All hell breaks loose after MS Dhoni engages in a brawl with umpire in one of the games as BCCI is devastated with the fact that Dhoni bashing takes center stage and not the record IPL viewership. In view of this, BCCI decides to step in and take the matter into its hands as it knows no other way.
Control runs in the DNA of the world's most powerful, richest, dominating, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which has 'control' even in its name. BCCI's habituation with control is as unbreakable as Dhoni's knack of finishing games in the end, Kohli's habit of using cuss words, Australia's sanctimony with the 'line' which they draw and abuse, and world cricket's obsession with the imaginary 'spirit of cricket', which borderlines religious cults.
So after MS Dhoni bullied umpire Paul Reiffel into submission with his dead stare and words and made him change his wide decision against SRH, the world goes bonkers with MSD bashing taking center stage on social media as how dare an ice-cool, monk calm, unflappable MS Dhoni lose his cool. He is an avatar of the god; he is supposed to have no raw emotions. Media goes crazy writing one op-ed after another. After all, MS, who has come straight out of EA games, can't lose his cool ever.
Now, all this leaves BCCI baffled. After all, they made this freaking IPL possible amid a pandemic, and what is breaking the internet is Dhoni bashing and not stories of how this is a path-breaking IPL and the most historic staging in India's history. They have called up the top tier management for an immediate meeting. There is hara-kiri all around, last seen when Pandya and Rahul sipped the most expensive coffee of their lives.
BCCI holds an urgent meeting to set things staright
Thankfully, SportsCafe has a well-placed insider in the board and he reveals the proceedings as to how BCCI decides to go about things.
It starts when a senior BCCI official starts ranting, "It is all becoming so unnerving. In this social media age, where every single creature has got access to 4G and cheap smart phones, the narrative is becoming increasingly difficult to ‘control and counter.’ Given how much being in control runs in our blood, don't all of you guys feel this itching when these Dhoni like incidents steal the thunder?
“How can they? We are the freaking BCCI, we control state associations, we control our cheerleader-esque commentators, we control the ICC, we control the world cricket, we command the biggest revenue in the world, we control the world cricket schedule, now it feels the time is ripe to start persona management of players as well, if nothing more, as these players have made us so rich, so they also need some breathing space after all."
Another board member steps in and boasts, "Well said, I still can't forget how we forced our commentators not to utter a 'WORD' post-2013 spot-fixing scandal, as if they had time traveled from Stone Age to the commentary box. I still get thrills on how we kept the world on its toes in regards to DRS just because we couldn't get it right. We are so powerful that we didn't even let other use it. If we are drowning, why alone? Having a separate IPL window, the Big Three facade, not letting cricketers play other franchise-based leagues, controlling their media interaction, giving no freedom to commentators on-air, sacking them when we want, jeez, at times, don't you all feel 'Apun log hi bhagwaan hai' (We are gods)? Anyways, I have a suggestion; we should get in touch with WWE, the control they practice over their athletes and in every aspect, it gives me goose bumps and adrenaline rush just imagining it.”
BCCI officials happen to meet the WWE officials, and after long deliberations, it turns out to be a great learning curve for them. "Script, control, persona management, WWE can be a turning point and source of ‘nirvana’ in our control freak journey," says a top BCCI official with the joy of a kid having found his long lost toy. The board holds another high profile meeting and they decide to issue a gag order to MS Dhoni for his persona management, which will also extend to other players if the trial on MS runs successfully.
They also decide to bring innovations in the way BCCI commentators will do their pro-India-BCCI commentary job, and also on how copyright videos will be regulated strictly on social media, so that anything controversial doesn't reach the masses.
BCCI issues gag order to Dhoni and commentators; sets up IT cell
BCCI writes a short letter to MS Dhoni and asks him to adhere to the newly inducted persona management rules for remainder of the IPL.
"Mr. MS Dhoni, you have been the epitome of leading from the front and that's why we want to start with you our newly formed persona management program in light of the recent incident, which involved you with Mr. Paul Reiffel. Have you forgotten that you are the 'MS Dhoni'? If we can get one of the most popular commentators sacked at one click of yours (Retweet), a selector ousted who wanted you out of captaincy, don't you think you just needed a call and we would have sorted out Mr. Reiffel, as we are ambassadors of the 'My way or the highway' principle? Come on, you don't need to get your hands dirty. You are a Lieutenant Colonel, MS, and the face of nationalism, so sacrifice few wides here and there. You need to bring your legendary off-field image management antics on the field as well.
"In times of anti-China sentiment, we had to sacrifice our hefty deal with Vivo, and you get away doing an Oppo ad sans bashing, that too while having an honorary rank in our respected Army. Even in your propaganda, sorry, biography movie, the story ended with the 2011 World Cup, there wasn't even a word on the 2013 Spot-fixing scandal as if it happened in a parallel world, where does those legendary image management skills vanish on-field? Anyways, from now onwards, please refrain from fighting with umpires, you have a great legacy to live up to, be the cool and calm man you that you are known to be, and ask us to fix if any issue comes up like we did with Ulhas Gandhe, last year," reads the letter.
BCCI also sends an email note to the commentators present in the IPL 2020.
"We are mighty impressed with how all of you have been adhering to our guidelines to the T. Even Amitabh Bachchan has been left in awe of your performances. You guys have not only read "100 reasons why BCCI and Indian cricketers are the best” by Ravi Shastri but put every freaking word into action. But since, you know, we at BCCI, are always looking for ways to innovate to take our ' biased commentary' to new heights, we have sent you some videotapes with transcripts. So, we have collected some of the best compilations from Indian TV debates, where spokespersons defend their parties, with hysterics and oratory that might even surpass Mark Antony’s oratory of 'Julius Caesar'. We want you guys to think of yourself as BCCI spokespersons, which you already are but with the spark of these political speakers, for instance, if someone like Dhoni, Kohli, or Rohit do something wrong, cover-up like these orators.
"A special mention for Graeme Swann here, the way you have been going gaga over Rahul Tewatia and Rajasthan Royals, we like it and see a bright future for you doing a ‘Shastri’ for BCCI and its players in international games too. But, at times, you pick up on our umpires, who watch incessant replays for straightforward decisions, which is undoubtedly bereft of common sense, but then didn't you read your contract to apply common sense only if it goes in our favor? Should we get you on a call with Mr. Bhogle on how we function? If you can't dance to our tunes, then toot your horn somewhere else,” reads the mail by the board.
BCCI also decides to expand and strengthen its videos copyright team to a different level and now wants to make sure that nothing controversial goes viral as all such videos will be nipped in the bud. They will also hire popular cricket influencers from Twitter, who can help BCCI to alter the narrative in their favor and get full grip over things from A to Z, in terms of mishaps. In fact, they will be leading the whole BCCI IT cell dedicated for this purpose. They have also asked their official digital streaming partner to remove the rewind button from their app, so that no one can go back and get controversial things out.
Disclaimer: Please note that everything mentioned in this article is fictionalized, exaggerated, nothing more than a satire, and in no way should it be interpreted as an actual record of events.