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Raiders of the lost dream

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The following amusing aside has been developed from an email circulating through the ether. I am assured by English cricket team medical staff that it originated in Australia. Even cursory inspection of the note reveals this not to be the case. Within Australia, the note is suspected to be an official communique designed to “sound out” the cricket public as to some proposed changes in a vain attempt to even up the current whitewash being repeatedly experienced by the English national team. Please note that individuals from non-cricket playing countries will not understand the concepts expressed herein. Please note that citizens of non-Commonwealth countries may not understand the concepts and terminology used in this article.

Memo

Following the crushing defeat of England in the last seven Ashes series, the International Cricket Council has imposed a new set of rules to make the contest more even:

  1. England has been granted an automatic “wickie”, freeing up current wicket keeper, Alex Stewart, to defend the boundary. Under the rule, Australian batsmen will be deemed out “caught behind” if the ball nicks their bat and lands in the immediate area behind the wicket. The rule is a compromise from the original English proposal that had pushed for automatic slips as well. The ICC refused that request on the grounds that “someone has to go and get the ball when an Australian misses it.” An alternative proposal that Australian batsmen field their own misses behind the stumps was firmly rejected by Australia.

  2. Australia is under strict “tip and run” restrictions that require they take a run off every single ball they hit. The Australian captain, Steve Waugh, was apparently happy to accept this rule, as it meant no change to his current game plan. As a compromise, it was agreed that the Australians would also have to shout out the word “wickets” when completing a run to make run out decisions by umpires easier.

  3. Following the performance in the first test, all Australian batsmen now have “six and out” restrictions imposed on them. This particularly applies to wicketkeeper, Adam Gilchrist. In addition, following complaints from the English fieldsmen, Gilchrist will have to get the ball if it goes across the road.

  4. Instead of using a bat, both Adam Slater and Adam Gilchrist will now be obliged to use their arm with their jumper wrapped around it.

  5. Additional rules applicable only for the English team include “one hand, one bounce” while they are fielding, and the provision of “last man carries” when they are batting. Australian captain Steve Waugh has vigorously opposed the “last man carries” rule and has launched an appeal. Waugh says Australia will only agree to the rule if there are “electric wickets” allowing Aussie fielders to throw to the stumps at either end.

  6. In response to a request from the English team, the “can't get out first ball” provision has been amended to “can't get out first ten overs”. Although intuitively attractive from a television spectacle standpoint, both the ICC and the Australian Cricket Board have pointed out that the extra runs gained would hardly be worth the effort.

  7. In response to English batting prowess, any English batsman who has more than three “ducks” in a series cannot get out for a “duck” for the remainder of the series.

  8. All English bowlers, both spinners and slow medium pace bowlers, will also be allowed to scratch the ball with a bottle top, wrap the ball's seam with electrical tape, or use vaseline on the ball at their discretion to improve their chance of taking a wicket.

  9. There will be no LBW decisions given against English batsmen unless “it is really, really obvious.” For Australian batsmen, an LBW decision will be allowed if the ball strikes the batsman anywhere on the pad, thigh guard, or arm guard.

  10. Australian bowlers are required to bowl underarm at the English tail end (batsmen from five to eleven in the batting order). Shane Warne has conceded that it is “fair enough” and does not think it will slow his wicket taking considerably.

  11. In the unlikely event of an English batsman remaining at the crease for any significant length of time, any individual score above 70 will be automatically designated a “century” and recorded as such in the official match statistics.

  12. Glenn McGrath is not allowed to bowl at Michael Atherton at any time.

  13. The “front foot rule” for bowlers will only apply to the Australian team.

  14. Shane Warne must nominate the type of delivery before bowling if a wicket is to be claimed. If he fails to nominate the delivery or bowls a different delivery, then the delivery will be deemed a “no ball” by the umpire.

Despite the changes, Australia remain firm favourites for the next series and are at unbackable odds to win “eight in a row”.

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