August 15, 2012

The twin threats of stupidity and insanity

Andrew Hughes
Harbhajan Singh and Praveen Kumar strike the famous Usain Bolt victory pose, Nagpur, October 27, 2009
Reasons for getting Usain Bolt into cricket, No. 36: everyone already knows his signature celebration move  © AFP
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I can't say that cricket has gone mad; I'm not a psychiatrist. But I think it needs to talk. And possibly some stronger medication. The last week has clearly been a cry for help.

Let's start with the attempted career suicide of Mr Kevin Pietersen. A few days ago it seemed that England's most talented willow swinger was the victim of ECB bullying, and so, naturally, I was in his camp. And then we found out the real problem. KP had been thumbing derogatory messages about his captain to the opposition. After pausing for a brief face-palm interlude, I packed up my metaphorical tent and made a discreet exit.

When it comes to bad PR, Kevin is a natural in all media; a true allrounder. Whether he's speaking, tweeting or texting, he has the Dan Quayle touch: the knack of saying exactly the wrong thing to the wrong person at the wrong time. Never mind video apologies, the smartest thing he could do is to hand over his iPhone and laptop for safekeeping until the end of his international career, or next Monday, whichever comes first.

So much for the stupidity. Now for the insanity. Some marketing people in Melbourne are very excited. This in itself should be cause for concern. When marketing people are excited, you can be sure that the dignity of the human race is about to suffer another blow.

It transpires that a man renowned for running very fast in one direction (and occasionally round a bend) may be signed up to play cricket for the Melbourne Streakers in the Barbequed Bangers League. As a fan of the 20-over game, I do sometimes despair, and this is one of those times. When people say T20 is a circus, it's hard to mount a convincing defence whilst in the background the big top is being raised and the silly red noses are going on.

Why Usain Bolt? Well, he's quite famous at the moment. But then if that's the attraction, then where do you draw the line? There are any number of people who are quite famous at the moment, but do they all get to wear the sickly green? I'm sure President Assad of Syria, for one, would welcome the change of scenery. After all, everyone loves a pantomime villain. I can see him now, twirling his moustache and laughing maniacally into the helmet mike.

"So Bashar, you need 23 off the last ball, what's the plan?"

"I kill everyone. Then I refuse to leave."

"Mate, I like your fighting spirit."

It's also worth pointing out to the marketing people of Melbourne that although Mr Bolt is quite fast, he's not the fastest thing on Planet Earth. Any half-fit cheetah, antelope or gazelle could outsprint the lanky Jamaican, and even a suitably motivated ostrich would soon have Usain eating her dust. Admittedly it might take a while to explain the lbw rule to the ostrich, but hey, you pay birdseed, you get birds. And at least they don't know how to text.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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Keywords: Controversy, Social media

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Posted by Damo on (August 23, 2012, 9:34 GMT)

Mr Hughes, you are a very funny man & I'm glad you like cricket.

Posted by vinod on (August 23, 2012, 7:12 GMT)

Hilarious Andrew. Such decisions r a real dumbing down of cricket

Posted by Rohit on (August 22, 2012, 8:34 GMT)

"And at least they don’t know how to text."

But they do know how to tweet. Oh come on Andrew, you must've thought about it?

Posted by prem on (August 17, 2012, 2:36 GMT)

andrew, u r going to watch bbl more than ever aren't u.. ?? can't wait to see bolt taking on the mid-on fielder after hitting the ball straight to him and taking a single.. !! that would be some sight...

Posted by Saahil on (August 17, 2012, 0:16 GMT)

Some marketing people in Melbourne are very excited. This in itself should be cause for concern. When marketing people are excited, you can be sure that the dignity of the human race is about to suffer another blow. - Brilliance. A line like this demands I say more but I shall resist. Just, it's one of the great privelages of following this game that one gets to read your work. *Sorry, couldn't resist* :-)

Posted by Piksson on (August 16, 2012, 15:20 GMT)

Another thing crossed my mind after reading the comments. I remembered a recent interview with Bolt where he talked about his plans for retirement in jamaica. Let's just say they involved much sitting around doin nothing and spending his hard earned money. If money is the most important factor for him right now I fail to see the logic. Of course he will earn more playing cricket than being a sprinter. On the forbes 100 highest-paid athletes of 2012 list I failed to find any hurdlers, sprinters, swimmers and such. On the other hand only Dhoni made the list as a cricketer and that somewhere around No 30. If Usain wishes to capitalize on his fast legs I would advise him to consider major league baseball or football, players from both of which dominate the list. Especially in MLB extremely fast players were always popular and I think in few years he could top Teixeiras earnings easily ;) Just something to think about...

Posted by Ash on (August 16, 2012, 7:40 GMT)

To be honest, the Bolt thing is not simply a publicity stunt. He has some cricketing experience in the amateur level, and if i'm not mistaken, in a charity match once in Jamaica, if clean bowled Brian Lara for a duck. And after all, T20 is a circus, and i for once won't mind to see Bolt for more than 10 seconds on the pitch!

Posted by Morgan on (August 16, 2012, 6:38 GMT)

Love it: "When marketing people are excited, you can be sure that the dignity of the human race is about to suffer another blow. "

The whole Bolt thing is a bad joke, but actually reveals something else: T20, for all its new-found pretensions to being 'serious' cricket, remains a joke!

Posted by rajib mangal joshi on (August 16, 2012, 6:17 GMT)

Kudos to KP and UB to make sports so much more interesting... Thank you both..

Posted by Sean Thorpe on (August 16, 2012, 5:34 GMT)

I see great potential in T20, but antics of this sort may spell disaster, however the reason people take great risk is to garner great rewards and this might just prove useful. Pray however Usain does not get injured as that would not bode well.

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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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