You’re 18 years old. Tall, thin to the point of anorexic. Left handed. And you are part of an endangered species. You can bowl a cricket ball at blinding pace, and make it do things in the air and off the pitch. In your last 11 innings where the opposition involved Australia and England at home, you’ve taken 30 wickets at an average of 19.80. You’ve made some of the best batsmen around look very circumspect and have received praise from some of the game’s great quick bowlers. Even in the arcane world of Pakistan test team selection you are guaranteed to be among the first 3 names down on the team sheet as your more experienced peers start to show the unmistakable signs of age and substance abuse.
What do you do next?
It’s really not a trick question. You concentrate on staying fit, look at adding some muscle to sustain your bowling, you watch and learn. You bowl frighteningly fast and you enjoy it. In the process you arouse many a marketer, publicist and IPL team owner to pay you obscene amounts of money to endorse shampoos, wear jerseys held together by sponsor logos. You pay off your family debt, buy swank pads in downtown Lahore, custom-order Lamborghinis. For your other urges, you blow off steam at IPL parties and partake of the buffet of ‘international’ escorts, ahem, models, all in the name of contractual commitments.
But, always! You always get back to the nets the next morning and wear your ego on your sleeve as you try to knock the batsman’s head off.
What you don’t do, you damn fool, is to agree with lesser talented team-mates, to bowl rigged no-balls. Don’t you get it?! Or we’ll have nothing but the middling medium pace of the Kulasekharas, the Praveen Kumars and the Tuffeys, the coma-inducing finger-tweaking tedium of the Swanns and Jadejas. The front-foot swagger of the Dilshans and the Rainas as they cart yet another six over midwicket. You fuckin’ idiot! Cricket needs your kind to survive!