With the BCCI and ECB locked in a bitter dispute over money, England could possibly end up not playing a single game during their forthcoming tour of India. If the series is cancelled, it probably won't affect the number of Tests the visitors are going to win in the next couple of months, but it would still be bit of a shame. Here Firstpost can exclusively reveal the high level talks going on between the two boards as they try to resolve the financial impasse.
BCCI: Hello, thanks for picking up, BCCI here. Now, you'll have heard we're in a spot of bother with some independent judges who keep making annoying legal decisions.
ECB: Yes, scandalous. We've got similar issues in Britain over Brexit.
BCCI: Sure, we heard. Well, anyway, the upshot is that Justice Lodha has confiscated our pocket money and we can't fund your tour. We've even had to melt down the Test mace and mould it into Ishant-shaped paperweights to sell on eBay. Things are so bad.
ECB: I see. That does indeed sound awful.
BCCI: But, hey, we'd like to work something out regarding the tour. We're reasonable guys, you know. A lot of people think we're just stubborn bullies.
ECB: I don't know where they got that idea from.
BCCI: Well, quite. So, first up transport costs. I see you expect us to pay for your air travel.
ECB: Yes please. If you don't mind.
BCCI: Well, it just seems a bit unnecessary. Can't you charter a plane yourselves and get one of your players to pilot it? What about Adil Rashid?
ECB: Hm, it wouldn't work with Adil, I'm afraid. The flight would be decent, but we'd never quite be sure where he'd land it. We could end up in Mohali instead of Mumbai.
BCCI: Yes, I see your point. Well, our MS Dhoni is a wizard with all sorts of vehicles. Can't Alastair Cook follow his lead and just get behind the wheel of a coach?
ECB: Not really. It's too dangerous.
BCCI: Really? Why's that?
ECB: He hardly ever drives straight.
BCCI: Hm, that's true enough. Well, could you take the train? It's quite cheap.
ECB: Yep, train. Good. May be an option. Are the tracks dusty?
BCCI: Um, no. Not as far as I'm aware.
ECB: Ok, that's fine then. Dusty tracks aren't really our thing. But we'll also need a sedan, please.
BCCI: A sedan? What for?
ECB: We've decided to carry Gary Ballance all winter.
BCCI: Ah, of course. We fully understand. We often have to do similar with Rohit. And don't worry. We'll make sure it's an extra safe sedan for Gary. The last thing we want is you dropping him.
ECB: Very thoughtful.
BCCI: Right, ok. Now, how about food? What do you want to eat during the Tests?
ECB: Well, in our last match in Bangladesh it was quinoa for lunch followed by a quick crumble at tea.
BCCI: Yes, I saw your batting in the evening session. But what do you want to eat?
ECB: Oh, right. Well, maybe just some bananas. Unripened if possible.
BCCI: Why on earth do you want unripened bananas?
ECB: It will just be nice for the players to see a surface with a bit of green for once.
BCCI: Ok, fair enough. Bananas aren't too pricey, so that's fine. Anything else?
ECB: What about a laundry service for our Test kit?
BCCI: Oh, we're more than happy to provide that service for free!
BCCI: Yes, of course. In fact, we're looking forward to giving you a complete whitewash.
ECB: Er, you mean washing our whites?
BCCI: Yes, of course. That too.
ECB: That's incredibly kind. Many thanks, indeed.
BCCI: Not at all. See? I said we were reasonable guys. Not penny-pinching, greedy ogres.
ECB: No, of course you're not. Thanks for being so generous.
BCCI: Our pleasure. This has been a very useful call. We've charged it to your account. Hope you don’t mind. See you in Rajkot!