March 16, 2014, Dubai: History was created today at ICC headquarters in Dubai as the world’s first tele-match series was sanctioned by cricket’s governing body. The new format promises to revolutionize cricket, the way it is played and the audience it is meant for. Every tele-match will be a fully-scripted, raw, emotional extravanganza catering to a universal demographic. No expense has been spared in positioning this new format as the future of cricket. Top scriptwriters from around the world are currently locked in a secret venue somewhere in England, working out the details of the inaugural tele-match-a-thon starting this May. Also present are consultants (a term that replaces the pejorative “bookie”) like Hassan Shah, Mazhar Majeed and Mukesh Gupta.
ICC chairman Richard Wright said “This endeavor kickstarted by the courageous Sachin Tendulkar now sees the light of day. We are proud to present this as the future and we are certain audiences are going to love it.”
Readers may remember that three years ago Sachin Tendulkar extended the scope of his profession to include “actor” (ostensibly for tax purposes). Although meant to include modeling and endorsements, the tax exemption would cover match fees if cricketers proved they spent that time acting. After several international cricketers battling match-fixing charges clamored to be considered actors, the ICC approved the move in principle. A steering committee comprising Mohd Azharuddin, Herschelle Gibbs, Mark Waugh, Salim Malik, Manoj Prabhakar and Ajay Jadeja, cricketers experienced in this concept, worked out operational details. A new term was coined as well – crickactors.
Their efforts culminated in a star-studded ceremony at ICC headquarters where a memorial for Hansie Cronje was unveiled. A visibly emotional Herschelle Gibbs said “Hansie’s memory has been honored. His dream has finally come true.”
The organizers are tight-lipped regarding the script but we’ve learnt from reliable sources that matches will include incidents that command audience attention – like runouts through misunderstandings where the batsman walks off giving his teammate an earful or deliberate half-trackers that can be pounded for easy sixes.
“We want each encounter to prove to the audience that bowling deliberate no-balls or dropping catches isn’t as easy as it looks. It requires practice, dedication and an implicit understanding between crickactors” said an excited Gibbs.
Audiences will get to experience the visceral emotions of cricket with pervasive stadium media and real-time interaction with cricketers. Crickactors will now respond to audience heckling with abuses or violence, adding to the charged atmosphere. Wives and girlfriends will play a role in post-match proceedings by accusing each other of adultery and deceit. The ICC has tied up with noted TV honcho Ekta Kapoor to spearhead the WAG script. A prominent Bollywood starlet, rumored to be a top crickactor squeeze, also spilled the beans on her upcoming role.
“I run onto the middle of the pitch during the 36th over and accuse the batsman of fathering my child. This will be so exciting, no?”
We definitely think so!
Marketing experts at ICC are using IQ to profile target audiences and they feel the new format will broaden the scope to include single-digit IQ viewers – an estimated 30% rise in viewership base. Special online marketing extravanganzas are being planned for single-digit IQ viewers, especially on Rediff which will have exclusive rights to all India-Pakistan match discussion forums.
Crickactors are hopeful the format will catch on and eventually win them nominations at the Oscars.
Social pariah of yore and Banjara Hills mascot Mohd Azharuddin told Indian audiences “The boys will play well” before signing off with a wink.