The more things change...

...the more the ECB reminds you of the days when the sun never set on the MCC

Andrew Hughes

Comments: 3 | Text size: A | A

As the chaps at the ECB flap about like a flock of well-fed puffins whose cosy perch on the cliff face has been disturbed by the arrival of a puffin-eating cliff-climbing Antarctic snow kangaroo, we should remember that English cricket is usually like this.

The ECB masquerades as a thrusting, dynamic executive that has swept away the embarrassing relics of a time when the sun never set on the MCC. All those public-school educated men in red-and-yellow ties have been elbowed off the stage, to be replaced by slightly less well-educated men in designer ties.

Yet as the saying goes, you can take English cricket out of the MCC, but you can't take the MCC out of English cricket. In fact there's something reassuringly 20th century about recent goings-on: bizarre autocratic decisions, thinly disguised personal vendettas, a patrician's refusal to communicate, and a certain unmistakable whiff of panic, as unsettling as a hint of brandy on the breath of the relative who was supposed to be driving you home.

Declaring that everything was perfectly fine and that Andy Flower could carry on until the next Ice Age was the kind of bluff, pull-yourself-together optimism that at one time would have been delivered to the press by a red-faced retired colonel or Ted Dexter.

Having thus guaranteed his future, they promptly sacked him before he had had a chance to clear his throat at the ECB's emergency "So What Do We Do Now?" meeting; a tactic so ruthless it might have had Douglas Jardine muttering, "I say, old boy, that's a bit thick."

And now it seems that Kevin Pietersen can't be selected ever again, for reasons that are not immediately apparent. Telling the new coach that he can't pick the country's best player is like a general asking for people to volunteer for a dangerous mission, congratulating the man who steps forward, then shooting him in the foot with a revolver.

It reminds me of the parable of the toy gun. Many (many) years ago when I was young, I was visiting a friend during the summer holidays. Upon my arrival, his mother welcomed me to the house with the traditional courtesies, but then informed me that although I was at liberty to play with any of the toys therein, I couldn't, under any circumstances, touch the Interstellar KP Blaster Ray.

"Why not?"

"Because you can't."

"Is it broken?"


"Is it made of toxic materials that make it too dangerous to handle?"

"No, that would have legal implications and I'm not saying that."

"So you mean that the gun is so difficult to use, it's not worth playing with?"

"No, apart from a couple of incidents, we've had no problems with the gun."

"Are you worried that we might fall out over it, thus spoiling our harmonious team atmosphere?"

"No, and don't overstretch the analogy."

"So why can't we play with it?"

"Because I said so."

So denied access to the Interstellar KP Blaster Ray, we had to make do by pointing our fingers at each other and making "Kapow!" sounds. This was possibly better for our imaginations, but not for our morale, because whenever we went outside, we were routinely blasted to smithereens by the other, ray-gun equipped children, particularly little Micky Clarke and his friend with the stick-on moustache.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England. He tweets here

Tell us what you think. Send us your feedback

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Comments: 3 
Posted by WoundedSplinter on (February 8, 2014, 21:58 GMT)

We should indeed remember this: the ECB, and before them the MCC, were ever thus.

Drop the Suits; kill the Kill-Joys; bring back cricket as entertainment.

Is that too much to ask?

Posted by Biggus on (February 8, 2014, 12:57 GMT)

On a day when the ICC sold it's soul to the Devil I needed a laugh. Thanks for that Andrew.

Posted by Rawal on (February 8, 2014, 8:37 GMT)

That revolver bit was the funniest!

Comments have now been closed for this article

Email this page to a friend Email Feedback Feedback Print Print
RSS FeedAll
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

All Articles »

  • How to wind up cricket's purists
    The Long Handle: Just ask the ECB's new helmsman
  • The Sri Lankan party at the MCG
    Fan Following: The Dilshan-Sangakkara show, Rangana Herath's athleticism, the papare bands and the obstacle-course race during the mid-innings lit up the Bangladesh-Sri Lanka game at the MCG
  • Backing Green at the Gabba
    Fan Following: The match between Ireland and the UAE was the first final-over thriller of the World Cup and it was littered with great moments like the bail fail and the antics of Larry the Leprechaun
  • Don't support your national team
    The Long Handle: It will only cause your blood pressure to rise
  • 'Your captain's Irish'
    Fan Following: It might have been a bit of a no-contest but the fun fans and excellent weather made up for it
  • NZ's Rottweiler bite
    Simon Barnes: Their hyper-aggressive ways have got them success in the World Cup so far. But is the method as sustainable as it is eye-catching?
  • Soumya Sarkar's shot in the dark
    Christian Ryan: The long-lasting memory of a young batsman we have never seen before is of that one brilliant shot announcing his arrival
  • The vices and virtues of Misbah
    Ahmer Naqvi: The debate about whether Misbah-ul-Haq is holding Pakistan back or holding them together is obscuring the team's real problems
  • 'The best game of bad cricket'
    Two Men Out: Jarrod Kimber and Andy Zaltzman on the madness at Eden Park, and the ICC celebrating UAE's pasting
  • White Nights, grey skies, and a Gayle shower
    Firdose Moonda returns to familiar surroundings and learns that you need to pack mittens, even for the NZ summer
Andrew HughesClose
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
  • ESPN
  • ESPNF1
  • Scrum
  • Soccernet