Satire Saturday | BCCI employ time traveling alien to unravel PSL’s Covid mystery

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The PSL Circus


Satire Saturday | BCCI employ time traveling alien to unravel PSL’s Covid mystery

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Anirudh Suresh



WHEEEE! I’m excited for this journey. Oh, hello there. I’m Cyberman and I’ve been hired by the BCCI to time-travel, live through the entire drama that unfolded between February 19 and March 4 in the PSL and provide a complete report of what exactly went wrong in Pakistan, so that they can ensure that no such goof-ups happen in the IPL. 

Oh shoot. I forgot to turn off the comments. Anyway, I’ve received two questions already, so let me answer them before shutting down this section once and for all.

How can you time travel?

Oh come on, you’ve seen me in Doctor Who, haven’t you? It’s too complex. I suggest you ping the Doctor Who creators to get a detailed explanation.

But wait, you’re a fictional character. How did the BCCI manage to bring you to life?

Uh….. You’d be scared to know what else the BCCI are capable of. 

You’re a bad alien in the show. Why have the BCCI hired YOU?

Please do not indulge in external affairs

Alright alright alright. That’s enough. I’m turning the comments off. I’ve got a big job at hand, folks.

So in precisely a minute’s time, I’ll be getting into this chamber to transport myself back to February 19, 2020. I’ll be going to Karachi, of course. 

Okay, this machine sucks. I’m claustrophobic as hell and this barely has any space (Trivia for all you Whovians: Cybermen are claustrophobic). Anyway, I can’t speak against the BCCI, can I? Okay, all set. Transporting myself to Karachi, Pakistan in 3...2….1…

Date:  February 19, 2021

Time: 9:00 PM

Place: Karachi

Holy guacamole this place is BEAUTIFUL! So full of life; so cheerful. Why don’t India play matches in Pakistan again? Oh shoot shoot. I’m not supposed to speak politics here. My bad. My bad. Apologies. Apologies.  

So you might be wondering how and why I, of all people, a goddamn alien, was tasked with this job. You might also be wondering how I’m supposed to know about Cricket and its intricacies. Simple: The entire CriViz and Getty database has been fit into my brain. I know I’ve turned off the comments now, but later you can ask me all your cricket-related queries. I’ll tell you what exactly the pitch-viz rating for the 3rd session of Day 2 of the first Test between Zimbabwe and Bangladesh in 2001 was. We’ll save that for later. Back to the job now. 

It’s 9:00 PM now and I’m just taking a stroll outside my hotel, which is next to the hotel all the PSL players are staying in. In case you didn’t know, I’m invisible, but I’ve taken a separate hotel anyway for privacy. And yes I’m immune to Covid, so don’t worry. 

Wait, that's Darren Sammy, isn’t it? And that’s Wahab Riaz next to him. What are they doing outside the bubble? And who on god’s earth is the nerdy-looking dude next to them? Okay, this guy is not in my cricket database so I’ll have to use my google database to see who he is. 

*Visible confusion*

JAVED AFRIDI? The owner of Peshawar Zalmi? Last I checked the owners are NOT a part of the PSL bio-bubble, so why exactly are both Sammy and Riaz hanging out with this dude whilst the rest of their teammates are inside the hotel following bubble protocols? Oh no. This is going to spell bad news for both Riaz and Sammy, isn’t it? The tournament kicks off TOMORROW and they’ve abruptly violated protocol. 

Date:  February 20, 2021

Time: 10:00 AM

Place: Karachi

*Nervous sweating*

Okay, less than 12 hours to go for the season to kick-start and yet there has been no official statement yet from the PCB on Riaz and Sammy violating protocol. Are they going to let this pass?

*Phone buzzes*

Oh wait. There’s the statement from the board. They’re sending both Riaz and Sammy into a three-day isolation. Phew. Good job, PCB. That’s laudable. 

BUT WAIT. They’ve also said that a Lahore Qalandars player has tested positive - with symptoms. But they’ve not mentioned how many people this person was in close contact with, and whether they will be isolating. And Lahore Qalandars play a match tomorrow. OH. NO. Is this enough policing? 

Anyway, I’m off to the hotel to take a nap, after which I’ll be going ot the stadium to watch the match. 

Date:  February 21, 2021

Time: 9:30 AM

Place: Karachi

Okay, that was a banger of a first match between Karachi and Quetta but I’m FUMING. I just read that the PCB have given both Riaz and Sammy exemptions to JOIN THE REST OF THE SQUAD. NO QUARANTINE. NO ISOLATION.  I mean, I know I’m out here observing what has already happened, and there’s no need to get emotional, but this is NOT how you enforce strict protocols. You have two guys break rules and you...umm..casually let them walk back in? 

*Cries in Jofra Archer*

Okay, it’s 7:55 PM local time, but with 5 mins to go for the game, I’m EXTRA FUMING. I just spotted Javed Afridi - the owner of Zalmi who hung out with both Sammy and Riaz - in the dugout. With the players. Without a mask. He is interacting with the players. Freely. And there is both Riaz and Sammy too. Afridi is NOT a part of the bubble. What on sweet earth is going here? Ugh.. 

Okay, I’m unable to concentrate on the game because there is too much stuff going on here, folks. There are brand ambassadors - including this girl who went viral on social media -  there are way too many sponsors and there are absolutely unnecessary, cringe-worthy promotions. 

Hold up. Now they’re interviewing an (alleged) actor on the boundary line AND HE JUST ADMITTED LIVE ON AIR THAT HE HIGH-FIVED A PLAYER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. I just saw a celebrity, not part of the bio-bubble, admit that he came in physical contact with a player who is supposed to be a part of a secure bio-bubble. Jesus Christ. Do the PCB even know what’s going on? 

Alright. I’ve had enough. My head’s spinning. I’m heading back to my hotel room, folks. 

Date:  February 28, 2021

Time: 1:00 PM

Place: Karachi

Alright guys, I’ve had to wait a week but finally I’ve got some spicy content. Well, it’s equally unfortunate, I’ve got to say that. Rumors are going around that a player who played in last night’s game between Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi tested positive for the virus. Okay, I’ll say who it is. It is Fawad Ahmed. Given that he partook in the match, I completely expect the board to suspend the competition temporarily until they get hold of the situation. I mean, it makes sense, right? You surely can’t be letting the tournament go on after an active player tested positive. Or at least you’ve got to bar his team - which, here, is Islamabad United - from playing matches for a while. 

Date:  March 01, 2021

Time: 5:00 PM

Place: Karachi

Now I’m flabbergasted. Islamabad United, the team that had a player test positive two days ago, are scheduled to play a match in three hours’ time, and there is no word from the PCB about a potential suspension yet. Heck, they haven’t even publicly announced that a ISU player tested positive. 

Oh, nevermind. Here it is. Just as I speak, the board have announced that they are pushing the United vs Gladiators game by a day. I mean, it doesn’t make sense to push the game by a day, but at least the game is not going ahead immediately, eh? Given Fawad played two days ago, the chances of him having potentially passed on the virus to the other players are high. It wouldn’t make sense to let Islamabad United play a game anytime soon - well, at least his close contacts, even if they test negative, need to be put into isolation.

Date:  March 02, 2021

Time: 3:00 PM

Place: Karachi

Nope. The PCB and the franchises are not willing to listen. No one, except the Covid positive player, has been asked to isolate. Everyone returned negative results so the Islamabad United vs Quetta Gladiators match is going ahead, starting in five hours’ time. Seems like madness to me. But what do I know, eh?

The negligence is shocking, though. What I’ve witnessed over the course of the last few days has flabbergasted me. I’m not going to name individuals, but players were seen taking pictures with fans. Without masks. Such behaviour is usually slapped with a fine or a ban, but here? Nah. No one seems to care.

Funnily enough, I also noticed yesterday that the ‘biosecure’ hotel the players are staying in is, in fact, not fully secure. The PCB - wait for it - failed to book the hotel in its entirety, and, as a result, there were other members of the public staging weddings (I kid you not!) in the same hotel. 

I fear the worst now.

Date:  March 03, 2021

Time: 4:55 PM

Place: Karachi

Righto, one more positive test, then. Islamabad United’s Tom Banton just tweeted that he’s tested positive. Two others - a player and one more support staff - have tested positive too. But guess what? The double header is ALREADY underway baby. Karachi are taking on Peshawar as I speak, and Quetta will take on Multan in precisely a couple of hours’ time. Yep, members are testing positive left, right and center, but T20 cricket go brrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Date:  March 04, 2021

Time: 12;00 PM

Place: Karachi

Okay, I’m currently a literal fly on the wall. Here I am, overhearing - or, should I say, overseeing - an emergency meet between the PCB, the franchise owners and all stakeholders of the PSL. This impromptu meet has been called as three more players have tested positive for the virus. But the PCB are STILL RELUCTANT to call the tournament off. So far, two ridiculous offers have been thrown already: one, to suspend the competition for just five days, and two, to finish PSL 2021 using only the local players. My ears are bleeding listening to this, I hope sanity prevails.

THANKFULLY, IT HAS. The PSL has officially been indefinitely suspended. I mean, they had no other choice. By now, the players are done. Done with the callousness, done with the negligence and done with this entire circus of a tournament. It has come to the point where I, myself, am absolutely regretting coming here; feeling like I’ve been stuck inside a hell-hole. But at least my efforts will be rewarded with a fat paycheck - unlike any of these players ahahahahahahahaha. Okay, that was a pretty heartless, condescending statement to make. My apologies.

This tells me I need to get out of here. ASAP.  My job is done. 

Right then, my Pakistan venture has officially come to an end. It was a roller-coaster fortnight and I’ve got to say, some of the stuff I witnessed over these past few weeks were so ludicrous that even Steven Moffat would have refused to include them in his script. It is time to head to the BCCI headquarters and hand over the in depth report which I’ll be compiling in a few minutes’ time.

Oh, don’t worry. I’ve got a TL;DR prepared for you.

TL;DR: If you’re planning to host a tournament, then

1) Keep the bubble super tight

2) Enforce strict punishments for everyone who breaks protocols

3) Keep those not a part of the bubble far away from the players 

4) And, for heaven’s sake, prioritize the health of the players. 

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