March 3, 2012

New Zealand

The Jesse and Doug show

Andrew Hughes
Danny Morrison catches some much deserved shut eye
The restful, dreamless sleep one gets after craving pardon for crimes against auditory massacre  © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
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Thursday, 1st March Due to the recent spate of naughtiness, the ECB have arranged an amnesty for players to report corruption. During this time, they will be able to hand over any brown envelopes, bundles of cash or leather jackets they might have about their person and ‘fess up to anything even remotely dodgy that they might have seen, heard, dreamt about or vaguely remembered from an early episode of Starsky and Hutch.

Now, an amnesty is a lovely thing, the nearest that non-Catholics will get to confession. After a brief admission of wrongdoing, your conscience is wiped clean and off you go, whistling into the sunshine, a better person. A similar amnesty was recently tried in the Houses of Parliament although it had to be abandoned after half an hour as the staff taking the details ran out of notepaper.

But I’m certain cricket can make more use of amnesties. Ahead of the IPL, guilty-looking microphone botherers could, from behind a curtain of anonymity, perhaps with their words voiced by an actor, admit to offences relating to Row Z, blimps, tracer bullets and Indian mobile phone companies. We’ve tackled the dodgy players, now let’s root out the oral terrorism that is ruining our beautiful game.

Friday, 2nd March The outlaw Jesse Ryder and his chum Doug have been suspended by New Zealand Cricket for insulting a patron in a hotel bar, though I suspect that “patron” in this case is journalese for “inebriated bystander” or “nearby loudmouth”. We don’t know much about the individual concerned, but we do read that he was “taunting” the off-duty pair, which gives us a clue as to his character.

You or I, upon seeing a brace of international cricketers may remark to our friends, “Oh look, there’s Thingy and Whatsit. You know, Thingy, who used to play for Bangalore.” And there it would end, apart perhaps for an observation that he’s a lot shorter/thinner/balder than he looks on television. But I wonder what special neurological quirk leads an individual to think, “Oh look, there’s Thingy and Whatsit. I must come up with something scatological to shout at them.”

Of course, there is a time and a place for taunting, but that time and place is usually on the eve of a battle at which axes, clubs and sharpened throwing implements are the fashionable weapons of choice. The French are particularly good at this sort of thing, as shown in that Monty Python film, which leads me to wonder whether the taunter was in fact a John Cleese fan in a medieval costume:

“I laugh in your general direction, you frequently injured allrounder. Your mother was a hippopotamus and your father couldn’t land a ball on the cut strip, you rotund beige-wearing person!”

Or perhaps not. We can’t be sure what the taunter said, but I’m assuming that it didn’t come from Oscar Wilde’s Big Book of Bar Room Insults and was the usual witless rubbish. So essentially, this is a re-run of the Kohli Incident with the mitigating circumstances that R&B weren’t even on duty. Yes, cricketers should behave themselves, but why should they be held to a different standard to the rest of us?

And why do cricket boards come over all prissy about confrontations that hardly anyone sees whilst being completely relaxed about the on-field petulance, personal abuse and general acting out that has become the norm in international cricket and is regularly witnessed by millions, or in New Zealand’s case, dozens?

No, New Zealand Cricket have got this wrong and it isn’t the first time they’ve messed up. I mean, Black Caps? Really? It sounds like a dental fitting or a tedious species of small wading bird. In fact, while we’re at it, NZC, your organisation is over-staffed, your logo looks like a chimpanzee’s doodle and your corporate strategy is deficient in key areas, you lazily assembled collection of consonants! I flick my ink pen in your direction, you hairy-fingered so-called administrators…*

* Have fun coming up with your own NZC taunts, since they aren’t allowed to answer back.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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Posted by Jerome on (March 6, 2012, 5:14 GMT)

"general acting out that has become the norm in international cricket and is regularly witnessed by millions, or in New Zealand’s case, dozens"

ROFL!!! This cracked me up! Mr. Hughes, you and Mr. Zaltzman make Page 2!! If only there was some way we could get both of you guys doing cricket commentary....there wouldn't be a dull moment there.

Posted by A.N. Other on (March 4, 2012, 19:30 GMT)

'A similar amnesty was recently tried in the Houses of Parliament although it had to be abandoned after half an hour as the staff taking the details ran out of notepaper.' - Hilarious, although Sir Humphrey Appleby must have noted the politicians are getting an abnormal taste for luxuries...

Posted by Anonymous on (March 4, 2012, 4:30 GMT)

Ryder had given his word he wouldn't drink to NZC, no matter what happened, this promise was broken. Such a waste of talent, especially since he's now getting younger members of the team involved. I mean really? Shots?

Posted by brian meynell on (March 4, 2012, 0:20 GMT)

yeah the name BlackCaps is a joke. our NZ sports teams seem intent on nameing everything black. we`ve got black socks,ferns,sticks,caps. pity we don`t spend more time performing than mucking around with silly names

Posted by steve Wilson on (March 3, 2012, 23:21 GMT)

We are very accommodating, like to welcome teams in with familiar ground conditions, and love to play the underdog- so knee capping our chances along the way, this all stems from the Indian tour of 2004 i think, when we embarassingly slaughtered them 5-0 in the ODI series, and have been apologising ever since. Roll on the test series, at least we have Marto & Dan

Posted by Evan James on (March 3, 2012, 9:56 GMT)

And talking about New Zealand Cricket, why is it ordering the groundsmen to prepare wickets for the South Africans to feel right at home on but are completely foreign to its own bowlers and batsmen. I can't really imagine the Aussies welcoming the English for an Ashes series, and asking "How would you like us to prepare the wickets?"

Posted by solomon Law on (March 3, 2012, 9:14 GMT)

To clarify, the duo were suspended for going out drinking whilst injured (and just after another embarressing loss for the team) which was a breach of the teams code of conduct which is agreed apon by all players. Nz cricket actually defended the players response to the so called drunks (who were only identified as such by the offending players themselves). A tip for the boys, dont have shots in a bar after an embarressing series loss and you wont be heckled by drunks or otherwise.

Posted by faisal on (March 3, 2012, 8:50 GMT)

lol, the funniest thing I've read anywhere for a long time

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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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