Leading statistician refuses to acknowledge Super Series April 11, 2006

Frindall attacks ICC's 'sheer greed'

Cricinfo staff

Bill Frindall: 'I will not be including a game bordering on the farcical in any international records that I compile' © Getty Images
Bill Frindall, the veteran statistician, has launched a savage attack on the ICC in his editorial in the 2006 edition of the Playfair Cricket Annual.

Frindall, who last year made no secret of his anger at the ICC's decision to award its own Super Series full Test and ODI status, accused the ICC of putting money before all else.

"Simple logic dictates that international records should be just that - contests between nations," he fumed. "The decision was brought about by sheer greed that demanded Test status to hook deals involving sponsors and television rights.

"Along with similar multi-national contests involving the limited-overs format, I will not be including a game bordering on the farcical in any international records that I compile."

And Frindall also lambasted the ICC over its decision to regard a game as underway from the moment the toss takes place, regardless of if it actually takes place. He accused it of "gross meddling" and of making a "crass decision" with a ruling in direct contravention to the Laws of the game.

Frindall concluded by proposing the ICC be stripped of its self-appointed right to make such decisions on international cricket and for such matters to be decided by "a committee acting as a House of Lords".

But Matthew Engel, in his Editor's Notes in the 2006 Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, disagreed with Frindall's go-it-alone attitude. "I believe it is the ICC's job to decide on the status of current cricket matches, not Wisden's," he wrote. "It does more damage to the game to have competing statistics than to have bad ones. But some statisticians have indeed rebelled, refuse to include these matches and thus insist, for instance, that Brian Lara did not break the Test run-scoring record in 2005 (as he thinks he did). That way, I feel, madness lies.

"Here, we just sigh deeply and knuckle down to deciding how to cope with all the asterisks and footnotes forced on us from on high in Dubai. But we do have the right to demand that the ICC starts acting like a proper governing body, and provides coherent, conscientious and considered decision-making. On small matters as well as big."

A spokesman for the ICC said that the matches had been accorded their status because of "a combination of factors." He explained that the views of the players had been canvassed. "The fact the best players in the world were taking part in representative matches gives it the credibilility, although there were financial reasons as well," he added. "The board weighed up the pros and cons of the decision. It wasn't done on a whim."

Engel was also critical of the ICC's meddling with the rules, in particular its introduction of Supersubs and Powerplays. "Both these silly ideas were supposed to pep up something deemed to have become tired," he wrote. "But you can't improve a bad product, and 50-over cricket has always been a dreary formula, which has grown worse with repetition."