March 29, 2011

New Zealand are the new Australia

What’s with all the mental disintegration

Saturday, 26th March Simon Doull, though he was loving most of what transpired in Dhaka, was not loving the intervention of Mr Kyle Mills. His goading of Faf du Plessis breached another of those codes that cricketers make up as they go along. Doully reckons its okay for blokes in the middle to sledge, but as the Victorians used to say, gentlemen who come onto the field of play wearing coloured bibs should be seen and not heard. Even though I’ve never heard of this rule before, I kind of agree with him.

But Nathan Astle doesn’t.

“It was a great move to get in the South Africans’ faces because they don’t like it.”

And why, exactly, was it great? It isn’t that hard to find things the South Africans don’t like. I’m sure they wouldn’t like being slapped with a four-foot haddock or having a barrel full of cold custard tipped over their heads or discovering that someone has set fire to their bootlaces. I dare say if Kyle Mills were in my face, I’d be none too pleased either, particularly if I were trying to eat a boiled egg or brush my teeth. If annoying people is now to be considered an achievement then it surely can’t be long before we are toasting Sir Graeme Swann or Lord Nicholas of Outtahere.

Anyway, this wasn’t a subtle piece of match-changing mental disintegration. It was one little boy going up to another little boy and saying, “Na-na na-na na na! We’re going to wi-in!” Why does this matter? Well, it matters to those many cricket lovers who traditionally at this stage of a World Cup turn to supporting those nice, plucky boys from New Zealand. If they’re going to go all Australian on us, we may decide to take our fair-weather armchair-bound support elsewhere.

Monday, 28th March Julian Hunte has been re-elected as president of the WICB for the third time, which is quite an achievement. However, aside from the clear savings in headed notepaper and door signage that his re-election will bring, it is not entirely clear that this result is a good thing. Far be it from me to doubt the wisdom of the WICB electorate, but a cynic might politely suggest that his first two terms were not exactly over-stocked in the success department. But El Presidente is having none of it:

"Thus far, this board has had significant progress in revitalising West Indies A Team programmes, women's cricket, Caribbean Twenty20 and the Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket to ensure that our cricket is strong again at all levels."

Well, not quite all levels. There is the small matter of the premature World Cup exit and then the inconvenient trivialities of the all-time low ranking of the Test, one-day international and Twenty20 Teams. But hey, let’s not dwell on all that unpleasantness. Perhaps he has a plan. Maybe he intends to fast-track some of the more promising ten-year-olds from the Kiddy Cricket programme directly into the Test team. Who knows, one of them might even be worth a look as captain.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England