March 10, 2012


The ECB's fairytale story

Andrew Hughes
Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman walk off the field at the end of the day's play, India v West Indies, 1st Test, 2nd day, Delhi, November 7, 2011
"Just rip it off like a bandage"  © AFP


Wednesday, 7th March Once upon a time there lived a poor princess. Her land was so poverty-stricken that she was forced to sell it to television for a paltry £300 million.

“Oh woe is me,” cried the princess, “How am I to compete financially with my peers? Oh how I envy Countess Lalit, who travels everywhere in a diamond-studded carriage pulled by flying unicorns!”

But one day, as she sat in the Lord’s pavilion, weeping over her spreadsheets, a heavily-tanned knight landed his helicopter on her lawn.

“I’ve got a yacht and I live in a make-believe kingdom. Will you marry me?”

“Oh yes!” said the princess, adding, “Show me the money!”

And Prince Charmless carried her off in the Ponzicopter to the magical land of Stanfordia where they lived in his giant sandcastle, entertaining themselves by throwing custard pies at people who weren’t billionaires.

But it couldn’t last for ever. One day a wicked federal agent knocked on their door and cast a magic arrest warrant. Prince Pyramid was transformed into a giant rat and ran away. His castle became a pumpkin once more and all his servants turned back into former international cricketers who swore they couldn’t remember a thing.

Yet the princess was unabashed and behaved as though nothing had happened, saying:

“I’m keeping the engagement ring and this £2.2 million and there’s nothing that anyone can do about it so there.”

And they all lived happily ever after apart from a few thousand investors and the citizens of Antigua, but let’s face it, they don’t really count.

Thursday, 8th March And just like that, Dravid has gone. He could have carried on, seeing off Sharma and Raina and Sharma and Raina’s nephews and Sharma and Raina’s nephew’s sons, batting on with indefatigable rectitude, stiffening the Indian spine long into his senior years.

Let’s face it, the timorous lumberjacks of the BCCI would never have dared to wield their axes against this mighty oak. But now that he has toppled over, he leaves a gaping hole. Which puny sapling can possibly fill it? They still haven’t found anything to put in the space where Ganguly used to stand.

It was the same when Poseidon announced his retirement. Who will regulate the tides now? Who’s going to stop the sharks from eating the mermaids? How will we get the smell of fish out of the carpet? And who’s going to tell Zeus that it might be time for him to hang up his thunderbolt?

Sachin and VVS should contemplate the experience of Mr Gatting and Mr Gooch. A pair of the finest willow-wavers England ever produced, but throughout their 1994 farewell tour they lumbered around Australia like bewildered brontosauruses who had somehow survived the Ice Age.

And 99 centuries isn’t a bad finish. Like 99.94, it has a certain numerical poignancy.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Adeel on (March 11, 2012, 6:39 GMT)

Nice ode to EBC

Posted by saczy on (March 10, 2012, 13:52 GMT)

miss u big wall of india

Posted by sachin on (March 10, 2012, 13:42 GMT)

we ll definitely miss the big wall of india

Posted by surya on (March 10, 2012, 12:30 GMT)

LOL @ the gatting and gooch reference.Wonder where you get such analogies?.;)

Posted by H.Malik on (March 10, 2012, 11:52 GMT)

What a reference to Gatting and Gooch ! was is any diffenrent some 17 years later ! But if he goes at 99 who the hell will be ready to give him a RollRoyas free offcourse and when he refuses to pay the Tax to the indian customs , His RS will be shifted to his home in Mumbai with all expenses paid by the manufacture . ( like Ferrari did it few years ago!)My dear if he was after the support , he must have hanged his bat after lifting the Worldcup in 2011 But its pure money money money nothing else and who can blame him when it comes sacks full without raising a sweet for over months if not years .... Wishfull thinking on your part that ST and VVS will follow the Rock . Indians do not know how to Go away they have to be push , barring the Rock the only exception seen at least in my 50+ years of having to read about the game of cricket.

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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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