Members of the BBC radio Test Match Special commentary team were taken into police custody last night, accused of trying to fake a new pseudo-accidental on-air gaffe, for the purpose of gaining royalties from Private Eye magazine's Colemanballs column and the lucrative after-dinner speaking circuit.
Many hilarious blunders have been perpetrated by the TMS team over the years, bringing fame and fortune to the unwitting authors. Brian 'Johnners' Johnston dined out for years on his outrageous comment "There's Botham with his legs apart looking for a tickle", and his classic "The bowler's Holding, the batsman's Willey" earned him a multi-million pound book deal and a knighthood.
In recent times, however, the supply of howlers has run dry - perhaps partly due to the Beeb's tighter editorial controls and stricter policy on lunchtime drinking - and the modern generation of cricket commentators can only look with envy upon the riches gathered by their clumsy-tongued former colleagues.
The commentators currently in custody came to the police's attention after a series of new gaffes, seeming too outrageous to be accidental, shocked and titillated the Radio Four audience. During the summer's fourth test against Pakistan, Jonathan 'Johnners' Agnew casually remarked: "There's James Anderson holding a pair of big red balls in his hand, hoping to tickle them down to stroke Mohammad Amir's middle stump", to the exaggerated mirth of his colleagues. Similarly, in the previous test, Phil 'Johnners' Tufnell was heard to remark: "Stuart Broad can't help spanking the bowler's big bouncers right down the wicket keeper's throat". The real clincher, however, was Agnew's languid observation during the recent One Day series that: "Shahid Afridi looks like a raving fairy strutting down Old Compton Steet on a Friday night, looking for some big juicy bum love."
The comment was quickly excused as an off-the-cuff slip of the tongue, but police swooped on the commentary box and found a plethora of incriminating evidence, including a stash of pornographic magazines, the Viz 'Profanisaurus' guide to rude expressions, and a copy of Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy.
A police spokesman expressed confidence in the case against the accused. "They can't seriously expect a jury to believe that this was an accident," he insisted today. "If you ask me, they're looking at a long hard stretch, and I'm the one to send them down," before adding: "Blimey, my ass hurts."