July 30, 2011


Why Dhoni was let off

Andrew Hughes
Brad Haddin arrives for the launch of the Big Bash League, Sydney, July 27, 2011
Brad Haddin emerges from the BBL's revolutionary dugout  © Getty Images


Wednesday, 27th July At Lord’s India went about their business with all the urgency of a party of elderly tortoises going for a Sunday afternoon stroll. But this does not mean that captain MS Dhoni is grounded for the second Test. The ICC’s Procrastination Committee has adjudicated and today released this statement explaining why he can come out to play in Nottingham after all:

"The committee felt that, on mature reflection, taking a rounded view, having weighed up the pros and cons, and without wishing to undermine or undercut those regulatory guidelines without which the administration of such eventualities would be rendered inviable, not to say untenable, it was nevertheless felt that, giving due regard to the wider implications of the application of the regulations in any particular case and weighing the balance of probabilities in such a way as to not detrimentally affect matters of public perception falling necessarily outside the purview of this body…"

(continues for 17 pages)

I think that’s pretty clear. So let the fate of MS be a lesson to all captains. Bowl your overs more quickly or you’ll be banned. *

Thursday, 28th July You might think that the Big Bash League is the competition that time forgot. Twenty20? Franchises? Really? That is so 2008.

But you’d be wrong. The BBL is in fact dangerously relevant and ever so edgy. We know this because none of the attendees at today’s launch were allowed to wear ties and it doesn’t get much more dangerous than that, unless perhaps they weren’t allowed to wear trousers either. Maybe they can save that for the relaunch.

Anyway, the BBL is, in the words of a man with a podium, “a sports entertainment revolution”. And where better to launch a sports entertainment revolution than in what appeared to be a derelict fish packing plant in downtown Sydney. Instead of sorting and wrapping frozen sea food, they were processing hyperbole and packaging nonsense. In a really zeitgeisty way. With breakdancing. And dips.

At one point pre-recorded versions of the captains were projected against a wall and took turns to mutter vaguely about how their team were really tough and everyone had better watch out and mumble mumble mumble. But my favourite BBL launch moment was the opening question put to Michael Klinger, the new captain of the Adelaide Strikers; a line of enquiry which I think may represent a revolution in sports interviewing:

“Blue looks really good on you. How are you liking the newly released logo?”

If any readers are concerned, don’t worry. Turns out he was liking it just fine.

Friday, 29th July Cameron White was today at a loss to explain Australia’s selection policy. It’s not his fault. Australia’s selection policy is a riddle wrapped in an enigma shrouded in a mystery and stored in the pouch of the purple kangaroo who lives in the tangerine forests of Andrew Hilditch’s subconscious. When they’ve finished locating the Higgs boson particle, scientists at CERN are planning to put Australia’s selection policy into the Large Hadron Collider and whizz it round a few times to see if it makes sense.

Where once Australian cricket was a pyramid, up which aspiring players had to clamber, it’s now more of an open cast quarry around which the selectors wander, picking up anything that looks as though it might be useful. Hilditch and chums are like the peasants who inhabited Rome in the Dark Ages, gazing at the monumental ruins of what used to be without the first idea of how to set about rebuilding things.

But while they’re hanging around waiting for the Renaissance, there are a couple of things they could try to improve the situation.

1. Recall Brendon Nash from Jamaica because obviously the WICB don’t want him 2. Set up recruitment centres in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town 3. Resign.

* Unless you’re very famous, popular or photogenic, in which case, certain exemptions may apply.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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Posted by PlayDumb on (July 31, 2011, 6:01 GMT)

a big reason i just love modern "sports entertainment revolution" is they result in write-ups like these. Fantastic! the photo, and caption, are so apt...

Posted by gokul on (July 31, 2011, 5:17 GMT)

I LOVE SACHIN.......................................................

Posted by Sai on (July 31, 2011, 0:53 GMT)

"it’s now more of an open cast quarry around which the selectors wander, picking up anything that looks as though it might be useful" That nailed it! Australian cricket is in serious trouble now, especially in the longer version and the selectors instead of concentrating on it are attracted to the awe of BBL snack cricket instead of a full course meal!

Posted by John Rutherford on (July 30, 2011, 22:19 GMT)

Sir Humphrey would be proud!!!!! Pure "Yes Minister"

Posted by Terry on (July 30, 2011, 14:34 GMT)

Hilditch and his fellow selectors remind me of those Japanese soldiers left on Pacific Islands after WW 2 who were found years after the war was over. They had no idea of what was really happening, thought some miracle could happen, and refused to believe their presence was an embarrassment to all who wanted to move on.

Posted by TD_160 on (July 30, 2011, 13:40 GMT)

Brilliant! Some of your best work yet.

Posted by arvin on (July 30, 2011, 12:35 GMT)

dhoni made a mockery of test cricket by bowling and icc made a mockery of itself by not punishing him for its own selfish interset...

Posted by Linus Fernandes on (July 30, 2011, 12:32 GMT)

Are the Australian selectors taking their cue from their counterparts in India and Sri Lanka?

Posted by Trumper Lives on (July 30, 2011, 12:14 GMT)

Andrew, how can you seriously call yourself a "writer"?Cardus would be ashamed.

Posted by bhavin on (July 30, 2011, 9:39 GMT)

last 3 conditions are amazing!!!

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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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