July 2, 2011


The ICC way of economising

Andrew Hughes
A toilet made of solid gold and encrusted with gems, Hong Kong, February 24, 2005
The restroom at the ICC conference exclusively for those who believed they had won the DRS battle  © AFP


Wednesday, 29th June So farewell then, Daryl Harper. He had popularity issues, but then he wasn’t paid to be popular. He was paid to stand there and make snap decisions. When it comes to the men in white, I’m afraid I’m old-school. The umpire is always right. Of course we know that he isn’t always right, that he occasionally blinks at the wrong moment, forgets whether he counted that last no-ball and gets the laws mixed up.

But knowing this and still not whinging when you copped a shocker was etiquette worth preserving; a golden thread in cricket’s tapestry. I quite like the DRS. I enjoy the drama of the slowly unveiled replays; it’s like being a detective in the final scene of a murder mystery, discovering the identity of the miscreant (with a 2% margin for error). It’s entertainment. But I can’t quite shake the nagging feeling that the effigy-burners and the tantrum-throwers have won.

Thursday, 30th June I like to think I’m a reasonable sort of chap. And, aside from the occasional brief lapse of judgement, such as my wager on Worcestershire to win the County Championship, I’m relatively compos mentis. But I’m struggling to fathom the latest bit of ICC logic. Apparently, if we increase the number of teams in the World Cup, that means we have to decrease the number of teams in the World Twenty20.

Why should this be so? Money, according to the ICC’s Chief Executive Obfuscator. So tell us, Haroon, just how much more would it cost us if we were to have a 14-team World Cup and a 16-team World Twenty20? He can’t say. Perhaps he considers it commercially sensitive information. Perhaps he’s worried that one of the many rival international cricket organisations might be planning their own event.

We did learn elsewhere that it would cost roughly US$3million to put back the missing four teams in the World Twenty20. If only there was some way to economise to raise this sum? Maybe not having a five-day junket including a gala dinner and a council meeting at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Hong Kong’s tallest building might be a good place to start? Have you people not heard of teleconferencing?

Friday, 1st July If ever he wants to turn his life into a light opera, Chris Gayle has already written the lyrics. The statement he released today had everything. He started by claiming that he had been keeping his silence (I think he was being ironic) went a little Martin Luther King in the middle (though Chris had two dreams to the Reverend’s one), told a long and not very stirring tale of mild injustice and ended, 33 paragraphs later, by thanking the Almighty.

Now it doesn’t take a genius to see that he’s been treated unfairly. But then he’s hardly the first. If he thinks he’s had a raw deal from the WICB, he should try playing for Pakistan. Yes we all know it is very silly that he isn’t playing international cricket, but to play for West Indies is still technically a representative honour, a privilege; not a permanent contract or entitlement. Other people decide whether to pick you and sometimes they get it wrong. There are few cricketers I love watching more, but I think I’ve reached my sympathy tipping point. Enough already, Chris.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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Posted by Lorren on (September 6, 2011, 15:06 GMT)

Hey, good to find someone who argees with me. GMTA.

Posted by sarCeagreeMab on (July 24, 2011, 20:30 GMT)

Thanks For This Post, was added to my bookmarks.

Posted by Datinder on (July 14, 2011, 11:45 GMT)

Skip this one.. not very funny at all.

Posted by fleriebrise on (July 5, 2011, 0:15 GMT)

Very Interesting Blog! Thank You For Thi Blog!

Posted by Andrew Hughes on (July 3, 2011, 14:08 GMT)

Thanks all for your comments

Ven, I'm afraid it was an unintentional typo. I could claim otherwise, but I'm not sure I could get away with it.

Aditya, the point about effigy burning was a wider one, not focused purely on India. I think that those who have expressed excessive anger about umpiring decisions, whether they take to the streets with matches and dolls or post intemperate and libellous comments on the internet have often turned the heat up on this issue and hastened the end of the old way of doing things. Maybe it will turn out to be better, but I still think it is a shame that our game has changed in this way.

Posted by Aditya on (July 3, 2011, 5:46 GMT)

"But knowing this and still not whinging when you copped a shocker was etiquette worth preserving" - absolutely agree. But for all his Australian bloody-mindedness, it was a bit wimpish to retire early because of 'unfair criticism'. Umpires getting criticised in post-match ceremonies is not rare. Leaving aside anonymous comments, how unfair could the Dhoni's one-liner at the press conference be? There were no effigy-burnings for Harper, none that I heard of. It's such an offensive characterisation in any case. I don't think 99.99% people in India even know an effigy-burner. They must be that small in number. Have some perspective, Andrew.

Posted by MN on (July 2, 2011, 17:20 GMT)

A very disappointing article Andrew! Of course, except for the few lines on the ICC...

It is sad that such a fantastic talent as Gayle is going to waste because of petty, egotistic bureaucrats of the WICB, and in your view Gayle is better off since Pakistan cricket is worse?? Some logic that is...! And I am reading this and wondering what the difference is between the ICC and Andrew Hughes... both seem to have convoluted logic that is ridiculous and pitiful at the same time!

Posted by Brad on (July 2, 2011, 14:49 GMT)

"Maybe not having a five-day junket including a gala dinner and a council meeting at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Hong Kong’s tallest building might be a good place to start?" So true. I personally don't begrudge them a meeting in person, but surely it doesn't have to be at such a fancy venue! It's terrible when controlling bodies pay obscene amounts of money to hire a venue for a conference at which they announce that there are not enough finances to do x, y and z!

Posted by Sundar Isaacs on (July 2, 2011, 12:17 GMT)

"he’s been untreated fairly" - ha ha ha ha ha!!!

Posted by Ven, Ireland on (July 2, 2011, 11:35 GMT)

"Now it doesn’t take a genius to see that he’s been untreated fairly."

Is the play on words (untreated fairly / treated unfairly) deliberate or is it an unitended pun?

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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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