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{a repost of this poem to go with the following story}

Oh cricket! What has it descended to?
What happened to that fair and honoured game?
To the old rules we must now bid adieu,
And surely it will never be the same.
Of course, the players, they will take the blame,
But is it just a symptom of an ill?
Are dirty tricks okay now when it’s fame
And money that’s the goal? The venues fill
No more – the faithful miss that cheering thrill
When honest men took to the hallowed field
With bat and ball unsullied, and a will
To triumph fair and square, and not to yield.
Those days are gone; Oh well, we must be brave.
Meanwhile “The Don” turns over in his grave.

Australian cricket team caught ball-tampering

(The following story is brought to you by the United Sandpaper Company, and by Chakita – makers of battery powered ball-tampering angle grinders – “Is that a Chakita in your underpants, or are you just glad to see me?”)

Once again The Great Southern Land is Ball-Tampering Champion of the World.

Up against incredibly rough, stiff, and abrasive competition from such giants of the sport as Cakistan, The East Windies, Sindia, and Pommyland, our amazing team of professional ball-tamperers has shown true-grit, and has once again ground its way to an impressive win.

Of course the early rounds against the world’s BT minnows hardly tested the skills of our formidable tricksters. Crowds gasped at the sleight of hand exhibited (well, not exhibited actually) – one moment the ball would be clearly in good condition – one side shiny and the other slightly dull and then! – Hey presto! It would be magically transformed, with the dull side now virtually destroyed! The applause from the stands was at times deafening!

The “Big Guns” of BT then fell one by one, inexorably, to the GSL team. All were rubbed out until only one team was left to deal with – the team that strikes fear into any ball-tamperer. Yes, the final would be a rough and grinding, gritty and gouging contest between the Great Southern Land and that other giant of the game – Seth Efrica.

How the final surged back and forth! First Seth Efrica would gain the upper hand – their tampering was a thing to behold. (or not behold) And then GSL would counter-attack. So many balls destroyed! Soon supplies of balls were running low – would the final be declared a draw due to lack of balls? Luckily time was nearly up, and with just 10 seconds to go and the score deadlocked and the country almost ball-less the Great Southern Land team struck! In those few remaining seconds they miraculously transformed a bright and shiny ball into something that can only be described as….hideous – no doubt this tamper will be talked about for years – sports analysts will dissect it tamper by tamper and coaches will use it to inspire their teams.

The World Championship of Ball-Tampering is over, but its effect will live on. Young players who witnessed the best ball-tamperers in the world will no doubt be inspired, and will diligently practise their skills, The great sport of Ball-Tampering will surely expand as once again the diminutive and humble Holy Grail of the sport , “The Granules”, returns to The Great Southern Land.

This has been Gary (the grinder) Gritenberg reporting from Seth Efrica. 1st April 2018