England May 28, 2011

The bovine tendencies of Andrew Strauss

And some radical ideas for the Big Bash, including the treble super deluxe dance Powerplay

Wednesday, 25th May Andrew Strauss answering a question reminds me of a cow processing grass. He sits there gazing listlessly into the middle distance, the words go round and round in his mouth and the end result appears to be at least partly methane-based. He has mastered the politician’s art of talking purposefully without saying anything at all. Here he is on corruption:

“My gut feeling is there is more to it than we know about.”

Immediately the listener is concerned. This feeling in your bowels, Andrew, is it a tingly kind of feeling or something more urgent? Should the ICC anti-corruption unit be hooked up to your intestinal early warning system? Could more roughage in your diet be the answer?

“It is hard for me to comment because I don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors.”

Ah, I see. He believes that some of his fellow professionals are corrupt, but he hasn’t got any evidence, beyond an enigmatic rumbling deep in the Strauss innards. It’s hard to know what to suggest: greater resources for the ACU or a couple of indigestion pills at bedtime.

Thursday, 26th May Over at Big Bash HQ, the big crazy ideas machine is operating around the clock and those edgy zeitgeisty concepts continue to pour forth. One fielder outside the circle! Super overs! Pinch-hitting 12th men! Spectators keeping any balls they catch! Yes this is exactly what the game needs; time to shake up a sport that has remained stuck in the past (2007) for far too long.

But I still think we can do better. Let’s really blue-sky the thing, push the envelope and shift that paradigm. Instead of one fielder outside the circle, how about no fielders on the field at all? Instead of a super over, why not make every over a treble super deluxe dance Powerplay! Let’s have continually rotating teams of 37 a side! Let’s auction the Man of the Match’s house to the highest bidder!

In fact let’s hire a big tent, get Mark Nicholas to compere it and import a couple of elephants. We could call it the Big Bash Big Fun Big Family Cricket Themed Circus. Roll up, roll up everyone! See Brett Lee, the World’s Blondest Man! Gasp at Keiron Pollard and his One Big Shot! Thrill at the spectacle of David Warner the Mighty Midget being fired through the air from a cannon to land safely on a pile of dollars!

Friday, 27th May The ECB are going to review county cricket’s business plan. This came as something of a surprise because I didn’t realise county cricket had a business plan. It does rather seem a generous way of describing what goes on in the shires. As I understand it, county cricket’s business plan goes like this:

1. Receive large amount of money from ECB 2. Spend said money on washed-up South Africans, hideous pavilions and top-of- the-range soap dispensers for the executive washroom. 3. Wait for more money from the ECB

Of course the ECB have some experience in this area. It wasn’t so long ago that they developed their own innovative business plan:

1. Obtain large amounts of money from reputable Texan banker 2. Spend said money on a 20-foot bronze likeness of Giles Clarke and twice-monthly goodwill visits in support of the Tahitian Cricket Association. 3. Refuse to give the money back when it turns out that it didn’t really belong to the Texan banker on the grounds that you’ve already spent it and anyway, finders keepers.

With that kind of financial foresight behind them, county cricket will soon be back on its feet. Or bankrupt.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England