July 27, 2011

What’s the frequency, Haroon?

Andrew Hughes
VMichale Vaughan has his turn at holding woolly WG Grace, World Cup 2011, Chennai, March 17, 2011
Wake up Ravi Shastri, there’s a new screamer in town  © Andy Zaltzman
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Saturday, 23rd July Steve Waugh says that 56 players have come forward to report approaches by bookmakers in the last year, compared with five for the previous year.

“That suggest the players have confidence in the system and confidence it will work.”

Absolutely. Or it might suggest that what happened to Salman Butt and chums has put the wind up every player in the game and they’re not leaving anything to chance. But let’s not be uncharitable. The important thing is that they are coming forward.

Haroon Lorgat agrees. But he didn’t get to be where he is today without finding something trivial to disagree about. He doesn’t know where Steve has got the figure of 56 players from. So what’s the real figure, Haroon?

"There's one individual in the Anti-Corruption and Security Unit that maintains such records and he does not even know the figure himself, simply because he had not compiled it.”

Hang on. If you don’t know what the figure is, how do you know it isn’t 56? And more to the point, why don’t you know the figure? What kind of spreadsheets are you using at ICC Towers? Is your chap in the Anti-Corruption and Security Unit not trained to use a calculator?

So until Haroon sorts it out, let’s all join in and play ICC Corruption Bingo. Steve’s already bagged 56, so I’m going to go for 42. Pick a number, and if you guess right, you’ll win a leather jacket, a brown envelope and the phone number of a good lawyer.

Monday, 25th July Something terrible has happened to Test Match Special. I’d heard it was poorly, but dear me, I wasn’t quite expecting this. Jonathan Agnew has gone all grumpy; Geoffrey Boycott’s monologues sound like a recording of Churchill’s speeches played too slowly through a dodgy speaker: you know that what he’s saying is quite important but it still makes you want to chew your own ears off; and Phil Tufnell appears to have only the vaguest idea what is going on at any given moment.

And then there’s Michael Vaughan. Listening to him is like having an audio feed from the England dressing room. He has two modes of broadcasting. He’s either telling you what he did at the weekend or he’s giving you his England team talk, in which the phrase “the boys” appears distressingly often. The nadir of his contribution was when Tendulkar was dismissed and he screamed “Yeeeessssss!” into the microphone so loud I could swear I felt his spittle in my ear.

Tuesday, 26th July There are many approaches to picking a cricket team. Here in Blighty, due to European Union Human Rights Regulations, the paperwork involved in dropping anyone from the England team is so onerous*, it is easier to just cut and paste the same XI from the game before. Indeed, the only chance a player has of breaking into the team is if one of the incumbents retires, resigns or has an affair with the prime minister.

But they do things differently in Australia, where Andrew Hilditch is known to favour the Lucky Dip approach. Before each series, he reaches into his Bag Of Unlikely Candidates and pulls out something unexpected. This time it’s another new spinner, Nathan Lyon. I’ve never heard of him, and to be honest, there’s probably only a 50-50 chance that Digger has heard of him either, but then that’s the thrill of the Lucky Dip!

* For example, I believe the Deselection Trauma Counselling Referral form (known as the “Hick 1A”) runs to 17 pages and has to be countersigned by the chairman of selectors, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the player’s mother.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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Keywords: Commentary

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Posted by Arun on (July 28, 2011, 5:50 GMT)

Agree 100% with IG. We have reached a stage in India where we can predict when Sunny G is going to blow his fuse for 'batsman plonking his bat in rather than dragging it'. Or surmising on the ball 'being a half-volley alright but it still has to be put away'. Or when R Shastri is going to know that the batsman 'knows exactly what he is doing'. Ganguly and Nasser Hussain have been the saving grace.

Posted by Kaustubh on (July 28, 2011, 4:06 GMT)

IG has got it completely right about Indian commentators, they're far worse than English ones. Shastri is the Emperor of the Obvious & he says with so much seriousness as if describing a diplomatic debate.Gavaskar is criminally India-biased. Problem is, they have confused loving Indian cricket with patriotism. So the harp never stops. Bhogle is probably one-eyed amongst the blind. Any idea where are Michael Holding, Ian Botham & Bob Willis?

Posted by gav on (July 28, 2011, 1:46 GMT)

If you think TMS is poor, you should come over to Australia and listen to the tripe that regularly comes out of the mouths of Michael Slater and Ian Healy

Posted by Anubhav on (July 27, 2011, 22:39 GMT)

While IG's comment may be true, one has to also look at the way English commentators look upon India. They with their fith or sixth ranked team feel that they are world champions. With their english accent they feel that only they have the license to commentate. In any case, Cricket has become India centered sport and it reflects on commentators as well. That is why I find David LLoyd's commentary really hilarious considering his lack of knowledge of Indian Cricket. Whereas Boycott always appears to me like hard on India type of man but he is accurate in his analysis and predictions more than often....Well i would say its a matter of choice....

Posted by Ajju on (July 27, 2011, 16:53 GMT)

Great!

Posted by Sarwar on (July 27, 2011, 16:38 GMT)

WOW / he screamed “Yeeeessssss!” into the microphone so loud I could swear I felt his spittle in my ear.

Posted by sagir parkar on (July 27, 2011, 12:28 GMT)

hi.. i agree on the TMS bit.. i often listen to BBC Radio for the TMS coverage.. and since they have got Tuffnell and Vaughan in their ranks, i believe that the quality has reduced.. Agnew, CMJ and Blofeld are still top class.. and when you listen to them you can actually visualise what is going on the field of play.. but with Tuffnell and Vaughan, it sadly isnt the case.. they are either agreeing too much or busy telling anecdotes.. Blofeld recently had to cut Vaughan off midway because he was enjoying telling some story about being at a dinner than describing the action on the field... shame really.. these two should be on TV rather than radio... atleast i can mute the sound and watch the game.

Posted by Steve Fernandes on (July 27, 2011, 12:06 GMT)

nice one! keep them coming.

Posted by IG on (July 27, 2011, 9:05 GMT)

Sometimes I wonder if Haroon Lorgat is related to Izzy Butt. Well its more likely that he's related to Sharad Pawar. Andrew, you're lucky you don't have the misfortune of listening to the commentary of the broadcaster in India (with a nauseating and jingoistic India bias) - Star Cricket (ESPNStar). With Bhogle suffering from verbal diarrhea, Shastri rolling out pointless clichès, Gavaskar forcing everyone to believe that only India is playing and the other team doesn't really exist. Add to it Alan Wilkin's poor attempt at being Mark Nicholas (with another India-bias I might add),and Wasim Akram's - "I love India mish-mash"...man it's a nightmare. Thankfully Hussain and Bumble get in sometimes, and Ganguly, refreshingly talks about what fields and attacks might work against which Indian batters, instead of praising them pointlessly. Believe me, you have it very very easy.

Posted by Sujith on (July 27, 2011, 8:30 GMT)

42, eh? Touch of Douglas Adams there....

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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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