Bat and Ball(ot)
Change is in the air. It is what creates the turn in the tides, the furl in the leaves, the flaps in the nascent wings of a small bird. And hopefully, it will manifest in some way in the polls today as Pakistan attempts to democratically elect its next government. However, because I am not politically astute enough to commentate on those, I will do what I moderately do well: take a serious phenomenon and try to water it down through the lens of the least serious sport in the world.
So, for my first duty as a make-believe polling officer, here is an official list of candidates for the election – Pakistan cricket edition.
Candidate #1 – Administrative Stability
Symbol: Wasim Khan’s face
Manifesto: As per current standings, the manifesto for this candidate is still in the works. They were deemed eligible for contesting elections multiple times last year but were disqualified as many times. However, as per our sources, the candidate aims to hopefully ensure there are more wins for the team per calendar year than there are chairmen for the board. Because one would think this is a pretty low-stakes goal to initiate a campaign upon that cannot possibly be messed up, the candidate refused to add any other points to the manifesto.
Candidate #2 – The Islamabad United Kit Designer
Manifesto: This candidate wants to ensure that the Pakistan cricket fraternity is world-class – hence, they plan on borrowing ideas from the rest of the world to make it happen. Apart from kits and jerseys, their canon of revolutionary plagiarism may also extend to other causes, such as “style of play” and “usage of data.” Due to a lack of data on how often this mechanism of borrowing from outside home has worked, the candidate also promises to ensure a working government department dedicated to reading and processing any and all instances of Twitter backlash.
Candidate #3 – The Entirety of Women’s Cricket
Symbol: A person holding up a sign that says “SOS”
Manifesto: This candidate promises that, given a chance, it can do whatever the other candidates are promising and more. However, the candidate keeps getting sidelined by both other candidates and the election commission. The reasons cited for this sidelining include but are not limited to “lack of a constituency” and “have not won elections in the past.” The candidate tries to reinforce that they could not have won seats they are systematically barred from contesting for. Despite that, the candidate shows brilliant promise and is determined to stand their ground at the polls. Voters in respective constituencies are asked to treat their limited ballot papers with care.
Candidate #4 – The PSL anthem
Symbol: A Jail Cell
Manifesto: After spending years being heavily contested themselves, this candidate has taken it upon themselves to join the actual running. They promise their voters that all artistic integrity will be first screened through the eyes of the law, and if the results of this screening prove that there has been behavioral misconduct, then any precedents set will not be reversed within one working week. The candidate also promises that when an entire subsect of their constituency feels threatened and unsafe by the inclusion of someone, they will not go out of their way to include the aforementioned someone in constitutional proceedings any chance they get.
Candidate #5 – Nepotism
Manifesto: Their promise is simple: if anything has to be done, they will procure a family member for it. This may go against the pillars of logic and competence, but blood is thicker than water, and boy, do we need a certain thickness in temperament to survive this. However, the candidate does not make any remarks about what will happen should the pool of genetic resources run out or if better players are found hanging off trees outside the family orchids. Of course, this candidate’s true mandate lies on the piece of paper where the starting XI is written just before the beginning of a game, but the ballot is a good imitation as well.
The candidates may not be plentiful. Most may not even be ideal. Some can be truly questioned on the basis of whether or not they should be contesting – however, as a voter, what you can do is put them in their place. For all elections and for all democracies – literal or metaphorical – the only illusion of a choice we have is that of being able to vote. So, no matter how much you want to crumple up that ballot – remember, it is yours to crumple. Be a responsible citizen, pad up, and get ready to knock them out of the park.