Dear SA cricket fans...
Sport24 columnist Antoinette Muller (File)
Dear Cricket fans,
From the people who brought you the best cricket tournament since Kerry Packer’s World Series, and denialists extraordinaires, we have a very important public service announcement. Or should we call it, a self-service announcement?
We hear you are a bit upset that the tour you’ve been looking forward to all year could get cut short or even cancelled. We know that most of you, particularly you, the loyal South African and Indian followers, have planned your entire summer holidays around this.
We know that some of you dedicated fans have planned for holidays in specific cities to be able to attend a specific Test. We also know that some of, our loyal and loving Indian fans have already booked plane tickets and hotel rooms to visit South Africa and watch our pride and joy – the Indian cricket team – play at the Boxing Day or New Year’s Test in South Africa.
We’re sorry, but we don’t really care about your efforts.
To all those cricket fans in the smaller cities in South Africa who were so much looking forward to getting a small taste of premier live cricket, don’t worry, you can always watch your domestic team. We hear some of you travelling fans are putting your plans on ice. That’s okay, you’ll be watching on TV anyway, right?
Please, try to understand that it’s really not about you at all.
We know, the Future Tours Programme had you guys all hot and bothered, but you see, we didn’t sign the Future Tours Programme so it means nothing to us. We didn’t really want to sign it unless we could do it our way, meaning we didn’t want to be forced to use DRS and we wanted to pick and choose the events on the calendar as it suits our pockets and those who are currently in our pocket.
We’re indulging in an industrial-grade power play which would put dictators to shame and we don’t really need you to be a part of it all.
We’ve been having a few meetings with people who matter, but that’s only really for showboating. We’ll make sure everyone sends out pretty quotes to the press, but that’s just to set you all up for disappointment. Have a holiday to plan? You’ll have to put that on hold until it suits us, because we will act like we own you.
The fact that the country we’re going to mess about saved us at the 11th hour when we couldn’t host our premier tournament doesn’t matter. Gone are the days where we would jet over a team for a rained out T20 just to show we’re good friends.
We know we’re a valuable commodity in world cricket. We know that, without us, the all-conquering BCCI, very few cricket boards would make money. We’re not going to lose anything about calling off the tour against the No 1 Test team in the world.
We know that sounds bizarre, but people want to watch us, not them and there is nothing that can be done to change that. Shame, beating Australia in Australia twice and England in England doesn’t mean anything. Being unbeaten away from home since 2006 means nothing and having five players in the top 10 Test player rankings across bowling and batting doesn't mean anything either.
It’s all about the money and the revenue of broadcasting rights is so much in our favour. We’ve got such a good product that we can do what we want with the supply and demand chain.
We’re hot property, baby, and if somebody wants us, they’ll have to do it by our rules or not do it at all.
Australia and England can play each other until the cows come home and make a profit, but the rest of the teams? They’re completely screwed without us.
Please, sit down and calm down.
We’ve arranged a special series just for you in November. We do hope you all come to watch, or at least tune in on TV, to Sachin Tendulkar’s Test which we set up entirely to make as much money from it as we possibly can. Don’t forget to mention or six, four and newly introduced dot ball sponsor while you’re there.
We want you to understand how cricket works. We own the game you love and you’ll do anything for love, right? Despite your continued support, despite your efforts, we know that we can mistreat you in whichever way we want. It’s nothing personal.
Just remember, there’s nothing you can do, because for every boycotting rebel, there is somebody younger and more naïve to replace you. Those who aren’t as rich and powerful as us are so desperate to have a piece of us, they’ll have to grovel.
For the English fans, and those lucky few who can afford the trip out there next year, we’re spoiling you with five Tests. Please appreciate our efforts in catering to cricket’s elite and those who will make our pockets grow.
The rest of you pleb supporters, please step aside, there’s always the Indian Premier League for you.
The best part of it all is that those who are supposed to govern us can’t really do much or can’t be bothered to do much either.
Love and kisses and million dollar notes
The Board of Control for Cricket in India
Antoinette Muller is a freelance writer who writes mainly about soccer and cricket for The Daily Maverick or anybody else who will have her...
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