Australia and England will head into tonight’s first Test at Edgbaston each using for the first time in sporting history three state-of-the-21st Century Replicants – robot lookalikes capable of playing at nothing less than 100 per cent ruthlessness and efficiency.
Both the Australian Cricket Board and the England and Wales Cricket Board agreed to trialling the scheme after the last series in Engand in 2015.
In both countries, secretive high-tech government agencies, the military and private companies leading the world in artificial intelligence were tasked with creating the Replicants – bioengineered android robots that are virtually identical to adult human beings – in this case the Test cricketers they will replace tonight.
The move, while showing just how important victory is in this series is to both nations, also pays homage to classic science fiction movie Blade Runner set in, of all years, 2019!
The Ridley Scott classic had a young Harrison Ford tracking down and killing the Nexus-series of Replicants threatening a post-apocalyptic world that looked even scarier and more wasted than the inner-parts of many England cities, including Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham where this Test is being played.
Replicants are virtually identical to adult humans but have superior strength, speed, agility, resilience and, in the case of the England players, intelligence.
And both boards believe cricket lovers will be unable to detect them from the Test players they have secretly replaced once the teams were selected several days ago.
And The Bug‘s senior sports writer Pat Malone agrees with that assessment: ” The only way these Replicants will stand out is by their performances.
“Obviously, these Replicants wouldn’t be used to replace players currently at the top of their games so anyone in the England eleven would be suspect.
“These robots have an inhuman ability to perform brilliantly, lacking in any human trait that could see them undone by odd mixtures of self-doubt and supreme self-belief, bravery and cowardice, periods of bravado yet blubbering like a baby if they’re caught out succumbing to cheating as a direct reaction from the pressure to perform well.
“So David Warner is one to keep an eye on. Any of the sandpaper trio, really.
“But I’d definitely be looking for someone who grabs a doubt hat-trick or the fastest Test ton ever over the next five days, especially if they do both in the one innings.”
And sporting experts and the ABC’s Paul Kennedy said this limited use of Replicants in this Test could just be the beginning.
“Maybe entire national teams in all codes will one day be made up of Replicants,” one said.
“Crowds will get to see their favourite sports played at the highest of levels and managements could save millions in match payments to pretentious, puffed-up current ‘human’ stars.
“Drug misuse, ball-tampering, Mad Monday disgraces and punch-ups inside and outside late-night watering holes would also be a thing of the past if the Replicants were programmed properly and their circuit boards were robot-proof.”