News reaches the Reverse Sweep that the top secret peace summit between the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Pakistani President Asif Zardari had gone surprisingly well. It is understood that historic agreements on nuclear disarmament and the future of Kashmir had been drafted and were ready for signature.
Then the discussion moved to cricket, which according to the leaked and as yet unsubstantiated transcript changed the atmosphere completely.
And it all started so well:
Manmohan Singh: "By the way, congratulations Mr President on your cricket team's momentous victory over Australia at the weekend. 15 years is a long time"
Asif Zardari: "Why thank you Prime Minister. It was indeed a great day, although our batsmen did their best to bugger things up"
MS: "Yes, I saw that. Dougie, Hilfy and Mummy's Boy nearly did it. Damn them. Er I mean, batting isn't exactly your strongest suit, is it?"
AZ: "Spot on. As you probably know our best batsman retired in a huff after completely cocking things up in Australia. He is behaving like a spoilt child and keeps dropping hints to the press that he is ready to come back. Then our next best batsman also threw his toys out of the pram, because his predecessor as captain was conspiring behind his back. What does he expect? This is Pakistan after all. So, we've got a couple of school kids that Chairman Butt bumped into in the street at three and four. Then young Umar Akmal is sulking because he didn't get an IPL contract, and don't even get me started on Afridi..."
MS: "Yes, I can see your problem. Our challenge is entirely different. Our bowling attack is hopeless. Zaheer is injured and that leaves only Bhaji. Do you know, the reason why Murali said that Bhaji could challenge his 800 wickets?"
AZ: "No, go on"
MS: "Everyone thought that he was being generous. But that wasn't why. Murali based it on the fact that Bhaji would be bowling with the likes of Ojha, Sreesanth, Sharma, Mishra and that useless fool Munaf Patel for the next few years"
AZ: "Perhaps, it may help that in the spirit of our accord that I tell you that Munaf is actually a saboteur planted by the ISI and the PCB"
MS: "That explains a lot. Well, in return I'd better tell you that the same is true for Shoaib Malik. You know we couldn't believe it when you made him captain!"
AZ: "That, I am not surprised about. He still wants to be captain, you know"
MS: "Even the PCB wouldn't be that stupid, would they? We are already 1-0 down to Sri Lanka and I hear from my aides that the bowlers are being flayed to all corners of the ground in the second test too. Bang goes our number one ranking"
AZ: "You know perhaps our countries should reunify? With our bowlers and your batsmen, we could take over the world. We could even get Bangladesh onside too. Then we would have that great opening batsman of theirs as well"
MS: "That would be amazing to have Imrul Kayes in a reunified team. You know, that is a great idea. This summit could put Gandhi, Jinnah and Nehru all into the shade"
AZ: "But what would we call this new country?"
MS: "Well, it would obviously be called India. That was the name before partition and that should be the name after reunification"
AZ: "Why, you empire building filth. That is a massive insult to Pakistan. I will sign no such accord"
MS: "Don't you raise your voice with me. All deals are off, I'm leaving"
AZ: "I withdrew first. I want that put in the official transcripts"
At this point our source advises that the respective aides moved in to separate the two leaders from exchanging blows. The region and the world will never know how close it came to a truly historic peace accord. Cricket, you see raises passions. Not all of them healthy. But a team comprised of India's batsmen and Pakistan's bowlers would indeed be tough to face. We're not sure whether Imrul Kayes would get in the XI though.