In a shocking development that could shake the ongoing ICC 2019 World Cup to its core, four players of the New Zealand team have rebelled against their own side and are expected to join the Indian team. This means that the strength of the Kiwi squad comes down to 11 – the minimum number of players needed to compete in a cricket match – and one more defection to the Men in Blue would make the Kiwis incapable of having the requisite number of players to compete in the World Cup final.
In that scenario, the team which they defeated in the semis, India, are likely to take their place in the final and play England for the trophy. The New Zealand team's high command has been left in a state of panic and fearing further defections, they have herded the remaining 11 players to a resort in North England, in hope of keeping them safe from BCCI's agents who, the New Zealanders claim, are involved in horse-trading.
Kane Williamson, the New Zealand captain and Ross Taylor, their senior-most players were away from the team with their families but are rushing back to the team's resort to keep their house in order.
A spokesperson of the New Zealand has openly accused the Indian team and BCCI for indulging in horse-trading and luring away their players by tempting them with big IPL contracts. "Ever since we reached the final, the Indian board has been trying to buy our players and are offering them highly lucrative IPL contracts. They want to reduce the number of our squad to below 11 so that we are unable to play in the final and they take our place," the spokesperson stated.
The Indian team management has refuted these charges and have blamed the troubles of New Zealand on their own lack of performance. "We have nothing to do with these defections. It is an outcome of the dysfunctional situation in the New Zealand squad. The players known that their team is incapable of providing a good and stable challenge to England, hence they are leaving the squad out of discontent."
However, the four rebel players – Tim Southee, Colin Munro, Tom Blundell and Ish Sodhi – were seen quitting their team hotel and going to Indian team's hotel in a chartered bus belonging to a company that is partially owned by a BCCI office-bearer. This, the Black Caps say, is a clinching proof of Indian team's involvement in the whole drama. The concerned BCCI official has said that buses belonging to this company can be chartered by anyone and the rebels have paid for its service.
It is a well-known fact that the Indian team was very unhappy at being eliminated from the World Cup despite being the best side in league stage. Their complaint was enunciated by captain Virat Kohli. "This is an outrageous situation that has been foisted upon the cricket world by the opportunistic Kiwis. We, the side at the top of the points table are eliminated from the World Cup by losing just one match while the team that is not even second or third but fourth in the points table became the finalist. While we lost just one match in the entire league stage, they lost three in a row.
"The mandate was clearly for us to play in the final but New Zealand disrespected it by sneaking into the final. Only we can provide the right kind of challenge to England in the final," Kohli was reported as saying.
There are rumours circulating in London that a couple of other players are ready to defect as well. This will bring down the strength of the squad to 9 and will make the New Zealanders incapable of playing the final.
The New Zealand team management are trying to placate the four rebel cricketers by offering them plum positions in the team. Apparently, Southee, the senior-most bowler in the squad, is being lured back with the offer of getting to bowl with the new ball. Similarly, Munro is being tempted back with the opening slot. Blundell and Sodhi will replace Tom Latham and Mitchell Santner if they come back, as per the sources. So far, all four players have refused to accept these offers and come back into the New Zealand fold.
Williamson alleged that Southee, offended at being overlooked in favour of Matt Henry, has also been offered the Rs 8 crore IPL contract that was given to Jaydev Unadkat last season by Rajasthan Royals. Southee, on his part, denied this claim that he is after an IPL contract and said that what inspired him and the other three players was the strong and dynamic leadership of Virat Kohli.
The charge regarding IPL contract has also been rejected by BCCI. "Why should we offer such contracts to New Zealand players when they themselves are leaving the sinking ship? Look at their captain! He is such a soft-spoken and unassuming guy. Compare him to our captain Kohli. It is the leadership of Virat Kohli that has attracted all of them towards us," the BCCI spokesperson claimed.
Cricket analyst are expressing their anguish at these developments. "Even if these players come back, what's the guarantee that we won't have a rebellion again? If these people are given the places they want, then others would also make demands of prime slots in the playing XI?" Sanjay Manjrekar wondered. The World Cup crisis is only getting worse.
(This article is a satirical piece)