World Cup March 20, 2007

Thou shalt not knock the minnows

TV viewers might have noticed that commentators have been very chartable to the so-called minnows during this World Cup so far

TV viewers might have noticed that commentators have been very chartable to the so-called minnows during this World Cup so far. For example, when Zimbabwe were in the Caribbean in May, the experts made no attempt to hide their feelings that they were not fit to play international cricket. But even when they tied with Ireland on Saturday, there was hardly a critical word. And even when Bermuda and Netherlands, for example, have been slaughtered, the men in the box have been remarkably jolly about them.

Robert Craddock, writing in The Australian, thinks he knows why.

It is understood commentators have been told by Global Cricket Corp producers that it frowns on them denigrating the minnows. However, it is deemed acceptable for commentators to call an event a mismatch but not to say some of the nations do not deserve to be in the tournament.

Some commentators who agree with the directive and feel the minnows are a necessary part of global expansion are happy to abide by it. Others, who feel the tournament has been devalued by their presence, would rather speak their mind.

And Craddock concluded by saying that some of the players themselves are aware of the real picture.

The widespread feeling that the minnows are enjoying every moment of their matches against the big boys is wide of the mark. Several Dutch players privately conceded they feel embarrassed by their team's efforts.

Keep your eyes and ears open and see if what you are watching tallies with what you are being told.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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