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Wednesday August 11th We learned today of a cunning plan by Mr Modi in his long-running yet entertaining tussle with the BCCI. It appears that he had asked for two members of the disciplinary panel to recuse themselves. This, it turns out, is not an obscenity, but a legal term. His Modiness wanted the duo gone because he was concerned they were biased against him. It was a clever move, for had they accepted the principle that the deposed IPL Overlord could only be judged by people not in anyway ill-disposed towards him, the BCCI would find themselves unable to fill a panel, or indeed a phone box.
Unfortunately for Lalit, they did not accept this request and so the show goes on in the same compelling yet impenetrable way. The opacity of proceedings is partly due to the exotic tangle of business gobbledook and thorny legalese through which the outsider must hack his way in order to make sense of it all. Like a modern Hollywood spy thriller, the audience for The Modi Supremacy and its apparently endless sequels has only the merest sliver of a clue as to what the hell is going on but we do at least know who is supposed to be the bad guy.
Thursday August 12th The Clydesdale Bank 40, for those who are unaware, is not the collective name for a group of individuals wrongly convicted of a theft of gold bullion. It is the title of a rather splendid little tournament that takes place throughout the spring and summer and that ends, hopefully, some time soon. Today I thought I’d catch up with county affairs and settled down to watch the Outlaws against the Bears. Once again, the team named after people triumphed over their zoologically titled opponents.
Before the cricket though, this being an English August, there was a certain amount of dampness, which forced Sky back onto their plan B. This involved Ian Ward talking to Mark Ealham and sometimes to David Houghton. I’ll be honest, it was quite dull. That isn’t their fault, of course. They are or were cricketers. Their job is or was the manipulation of a small round leathery thing about a field, not entertaining bored couch potatoes who should have better things to do of a Thursday afternoon. Still, next time that moisture seeps into proceedings, it might be better to go with Plan C and let us watch the groundstaff going to it with buckets and sponges.
Friday August 13th Today I treated myself to watching something I’d recorded yesterday: highlights of the 1992 World Cup final. The early nineties was a golden era, a time when men were men and the moustache was still a fashionable means of self-expression*. Of course I enjoyed Inzamam’s nonchalance, Fairbrother’s guile, and Wasim's blowing away of Chris Lewis with an invisible inswinger. But there was even more fun to be had listing the subsequent careers of the participants. Coach, commentator, umpire, agent, journalist, Member of Parliament and drug smuggler: all human life was there. And the whole thing introduced by Richie Benaud from his mother-in-law’s back bedroom next to a giant vase of chrysanthemums. It was television cricket gold.
* No prizes, but a warm feeling of smugness to the reader who can come up with the correct number of moustaches on the field of play during that famous game.
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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. Providing his ransom demands continue to be met, he has promised never to write a whimsical book about village cricket. @hughandrews73