June 29, 2011

I heart administration

The action over in Hong Kong has been breathless, keeping your diarist on the edge of his seat

Saturday, 25th June In my experience it’s better to have one really good excuse, than two and a half iffy ones. For example, if you’re trying to get out of a particularly boring social occasion by claiming that your hamster has died, there’s no need to add that your budgerigar has wing rot and that you think your conservatory might be on fire. As Hercule Poirot might put it, one alibi c’est bon, three alibis is the coincidence most suspicious.

Well I’m afraid that Niranjan Shah was guilty of over-egging the excuse pudding today as he attempted to explain why he doesn’t like the DRS. As I understand it, the BCCI’s argument goes like this:

1. DRS is far too expensive and we can’t afford it. 2. And even if we could afford it, think about the poor Sri Lankans and West Indians. 3. Well yes, they all want it, but they don’t know what’s good for them. 4. Besides, it’s not accurate. 5. And even the bits that are accurate are only used a few times each innings. It would be much better if it was used all the time. 6. Not that you could use it all the time, because that would slow the game down. 7. Anyway, it undermines the umpires. 8. And that’s our job.

Sunday, 26th June I’m pleased to report that the outbreak of success in England’s limited-overs cricket has been contained. Yesterday’s effort at Bristol conclusively proved that the previous captain had been the problem all along and that the recent Collingwoodectomy has enabled a full recovery from the symptoms of disorientation and confusion associated with unexpected and repeated victory.

Monday, 27th June Never mind Glastonbury, Wimbledon and Ascot. In the Hughes household, there is no doubt about the biggest event of the summer. It’s the ICC annual conference. You’ll find more interesting cricket-related activity in five minutes there than in the entirety of the England v Sri Lanka series. I’ve got my “ICCAC ’11” t-shirt, my “Haroon Lorgat Rocks” mug, and I’ve been tuning in to ICCTV every morning.

It’s been a thriller of non-stop administration. One minute there’s a preliminary committee hearing on the feasibility of amending the bat-handle length regulations, and then before you know it, it’s straight over to live coverage of the afternoon biscuit break. Then there’s the highlights show, presented by Mark Nicholas and Henry Kissinger, featuring all the best bits of the day’s bureaucratic bonanza.

But inevitably the temptation to tinker with 50-over cricket has been irresistible and they’ve fiddled about with the Powerplay. I’m not entirely sure what they’ve done; in fact, to be honest, I’ve never really understood the Powerplay. It’s a little embarrassing, but there it is. It hasn’t been too much of a handicap socially because most of the people I talk to don’t really understand it either.

Why the tinkering? It's part of the ICC’s unhealthy obsession with tarting up the middle bit of one-day internationals, which is a bit of a mystery, considering people still turn up to these matches in their thousands. Instead of fretting about a few dull minutes in a 50-over game, how about coming up with ways to enliven the desolate wilderness of tedium that is days two to four (inclusive) of the average modern Test match?

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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