohammad Hafeez left the field in protest.

 

Subsequently, the team remained undecided about the caretaker captain. While Younis Khan displayed philosophical detachment towards the proceedings, Taufeeq Umar, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, even Abdur Rehman and Adnan Akmal seemed convinced about their respective claims to the reins that had been left lying on the ground.

 

A lot of hand-waving from six or seven players followed each delivery, as Junaid Khan and Mohammad Ayub, the only two who paid any attention, were moved around multiple times in their fielding positions.

 

Additionally, with the looming threat of many jobs on the line, every bowler in the team seemed desperate to clutch at the last possible opportunity to prove himself. The final delivery of each over saw a mad rush in the middle with Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rahman and Junaid Khan sprinting across and converging on the ball. Whoever managed to grab the cherry dashed across to begin the next over, trying his level best to set his field. The fielders for the most part remained unmoved.

 

After a few overs, however, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara made matters simpler by playing the last ball firmly in the direction of whoever they wanted to face next!

 

When contacted during the lunch interval, Shahid Afridi told newsmen that he was not sure whether he should be worried about the startling development. “I have lost track whether at the moment I am playing or retired,” he confessed.

 

The former (or current, we are confused ourselves) all-rounder added that the Indian authorities cared a lot more for the cricketers. In stark contrast to PCB snatching the livelihood away from their players, the Indian board and franchises ensured multi-million dollar deals for every cricketer.

 

However, late in the evening, he modified his statement. “I have been misquoted. I wanted to say that what the Indians are doing is bad for the game. As Tony bhai noted in his speech, the spirit of cricket is more important than turning out multi-millionaire players.”

 

Please note: The above article, as indicated in the headline, is a spoof.

 

(Arunabha Sengupta is trained from Indian Statistical Institute as a Statistician. He works as a Process Consultant, but purifies the soul through writing and cricket, often mixing the two into a cleansing cocktail. The author of three novels, he currently resides in the incredibly beautiful, but sadly cricket-ignorant, country of Switzerland. You can know more about him from his author site, his cricket blogs and by following him on Twitter)