July 11, 2002

As a critic once said: 'You cannot be serious!'

Sorry FICA, but your awards and allocation of places on the International Hall of Fame have to be taken with a hefty helping of cynicism.

And yes, it is a pure case of Kiwi whingeing.

You award Australian openers Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer the place in history award for four double century opening partnerships.

Yet your assessors conveniently forget that Mr Langer was given not out leg before wicket in the second of those opening stands before he had scored a run. A decision for which, now elite panel umpire, Daryl Harper apologised for getting wrong.

And yes, you did overlook New Zealander Nathan Astle in the same category.

That's the same Nathan Astle who scored 222 to obliterate the world record set by your international player of the year Adam Gilchrist a few weeks earlier.

We're talking about breaking a record by 59 balls here, not something insignificant.

And that innings had an effect on the rest of the series because England were not prepared to let him loose on a reasonable fourth innings target in the second Test. That, of course, rebounded on them when New Zealand won the third Test to tie the series, with the aforementioned Astle playing two key roles, in batting and bowling.

While we're on about it, what more had Astle to do during the year not to be in the running for the international player of the year.

Notwithstanding his world record there were other factors.

Astle helped ensure New Zealand tied their home Test series with England by scoring vital runs on the dramatic fourth evening in the third Test, before producing a sustained bowling spell to create havoc in the England batting on the last day of the game.

His feat in securing his 12th century in One-Day Internationals ensured New Zealand beat England in a one-day series.

Then, of course, there was Astle's share of the four New Zealand centuries scored at Perth in the third Test of the series in which New Zealand was only denied victory by more umpiring controversy.

You appointed former England captain Mike Atherton to your Hall of Fame. Nice chap, fine batsman, but worthy of a place ahead of many other claimants?

Sorry again. Must disagree.

First up, where, for goodness sake is Victor Trumper? Atherton v Trumper.

Sorry, can't agree.

Then there's Doug Walters. Atherton v Walters.

Nah, sorry, doesn't add up.

What must poor old Mark Taylor be thinking. How many times did Taylor preside over Atherton's demise?

You've got it wrong chaps.

And just to make a point for a Kiwi.

I wonder if your assessors bothered to contact some of the players on your list still alive whether they might say Bert Sutcliffe might warrant inclusion on that list. If it came down to a choice between Sutcliffe and Atherton, the outcome of a vote would be interesting.

But no comparison as far as we are concerned.

While we are at, and to show how magnanimous New Zealanders can be, a certain fellow by the name of Clarrie Grimmett doesn't seem to appear on your list.

Yes I know, it is more Kiwi whingeing, after all he was born in New Zealand. But I do think our Australian friends might feel a degree of empathy with us on this point.

Or for that matter, were Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding and Courtney Walsh all really that much better than Wes Hall?

Dear old Alan Davidson must also wonder when his name is going to be called up.

Would it be too much to expect that these players mentioned might make it before Alec Stewart is ushered in? Or is that my cynicism getting the better of me?

But then for a list which reveals 23 Englishmen, 14 West Indians, 11 Australians, three Indians, Pakistanis and South Africans and one New Zealander, you would have to think that England had dominated world cricket.

Cynicism would seem acceptable on that count.

Do you really think your list truly reflects the history of the game?

That is what a Hall of Fame should do.

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