Giles Clarke, the chairman of England and Wales Cricket board has come forward to help the homeless South African team by promising a sanctuary for the 15-man squad which has been denied entry into their homeland after their 4-wicket defeat against New Zealand in the 2015 World Cup semi-finals.
The Proteas were warned before their departure to take part in the 14-nation tourney by the country’s sports minister, Fikile Mbalula, to not return home without the 11 kilogram ICC world cup trophy. “Don’t return home as a bunch of losers” said the minister before the team left for the continent of Australia.
AB de Villiers, the captain of the South African team, said in an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, “We played tough cricket. We gave our all. But unfortunately there could only be one winner and that was unfortunately New Zealand, today. We would love to go back home and hope the government reprieves us”.
‘Playing against cows’
The head coach Russell Domingo further expressed his frustration and disappointment in his inability to convince the government stating, “We even tried sending those miniature replicas AB got as awards for man of the matches but we were strictly told, come with the original one or don’t”.
The sports minister in his send-off speech to the South African team, which has now also become the farewell speech, had said, “To A.B. and your bunch of winners: you are not playing against cows.” Irony being, the African nation was eventually cowed by the country that is known for its cows and dairy products.
However, the chairman of the ECB came forth with his invitation in what has been a windfall for the Saffas. In the official letter addressed to the captain of the South African team, Giles stated “We are extremely grieved by what has happened to you. It is not only unfortunate for you, the players but also a stroke of bad luck for world cricket who are destined to miss your brand of cricket”.
‘The cradle of cricket’
England cricket team crashed out of the first round of the World Cup after a humiliating defeat against Bangladesh. The team that became the butt of many internet jokes consists of several English speaking cricketers from various parts of the world, is led by an Irishman and has a Zimbabwean batting at number three.
When Giles Clarke was contacted by Sportskeeda to shed more light on the gracious helping arm lent by the ECB, Giles remarked, “We founded cricket. It was here in England where cricket was born. This is the cradle of cricket. Hence, we need to make sure that these cricketers are not doomed and met with injustice”.
He further went on to add that South Africa should take a leaf out of England’s book on how to nurture cricketers. “See we accept cricketers from all countries. But they are not ready to accept even their own cricketers. Cricketing nations should be hospitable”
This would mean that the South Africans will get an asylum in England and will go on to earn citizenships within a few months. They will also be able to take part in county cricket and later go onto represent England at international level.
When asked whether the 4-year hiatus is a necessity for the Africans to start playing for another team at international level, the chairman said “Huh, that’s pretty easy. We will make sure that we pass a bill and do away with the rule. It is just a matter of convincing both India and Australia”.
Responding to the question whether all South Africans would be able to play for England, Giles opined, “We are ready to accept anyone whose name does not begin with Kevin”.
He also went on to add that they have no regrets recruiting South Africans since they speak English, and can be considered English based on that. He further strengthened his argument by proclaiming, “They were once ours. So, we are yielding our harvest”.
‘Unite and rule’
The government of England, meanwhile, being excited by the prospect of reinforcing the blighted line-up of the Blights, are seemingly contemplating the option of knighting both AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn. “We will be honoured to say Sir ABD and Sir Steyn”, said an eminent person close to government quarters.
Fans from other countries have taken to twitter to mock the English team – saying that even in IPL only 4foreigners are allowed to play for each franchise. Retorting to the online grumblings, one of the officials said, “We introduced divide et impera to the world and in the same manner we will introduce unite et impera to cricket. We unite players from various countries. And one day we will rule cricket. Remember, whatever the countries our players are from, they are English citizens when playing for England. We will convert them into Englishmen before inducting them into our dressing room”.
A local coach from England who was overjoyed by the news came forth with his emotions. “Apart from Joe Root, we don’t have many youngsters. We will definitely be a super power in the cricketing world with players like de Kock, Amla and Miller”.
He was gulping his words in enormous joy as he spoke, and thus further stretched his jubilant monologue, “We would have been happy had Robin Pieterson been in the squad. He is a better Test spinner than most of those whom you find here. But we have got Tahir. He will be more than enough for us”.
The chairman of ECB was of the opinion that English cricket should learn a lot from soccer and according to his secretary, this invitation is the first step to their cricket talent scouting outside England, a scheme that they are looking to adopt from soccer. “We had a kingdom in which the sun never set and we need to have a vast talent pool all over the world such that the sun never sets in it”, was the secretary’s statement.
The South Africans were visibly relieved by the gesture from ECB but they are yet to make a decision on it. However, they are expected to follow the footsteps of the ex-South Africans Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pieterson and Ryan McLaren and migrate to prosperous England.
Disclaimer: This article is (almost) purely a work of fiction.