Once there was a rich merchant in the Big Land, which had a huge population. He had three sons. The merchant wanted to hand over his business to the brightest. So one day he called upon his three sons and gave them a hundred rupee note each. He told them the one who could fill [...]

The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

SLPL fiasco: The Big Land, the small land and the candle man


Once there was a rich merchant in the Big Land, which had a huge population. He had three sons. The merchant wanted to hand over his business to the brightest. So one day he called upon his three sons and gave them a hundred rupee note each. He told them the one who could fill the room with something with the money that he had given them would inherit his business and the others would have to work under the winner. The sons agreed.

The first son bought bricks with the money and he fell short. The second bought hay with the money, yet he too fell short by a foot or so. The third and the youngest walked to the nearest shop bought a rupee candle and lit it and was in line to take over the business.
Yet, there was an accountability problem. He had ninety nine rupees that he had to account for. It was black money. So he got hold of the most popular sport in the land and founded the Irresponsible Puny League and turned his black ninety nine rupees into legit stock and became a millionaire on his own.

Seeing the spectacle on that soil and the instant success of the IPL, the rest of the world also wanted to monkey it. One called it “one bash” another called it another bash, but did not have the same success as the original one.

Meanwhile, in an adjacent island a famous past player with a dubious background, and another player, who is not so popular as the former but now plays the kingmaker role (and very close to the Kings’ advisor) along with the big land’s few shady businessmen who had missed the bus when the original was floated over there got together, and cooked up a tournament and called it the Shady Loathsome Puny League (SLPL).

Unlike the others, the SLPL did not go down well with the third son’s vision, who was now running the IPL in his country.
In retaliation he did not permit his players to take part in the SLPL. It was the first blow to the shady lot who organised the island’s thing. Then one by one, including the ‘Whirlwind’ player from the far off islands in the Atlantic Ocean and the hard-hitting Myridee from Big Land’s rival state also stayed off, plunging the SLPL into insignificance.

However, by then the shady lot had already put their foot in the mouth. They had drawn big plans to take this league far into the future.
Meanwhile, some of the other black merchants from the Big Land saw the island’s League as another opportunity and soon bought stocks looking for quick returns. What prompted them to do so was that the island’s match times were same as the match times in the Big Land, and they thought the third son would release his men as advertised by the shady lot. Then while the tournament was going on in the island, two black-money businessmen who had invested in the SLPL jumped ship causing more turbulence around the tournament.

Finally amidst delayed player-payments and an empty pocketed overseas tour for the champions the island’s tournament which hardly attracted any public imagination came to an end.

A few full moons turned and it was time for the next spectacle in the Big Land. Meanwhile the Big Land’s law men were looking into the tournament’s dealings which were taking place behind the curtains. They knew some things were amiss and kept vigil like hawks looking at their carcasses.

Then the bubble burst. Three players were caught while at the job — fixing, and were lugged behind bars. The law men did not stop at that they probed further. First the actor was caught. Then the third son’s brother was caught. Then a hoard of crooks were also booked.
The heat on the third son was too much. He tried to stay away from the heat and cool it by saying that he was innocent, yet the big mouthed pen men hounded him so much, he too had to step down temporarily and hand over the reins to a man called the ‘Parippu Rat’.

Back in the island it was time for the next show. The island gang was ready for it, though there were allegations from the Big Land about the crooks who were hovering around the island when the first tournament was on.
The shady group who had undertaken the task of finding people who could part with ninety nine rupees was hard to find. The stink in the big land had made the financiers coy.

The crooks know well that this is the only opening they have now. But, they have their own problems. The problems are as big as a bagful of money. Firstly, the lawmen of the Big Land where the crooks have residences are keeping a tab on them. Secondly, during the same time frame as the island’s thing, the people in the far off islands have floated their own bash and even some of the island’s best players which include the bent arm champion are due to take part in that.

For the crooks, a show without the players from the Big Land and players from the far off islands is not worth a penny. At the same time people who broadcast the show through the idiot box also would be reluctant to throw their weight behind this episode.

The local people, a paid part of this spectacle, have been told the show will go on, but nothing concrete has happened as yet. The show is scheduled to be on the road six weeks hence.

However, the shady group as a whole would have to concoct something. If not the group would split into two and start to throw legal tangles upon each other.

The man who has been put in charge is doing more than a handful of dance steps to keep the lid on, but the vibes inside say ‘this time it is no go’, even if they do it, it would be a huge flop.

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