August 14, 2010


The Modi Supremacy, and a rewind to 1992

Andrew Hughes
Lalit Modi talks on the phone at the IPL awards, Mumbai, April 23, 2010
I'll finance the sequel if you eliminate my enemies, 007  © Indian Premier League


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.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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Posted by tchakovsky on (August 21, 2010, 9:54 GMT)

1992 was the best world cup ever. No poor teams and all teams played each other once. The clothing design was classy and much better than today's garish versions. And the moustaches made it even better.

Mr Hughes. You are the only writer apart from Mr Zaltzmann on page 2 who is funny and eminently readable. Others are tedious. Keep on the good work.

Posted by Andrew Hughes on (August 17, 2010, 19:51 GMT)

Thanks all for your comments.

Congratulations to Hasnain, there were indeed ten hairy lipped professional cricketers on the field of play that day.

Posted by Chetan on (August 14, 2010, 23:38 GMT)

Look like cricinfo does not like Modi(not Gujarat Chief Minister bUT former IPL commissioner). I visit cricinfo everyday every article on Modi on cricinfo is against Modi...Everybody is same from PAWAR or POWER... MODI is just a scapegoat.....I do not think punishing modi will improve IPL image.....get rid of those behind Modi also.......

Posted by Shailesh Shukla on (August 14, 2010, 22:44 GMT)

some more moustaches Kapil Dev Richard Hadlee Manoj Prabhakar Anil Kumble (in the beginning of his career) Merv Hughes

Posted by MJ on (August 14, 2010, 19:41 GMT)

"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."

ROFL. Hilarious as usual. Another good piece. Keep 'em coming.

Posted by Jagan on (August 14, 2010, 17:54 GMT)

Really? "...we know who is supposed to be the bad guy"? Really? Please help me. You are pathetic and the article is ridiculous

Posted by Jack on (August 14, 2010, 14:03 GMT)

How do you know who the bad guy is in the Lalit Modi tussle with BCCI?

What makes you point fingers at him?

Could it be that you didn't like the power of an Asian authority?

You pre-judged the man. He was given full authority to create a financial machinery of power-which he did. He did not have processes. The Mona Lisa could not have been created with a process. Instead of fixing the systems he created for transparency, there is a witch hunt.

He may have done a few wrong things. Few of them may have been like rewarding himself-like a performance bonus, but unstated.

But in the light of what he did, isn't it fair that he gets his due?

Posted by hasnain sarfraz on (August 14, 2010, 12:18 GMT)

actually there were 10 5 in pakistan team 1.Rameez Raja 2.Javed Miandad 3.Saleem Malik 4.Ijaz Ahmed 5.Mushtaq ahmed

5 in england team 1.Graham Gooch 2.Ian Botham 3.Allan Lamb 4.Philip Defraties 5.Richard Illingworth

Posted by mashood on (August 14, 2010, 8:20 GMT)

8 or 9... 5 in Pakistani camp. Where has the moustache gone? I miss it, no one under 40 seems to have it anymore.

Posted by Amit on (August 14, 2010, 7:26 GMT)

7 moustaches

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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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