Should the domestic T20 league be banned? Some morally outraged extremists have suggested that we should scrap it. I believe that would be rather rash. What on earth will we do in the evenings — watch TV serials? True, the moral fibre of the population may be strengthened by not being exposed to the T20 league, but have they considered the strain on their mental fibre when exposed to too many TV soaps, or indeed to TV news?
Instead, I propose a compromise. Let’s have the domestic T20 league next year, but statutory warnings must be displayed about its injurious effects.
For instance, the following warning should appear on screens at the beginning of each match, ‘Caution: What follows is a work of fiction. Runs, balls, shots, catches, umpiring decisions are all products of the fertile imaginations of match-fixers, spot-fixers and sundry other low-life. Any resemblance to the game called cricket, in either letter or spirit, is entirely coincidental.’
Some folks want a simpler, snappier warning, on the lines of ‘Be wary. Be very wary. Do not believe anything you see.’ But that will be very unfair to the cheerleaders.
Instead, I would suggest a few other clauses. The first of these would be: ‘Warning: The match may contain scenes of a venal nature that may be distasteful to some viewers. Morally upright individuals, people of a religious turn, credulous folks and people who are in love with the game of cricket may find what follows nasty, offensive and odious. These individuals are advised not to watch the match and if they do, it should be under the mature supervision and guidance of bookies, touts, pimps and speculators.’
Since some people appear to believe the whole object of these matches is to bet on them, the TV channels must protect themselves from any misunderstandings on this score. I would recommend the following message, ‘This TV channel is not responsible for any consequential, circumstantial, potential, torrential or existential damages or loss of profits, loss of revenues, loss of opportunities or other losses resulting from any bets placed on this match or on bits and pieces thereof.’ On second thoughts, we could dispense with ‘existential’.
It may also be prudent to display the following sign after every over: ‘Viewing this match could be injurious to your morals. Continued exposure to the series could have harmful effects, including atrophy of the conscience and blight on the soul. If the condition persists, consult your doctor. On the other hand, it will improve your betting skills and there is no conclusive proof that the domestic T20 league is responsible for bubonic plague, elephantiasis or beri-beri. Spectators are advised to choose wisely.’
Once in a while, the warning ‘The domestic T20 league and/or BCCI do not guarantee that the delivery just bowled was a genuine one. Enjoy at your own risk,’ should flash across the screen. Another one could be, ‘This show contains fixing performed by bookies or under the supervision of bookies. Do not attempt these activities at home.’ The notice, ‘Beware of Bookies’ should be prominently displayed throughout the match.
To balance things, however, a few pro-league messages may also be displayed. These would include ‘No whales, tigers or dugongs were harmed in the making of this match’, ‘Towels may also be used for wiping sweat,’ and ‘All the players and cheerleaders in this match were grown organically.’
Finally, I would like to warn that this article contains words, which might upset some readers.
Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint
Views expressed by the author are personal