Lahore, Pakistan. After realizing that its players just can’t stop themselves from fixing matches, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to accept the reality and turn it into a business model. From now onward, all matches involving Pakistan would be fixed by PCB under a scheme named “Cricket as a Service” or CaaS or Cricket-On-Demand, loosely modeled on SaaS (Software as a service).
“We have tried everything from emotional appeals to legal actions hoping to fight match-fixing, but there doesn’t seem to be any success. Clearly, we were doing something wrong.” said PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt after an emergency round of meeting with his relatives, who incidentally are also important members of the board.
“It’s ancient wisdom that if you can’t fight them, join them.” said Butt, justifying his decision to officially get into match-fixing. “Furthermore, there was always a risk that BCCI or ICC could legalize it before we do it.” he added, arguing that the step could bring in the much needed cash for the cash strapped board.
As part of CaaS, an individual or organization would now have the option of dialing in an official representative of PCB for services like No-Ball-On-Demand, Wide-Ball-On-Demand, Wicket-On-Demand, Ball-Tampering-On-Demand, Injury-On-Demand, etc. An online bidding system would be in place and the service would be offered to the party offering largest amount for a particular event.
“A wealthy fan, a rival cricket board, or any other interested party can avail of these services.” Butt informed, adding, “Such services would be cheaper than fixing the whole match as an interested party can try out with fixing a few balls or events to see how the match progresses.”
“It thus retains the glorious uncertainties of the game as you never know who would fix the next ball.” he pointed out.
“Anyone can participate; say a wealthy Sehwag fan can buy a No-Ball-On-Demand to deny a Sri Lankan batsman a century even though he might not have any interest in fixing the whole match.” Butt further elaborated upon the benefits of CaaS and how it could make cricket matches even more interesting.
The PCB Chairman claimed that there was nothing illegal in such an arrangement and it was as innovative as IPL with a much higher earning potential, although he agreed that things would get complicated if and when other boards also starts offering Cricket-On-Demand, just as there is confusion over which player represents which team in Champions League T20.
“We could have a situation where we have sold a No-Ball-On-Demand and the rival board had sold Wicket-On-Demand on the same ball. A middle way is that the batsman gets run-out, but I guess a clearing house for such conflicting demands will have to be set up by the ICC in future.” Butt said.
Cricket lovers in Pakistan, who are hell irritated with recurring charges of match-fixing, had mixed reactions over the announcement, but many of them welcomed the decision.
“I am happy. After giving the world first computer virus, it’s so nice that we are back to our innovative ways.” said Basit Alvi, a cricket lover and SaaS provider, who also offered to set up an online bidding platform for PCB to offer CaaS.
(based on inputs by special correspondent Vinod Patil)