Global tournaments to go virtual?

A leaked document from the governing body of international cricket reveals that the ‘Hackathon’ announced in January was just the beginning of a dramatic new initiative to grow the global game.

Unceasing in its efforts to create new and improved fan engagement experiences, international cricket’s governing body is moving to abandon the physical game altogether, leaving fans free to engage with entirely virtual matches, released from the limitations of actual, human players.

‘We need to create digital tools to identify and solve the challenges that cricket fans face,’ the document argues, ‘and to enable them to enjoy the game they love unfettered by the inadequacies of the players.’

One of the obstacles, it adds, to fans’ engagement with the game is the cost of attending matches and of subscribing to the television channels which have largely replaced free-to-air coverage.

So the scheme proposes that from the 2031 World Cup, global tournaments should become entirely virtual reality events, with fans able to influence the outcome of matches by their management of the digital technology.

‘We recognise,’ the document declares, ‘that fan engagement is much more important than the actual game itself, since it is through the enthusiasm of the global fan base that the massive income of the governing body, and of key members like the BCCI, is generated.

‘This proposal is a logical extension of the well-understood principle that it is the principal sources of that income who deserve to be rewarded, and that anything left after they have taken what they want can be distributed to cricket’s other, much less significant stakeholders.’

The scheme would make cricket the first major sport to commit fully to the input of fans, and would mean that there would for the first time be a direct link between generation of match content and the non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

‘By eliminating the middleman (and middlewoman),’ the document states, ‘the game will be where it belongs, entirely in the hands of the millions of fans in India and elsewhere who make cricket what it is today.’

The change would also enable the IPL to focus on the global market for live, human cricket, thus giving it an effective monopoly over this form at the highest level, and freeing the players to appear throughout the year for franchise teams, which are increasingly Indian-owned.

‘Test cricket, ODIs and T20Is will therefore be able to survive,’ the document concludes. ‘But they will belong to the fans, while franchise cricket will belong to the franchise owners.

‘It will be a win-win for everybody. Especially the franchise owners.’

This is satire. Happy April Fool’s Day

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