June 30, 2012


The circus comes to town

Andrew Hughes
N Srinivasan, Treasurer of BCC
"What we want to see the other boards do is wring their hands er I mean dirty laundry some more"  © AFP


Sharad Pawar’s travelling International Cricket Circus is always a popular attraction and this week it has pitched up in Kuala Lumpur. As ever, there are plenty of clowns to keep people entertained, as well as the main show in the Big Top, featuring master of ceremonies Dave Richardson trying to persuade his well fed co-star, the Ferocious Srinivasan, to swallow the DRS system whole.

And if that’s not exciting enough, over in the Tent of Procrastination spectators have been invited to marvel at the daring high-wire concept of day-night cricket. If you haven’t seen it before, it’s well worth a look. You’ll gasp in astonishment as one administrator after another comes within a bullet point of taking the plunge before leaping to safety at the last minute

The idea of playing Test cricket in the evening has been under active investigation by the ICC’s Long Grass Committee since the day after Hitler invaded Russia, but there have been one or two problems to iron out along the way. For instance, the issue of whether it should be called Dusk Cricket or Twilight Cricket took up most of the 1990s and the last decade saw a fierce debate over whether the specially coated pink cricket ball could properly be described as fuchsia, since in a certain light it was more of a bashful cerise.

But now it’s all systems go. Almost. The various cricket boards are keen to get cracking, but Jacques Faul, stand-in big cheese at CSA, has spotted a problem. What is it, Jacques?

“I’m a little scared about the dew factor.”

I should explain. In certain locales, evening means dew, and dew, as we know, is wet. Now on the one hand, playing on a wet pitch might be a good thing. More bowler-friendly conditions means more wickets, more entertainment and more crowd satisfaction. If cricket spectators are happier, they will be more productive at their places of work, leading to an increase in global GDP, the end of the worldwide recession and the dawning of a new era of peace and prosperity.

On the other hand, cricketers don’t like to get their feet wet. Unlike association footballers, Aussie Rules players, rugby players, hurlers, Gaelic footballers, American footballers, athletes, horses, greyhounds, pigeons and primary school children at their annual sports day, our brave Test players cannot compete in the wet. At the merest hint of moisture, they stampede for safety like a herd of anxious wildebeest who have heard a rumour about a hungry cat.

It wouldn’t be entirely fair to say that this aquaphobia is all down to the players. Cricket politics is also to blame and by cricket politics, of course, we mean India. The BCCI are against the idea of playing in the wet because the muddier the trousers, the longer they take to clean and they resent having to pay everyone else’s laundry bills, particularly since the new DRS brand of washing powder that everyone uses is not 100% successful at removing stubborn stains, even at higher temperatures.

“I wash my dirty linen with a stone and a bucket of water,” said Mr Srinivasan. “That’s the way it’s been for decades and if it’s good enough for me, it’s good enough for Tony Greig.”

There is some good news though. It is hoped that the hot air generated by ICC meetings about saving five-day cricket can be harnessed and used to power the automatic hand dryers in the lavatories of all Test venues. This means that from now on, Test match spectators will be able to take a comfort break safe in the knowledge that they will no longer have to endure the misery of temporarily damp palms as they return to their seats in the deserted stands.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Siddharth sharma on (July 17, 2012, 14:09 GMT)

Mr. Hughes you are in a lot of ways responsible for waking up my sarcastic self at work. The problem persists without a plausible cure since your posts are just too difficult to ignore. You should be a motivational speaker haha. Great work I am one of your many fans and have created lot of your followers .

Posted by Sagir Parkar on (July 2, 2012, 16:52 GMT)

not sure about others, but i always enjoy reading Andrew's articles here.. he has a level of consistency that only Zaltzman and Satish Acharya (the cartoonist) have shown.. his satire and sens of comedy is superb.. and even though i am an Indian, i never take offence for what Andrew says because he calls a spade a spade.. no shame in telling (and hearing) the truth...

live long and prosper Andrew !

Posted by tonyp on (July 2, 2012, 3:14 GMT)

For what it's worth, I thought it was hilarious. I spend days eagerly awaiting the next Hughes offering and they never fail to exceed expectations.

Posted by Praxis on (July 1, 2012, 10:23 GMT)

Okay, anyone else find this new ball color pink or fuchsia to be a bit unusual for a game like cricket? All these T20 franchises are already temporarily blinding us with those hideous colors of their costumes. A pink ball may open the doors for more ridicules from others.

Posted by Jerome on (July 1, 2012, 2:31 GMT)

Top stuff as usual Mr. Hughes! The line about the stone and bucket of water is a brillant metaphor about India's attitude to DRS. If only cricket fans could get to hear urself and Mr. Zaltzmann doing commentary, I'm afraid u guys might provide more entertainment than the actual cricket. Particularly if Trott and Cook are "batting".

Posted by Luke on (July 1, 2012, 0:56 GMT)

@Charlie - Yes. He. Is.

Posted by Andrew Hughes on (June 30, 2012, 21:16 GMT)

Thanks for your contribution Charlie. I always admire those who are brave enough to advance an unfashionable idea in public, even if they do so by telegram.

Posted by ameya on (June 30, 2012, 19:00 GMT)

Andrew, you're a bit like Pakistan. Sublime on some days, and terrible on others. Today wasn't sublime.

Posted by KK on (June 30, 2012, 14:29 GMT)

You are pathetic at this. This is one of the most sarcastic and sad-dist article i have come across.

Posted by amit on (June 30, 2012, 12:44 GMT)

this article is a lesson in insanity.

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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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