October 4, 2009

Champions Trophy 2009

I don't like Mondays

Andrew Hughes

Bond: stinging sensation © Getty Images

So the conclusion of the ICC Champions Trophy, 2009’s last set-piece occasion, the ultimate chapter of a gripping cricket narrative, when all will finally be revealed to a worldwide audience is to be held on… a Monday. High fives all round for the scheduling committee! Give yourself a pat on the back, Haroon Lorgat (or have one of your people do it), cos you da man! Yes, you’ve gone and done it again, ICC, and if I hadn’t lost my hat in an unfortunate yachting incident at Cowes, I’d be removing it and doffing it in the general direction of Dubai.

Monday. At the precise moment when a sturdy operatic type with a microphone begins to belt out “Advance Australia Fair” or “God Defend New Zealand” at a frighteningly loud volume, I wonder where the cricket populace of the world will be? Well, in South Africa and England they will be at work. In the Caribbean they will be getting ready for work. In Mumbai, Lahore, Colombo and Dhaka they will be coming home from work. And in Sydney and Wellington, they will be slumped bleary-eyed on their sofas or in bed after a day at work. Spot the common theme?

No doubt, in ICC world, where every day is a cocktail party, one day of the week is much the same as another. There may also be the odd weirdo out there for whom the dawn of another Monday is joy incarnate. However, I am with Bob Geldof on the subject of Mondays. It is not a day for finals. It is a day for weary soberness, for 10 cups of coffee before your lunch break, for hauling yourself out of bed and yawning at the futility of another working week. Let us hope those poor souls staying up in Melbourne and Auckland get a decent final, because they deserve it.

If they were watching Saturday’s game, they would have been thoroughly entertained. I found the second semi-final memorable for a couple of reasons. Firstly there was the wince-inducing but compelling fast bowling of Shane Bond, who twice made Kamran Akmal snatch his hand away from the bat in the manner of someone who has been stung by a wasp, and then dismissed Imran Nazir with a delivery that appeared to be heading straight up his left nostril until he wisely got his bat in the way.

Then there was the battle between the Mighty D and baby-faced Umar Akmal. In the 25th over Vettori had already offered up three identical teasers, one of which Akmal had audaciously tickled to fine leg. The next delivery from the bearded one’s left hand fizzed through so quickly that it verged on the impolite. Undaunted, the youngster’s response was to wallop the fifth ball of the over through midwicket with an ungainly lunging sweep. From the other end, Uncle Mohammad Yousuf had clearly had enough. He came down to explain to the rookie the perils of recklessness and the virtues of patience. A smiling and entirely oblivious Akmal nodded at the old man’s advice, then aimed a wild slash at the next one, sending it curving through the air just out of the reach of short third man and away for four. Cricket needs all the teenagers it can get.


Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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Posted by AP on (October 7, 2009, 21:25 GMT)

ICC scheduled the two semi finals on a weekend - friday evening and saturday. Also knowing that friday was a holiday in India, the biggest market for cricket. And ICC hoped that India would make it to semis. And ICC knew that it wont make the finals. So, ICC knows its commerce very well. Two semifinals on a weekend (one of which was hoped to involve India, nevertheless it involved another crowd favorite Pakistan) is better than one hopeless final on a monday. Howzzzaaat?!

Posted by Drew on (October 6, 2009, 3:56 GMT)

Well at least some of you got to watch it. I am in Perth, Western Australia and non of the tv stations had the rights to the Champions Trophy. It wasn't even on the radio! The tv coverage was limited to FoxTel. That in itself is a disgrace. Why should I have to pay to watch the national team compete!!!. Australain broadcastiong is a joke!!! pathetic.

Posted by chithsabesh on (October 6, 2009, 2:27 GMT)

well said these stupid channels and the brodcasters are rubbish and we are in 21 century

Posted by Cowboy Craig on (October 6, 2009, 0:44 GMT)

Boo Bloody Hoo!

Finals on a Monday?? Be thankful you can watch cricket at all!

Ever heard of a video recorder (do they still make them?)...Live Pause, internet replay, or whatever else you can STOP/RECORD/PLAY/REWIND etc.

You can then wake up, get the wife to cook some eggs (that's a joke by the way!), turn the t.v on and watch the game in real time?

We can debate the rules, scheduling, players, selection, Hawkeye, Umpires, pitches, players, flying insects, supporters etc etc until the cows come home....

Support the game, move on, if you don't like it don't complain, make a positive suggestion?

Was a great tournament. I believe the best team won. I hope to be watching 50 over cricket for a few years yet.....


Posted by redneck on (October 5, 2009, 23:53 GMT)

@sapling considering Wil from oz is actually in oz, he may just have more of a clue than you! unless your brother and sister are in the middle of no where they can get either foxtel or austar (pay tv) connected to their homes! free to air wont have any overseas cricket on it, which is probably what your brother is telling you! maybe you should get your facts right sapling!

Posted by redneck on (October 5, 2009, 23:33 GMT)

@allan manson, get foxtel! if your a cricket supporter it is money well spent! apart from the ashes and world cup you wont get any overseas cricket on free to air mate and that probably wont change anytime soon either!

Posted by Brenton Smith on (October 5, 2009, 23:02 GMT)

In Australia.. or atleast New South Wales, it is school holidays for students as well as a public holiday today for everyone else.

Posted by Brent - Kiwi in Brisbane on (October 5, 2009, 22:41 GMT)

Its about time Aus host some of these tournaments. RSA and the sub continent have gotten plenty of cricket coverage recently. Australia has the best weather, nicest beaches, most stunning cricket grounds/pitches, Great TV technology - HD and superdooperslowmotion and better yet we don't have any annoying english commentators.... well maybe 1 but his accent is bearable :p

Posted by CA$HJUICE on (October 5, 2009, 21:36 GMT)

It just goes to show how far removed these cricket lords are from the fans.Cricket is dying unless some new & radical ideas are injected into the sports.Have enough greats to sustain interest for at least 5 more years though.

Posted by Rakesh on (October 5, 2009, 20:50 GMT)

I agree with Andrew, i miss the match cos am working, still at work, going back home i might be able to catch presentation

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Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73

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