January 12, 2011

The Situationist art of Lalit Modi

Mediocre players being bought for scads of cash while worthy cricketers go ignored
29

Saturday, 8th January I’m not sure the PCB have quite got the hang of this anti-corruption thing. The dial on their administrative machinery appears to have two settings: “suspect no one” and “suspect everyone”, and at the moment it is stuck firmly on the latter.

Danish Kaneria has not been charged with any crime and is not under investigation by the ICC. And yet he is persona non grata in Pakistan selection circles, as likely to get a game as Barack Obama, Rolf Harris or “President” Asif Ali Zardari, veteran spinner and connoisseur of the cut.

Why is this so? I have a theory. The PCB, having been late converts to the benefits of fighting corruption, are now zealots in the cause and, like all zealots, have to take things that little bit too far. And what’s the only surefire way to prevent players from fixing cricket matches? Simple. Don’t ever let them play in any matches!

Sunday, 9th January The work of conceptual artist Lalit Modi continues to make waves. This weekend, the Situationist collective known as “The IPL” staged a live “auction” at which cricketers were led onto a stage one at a time and “sold” to “franchise owners”, who threw sacks of gold coins at the mediocre players but completely ignored the good ones.

Said one leading art critic:

“The way they subverted cricket’s outmoded patterns of talent hierarchy was breathtaking in its artistic vision. I particularly liked the bit where they put $400,000 next to Michael Yardy’s name. That was hilarious.”

Sourav Ganguly was unavailable to comment (although he is now available for after-dinner engagements and pantomime at very reasonable rates.)

Monday, 10th January This winter’s disagreeable turn of events for Ricky P has caused a certain amount of introspection in the little fella. He wants nothing less than a review of the whole structure of Australian cricket. Next month Merv Hughes and Jeff Thomson are to lead a fact-finding mission to ECB headquarters to find out just what kind of futuristic, state of the art, next-generation set-up we’ve got in England that has enabled us to produce players of the calibre of Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott.

To help speed the process along, I’ve summarised the key changes that the Aussies will need to make if they want to be more like us.

Break up those large, uncompetitive states with their concentration of resources and streamlined scouting and coaching networks and replace them with 18 or so smaller teams who will not be accountable to anyone.

Ideally, incorporate the word “shire” or “sex” into the titles of Australian teams. For example: Victoriashire, Queenslandsex, South Australiashire etc.

Quadruple the amount of cricket played domestically and introduce two new tournaments, at least one of which should be in an irrelevant format, such as, say, 35 or 43 overs.

Ensure that most of the money generated by Cricket Australia is shared amongst the chairpersons of the 18 teams, who in turn are advised to spend it on foreign cricketers, ugly new pavilions and luxury trouser presses.

Identify the 10 most promising players in South Africa and send them complimentary Australian passports.

Obviously there is a little more to it than that. Cricket Australia might also find it useful to try doing absolutely nothing for 20 years, and if questioned, explain that these things have a habit of working themselves out and that it’s all cyclical anyway.

So don’t worry Ricky. Just follow our example and before you can say “Allen Stanford!” the plastic replica of the Ashes urn will be back in Australian hands.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • crazykric on January 14, 2011, 5:44 GMT

    Wow Andrew, I didn't know that you know so much about Pakistan....

    “President” Asif Ali Zardari, veteran spinner and connoisseur of the cut.... Great anology!

  • Anonymous on January 13, 2011, 4:51 GMT

    "Identify the 10 most promising players in South Africa and send them complimentary Australian passports." Hilarious :)

  • Reshameen on January 13, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    “President” Asif Ali Zardari, veteran spinner and connoisseur of the cut --- Simply hilarious

  • mohanish_mnnit@yahoo.co.in on January 13, 2011, 0:24 GMT

    to find out just what kind of futuristic, state of the art, next-generation set-up we’ve got in England that has enabled us to produce players of the calibre of Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott. .... this was hilarious .. awesome stuff man

  • Ali on January 12, 2011, 22:40 GMT

    I don't like this 'comments' area under certain sections of cricinfo articles particularly page 2 articles written in a lighter vein. It's my belief I admit (and even the author of this article might disagree) but I'd rather quality of journalistisc writing is judged only by other journalists or published authors and in private.

    Telling someone his or her article stank is something you do to bloggers, not 'writers.' Unless you are a published author yourself, and understand how hard it is to put together a good sentence or what constitutes good quality writing, stay out of it. If you didn't appreciate it, just think others might do. You ruin it for everyone and not just the author by being a judge, especially if your tone is disrespectful which I believe is usually the case. I am not a writer myself but I am usually in awe of how well they write and how beautifully they bring difficult concepts to life on paper

  • DaveP on January 12, 2011, 20:56 GMT

    Any competitiion that ignores most of the players that won the last two world cups in that discipline (i.e the IPL having virtually no English and no Pakistan players) and pays nobodies almost a million dollars for...well what exactly? Certainly isn't going to get much air time in these parts IP what? Yawn

  • Sumit on January 12, 2011, 19:40 GMT

    I just spent a good five minutes convulsing on the floor with hysterical laughter after reading the bit about Modi's situational art! It's one at night in Mumbai and my flatmate peeked out of his room in alarm to see if everything was allright :)

    Andrew, please don't ever stop writing this column - it's the most fun I get to have without getting drunk!

  • Sigismund on January 12, 2011, 19:00 GMT

    The notion of "complimentary" passports is an intriguing one. Was that the secret of the Aussies' past success? Every time they opened their passports, the documents would say flattering things to them, such as, "Jeez, Haydos, you are a truly fantastic player!", or "Strewth, Warnie, you are one seriously good-looking fella. Do you want to shag me in the broom cupboard?"

  • The Meaning Company on January 12, 2011, 17:59 GMT

    IPL is conceptual art . I guess that would make 5 days with geriatrics in SW1 the real thing.

    My take Andrew - drink your tepid cuppa - log onto blofeld....and wallow in your post colonial lament.

    For the rest of the world and specifically the 700 million in India....jai ho!

  • Anonymous on January 12, 2011, 15:00 GMT

    Stop writing such rubbish.

  • crazykric on January 14, 2011, 5:44 GMT

    Wow Andrew, I didn't know that you know so much about Pakistan....

    “President” Asif Ali Zardari, veteran spinner and connoisseur of the cut.... Great anology!

  • Anonymous on January 13, 2011, 4:51 GMT

    "Identify the 10 most promising players in South Africa and send them complimentary Australian passports." Hilarious :)

  • Reshameen on January 13, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    “President” Asif Ali Zardari, veteran spinner and connoisseur of the cut --- Simply hilarious

  • mohanish_mnnit@yahoo.co.in on January 13, 2011, 0:24 GMT

    to find out just what kind of futuristic, state of the art, next-generation set-up we’ve got in England that has enabled us to produce players of the calibre of Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott. .... this was hilarious .. awesome stuff man

  • Ali on January 12, 2011, 22:40 GMT

    I don't like this 'comments' area under certain sections of cricinfo articles particularly page 2 articles written in a lighter vein. It's my belief I admit (and even the author of this article might disagree) but I'd rather quality of journalistisc writing is judged only by other journalists or published authors and in private.

    Telling someone his or her article stank is something you do to bloggers, not 'writers.' Unless you are a published author yourself, and understand how hard it is to put together a good sentence or what constitutes good quality writing, stay out of it. If you didn't appreciate it, just think others might do. You ruin it for everyone and not just the author by being a judge, especially if your tone is disrespectful which I believe is usually the case. I am not a writer myself but I am usually in awe of how well they write and how beautifully they bring difficult concepts to life on paper

  • DaveP on January 12, 2011, 20:56 GMT

    Any competitiion that ignores most of the players that won the last two world cups in that discipline (i.e the IPL having virtually no English and no Pakistan players) and pays nobodies almost a million dollars for...well what exactly? Certainly isn't going to get much air time in these parts IP what? Yawn

  • Sumit on January 12, 2011, 19:40 GMT

    I just spent a good five minutes convulsing on the floor with hysterical laughter after reading the bit about Modi's situational art! It's one at night in Mumbai and my flatmate peeked out of his room in alarm to see if everything was allright :)

    Andrew, please don't ever stop writing this column - it's the most fun I get to have without getting drunk!

  • Sigismund on January 12, 2011, 19:00 GMT

    The notion of "complimentary" passports is an intriguing one. Was that the secret of the Aussies' past success? Every time they opened their passports, the documents would say flattering things to them, such as, "Jeez, Haydos, you are a truly fantastic player!", or "Strewth, Warnie, you are one seriously good-looking fella. Do you want to shag me in the broom cupboard?"

  • The Meaning Company on January 12, 2011, 17:59 GMT

    IPL is conceptual art . I guess that would make 5 days with geriatrics in SW1 the real thing.

    My take Andrew - drink your tepid cuppa - log onto blofeld....and wallow in your post colonial lament.

    For the rest of the world and specifically the 700 million in India....jai ho!

  • Anonymous on January 12, 2011, 15:00 GMT

    Stop writing such rubbish.

  • Andy on January 12, 2011, 14:33 GMT

    haha, nice article!

  • Andrew Simoes on January 12, 2011, 13:40 GMT

    Good job , Andrew. Although the PCB bit was much duller than the other two. Ashes writing, of course , always makes for the best entertainment.

  • Saif Ram Krupa on January 12, 2011, 11:12 GMT

    Really funny. Love the suugestions to improve Auusie cricket.

  • Dr N Murugan on January 12, 2011, 11:10 GMT

    Beg to differ, Sir Freddie. 'Twas absolutely hilarious! esp the IPL saga..

  • James on January 12, 2011, 11:10 GMT

    Sir Andrew, I take my hat off to you.

  • Don Chelladurai on January 12, 2011, 10:49 GMT

    Big Brother aiborne ROFL!! That woman needs to get a decent job.

  • ShahidAfriditheballeater on January 12, 2011, 10:44 GMT

    Agree, This is rather a Dull article.

  • Bushy on January 12, 2011, 10:28 GMT

    More photos of Shilpa Shetty might be the answer to improving this article.

  • paternooster on January 12, 2011, 10:20 GMT

    What a lifeless and spineless article Andy, just like the aussie team at the ashes. And when you say 11 south africans from SA to get Aussie passports did you know that there were non-white players in SA as well? And when you said that the IPL ignored the good cricketers, did you mean Ricky Ponting and Michael clarke. Clarke just retired, if you know whats happening around.

  • Conrad on January 12, 2011, 10:18 GMT

    sorry mate but you are not funny, never have been funny and i'm afraid you never will be funny, this article like most of yours is just plain rubbish

  • mashood on January 12, 2011, 9:47 GMT

    "Sourav Ganguly was unavailable to comment (although he is now available for after-dinner engagements and pantomime at very reasonable rates.)" Funniest part

  • Anon on January 12, 2011, 9:12 GMT

    Actually funny.....for once.

  • kumar on January 12, 2011, 9:04 GMT

    Humourous article! I thought that IPL auction might have come for a bit more of a "coating" especially the lack of any logic in vast sums being bestowed on relatively minor cricket players. I am sure, as the world cup and the IPL season starts you will have plenty more material to poke fun at!

  • Abshar on January 12, 2011, 8:54 GMT

    The last joke was in a bad taste. England has pulverised because they have few SA born player with. They did that because Aussies have a pathetic team and worst a pathetic captain.

  • Wales.cricket on January 12, 2011, 8:38 GMT

    You are absolutely spot-on Andrew....

  • Sir_Freddie_Flintoff on January 12, 2011, 7:59 GMT

    That's now two dull articles in a row. I think you are losing your touch, Andrew.

  • Anonymous on January 12, 2011, 7:53 GMT

    not funny at all

  • farhan on January 12, 2011, 6:59 GMT

    Excellent, This line was Hilarious "Identify the 10 most promising players in South Africa and send them complimentary Australian passports". lolll

  • Omar on January 12, 2011, 6:59 GMT

    Ha

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  • Omar on January 12, 2011, 6:59 GMT

    Ha

  • farhan on January 12, 2011, 6:59 GMT

    Excellent, This line was Hilarious "Identify the 10 most promising players in South Africa and send them complimentary Australian passports". lolll

  • Anonymous on January 12, 2011, 7:53 GMT

    not funny at all

  • Sir_Freddie_Flintoff on January 12, 2011, 7:59 GMT

    That's now two dull articles in a row. I think you are losing your touch, Andrew.

  • Wales.cricket on January 12, 2011, 8:38 GMT

    You are absolutely spot-on Andrew....

  • Abshar on January 12, 2011, 8:54 GMT

    The last joke was in a bad taste. England has pulverised because they have few SA born player with. They did that because Aussies have a pathetic team and worst a pathetic captain.

  • kumar on January 12, 2011, 9:04 GMT

    Humourous article! I thought that IPL auction might have come for a bit more of a "coating" especially the lack of any logic in vast sums being bestowed on relatively minor cricket players. I am sure, as the world cup and the IPL season starts you will have plenty more material to poke fun at!

  • Anon on January 12, 2011, 9:12 GMT

    Actually funny.....for once.

  • mashood on January 12, 2011, 9:47 GMT

    "Sourav Ganguly was unavailable to comment (although he is now available for after-dinner engagements and pantomime at very reasonable rates.)" Funniest part

  • Conrad on January 12, 2011, 10:18 GMT

    sorry mate but you are not funny, never have been funny and i'm afraid you never will be funny, this article like most of yours is just plain rubbish