ICC Super Series / News

Paper Round - Australia v World XI, Super Series

It's official - it was a Super Farce

Martin Williamson

October 17, 2005

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As the dust settles on the Super Series, the world's media have had a chance to assess what has gone on. And by and large, their assessment won't go down too well in the hallowed halls of the ICC HQ in Dubai. After all, even the tournament's official website wrote that the Super Test became a "Super Farce" - but this was the same site that steadfastly referred to Muttiah Muralidaran and Nathan Wade (Nathan Bracken to his close family) throughout.

In the Daily Telegraph, Simon Briggs wasted no time in slamming what he saw as little more than a money-making exercise. "The original theory was that the Super Series could run alongside the World Cup (quadrennial) and Champions Trophy (biennial), so filling in the one year in every cycle that does not feature an ICC cash cow. But as the scale of the World XI's latest defeat sank in, ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed did everything he could to distance himself from this pledge. "There is no commitment to play every four years," he said last night. As the ICC are reluctant to let a single year go past without a money-making opportunity, the latest theory is that the Super Series will be replaced by a 'Grand Final', in which the top two teams in the Test and one-day rankings play off in a pair of winner-takes-all contests."

Gideon Haigh in the Guardian continued the theme. "The ICC's decision making looks as though it might bear some scrutiny, too. Speed reminded everyone yesterday that the Super Series had been "profitable" for member nations, and that he was "very happy with the things under our control", even though he "shared the disappointment" of the World XI players. Disappointment, however, will not do: Super Series Returns will need to leap a big credibility gap in a single bound."

Some solace came from Peter Roebuck in the Independent. "No harm has been done, though," he wrote. "No one can be blamed for trying something. Much the same applies to the referring of appeals. Nothing ventured, nothing gained."

But Roebuck's views were not shared by too many others in Australia. In the Sydney Morning Herald, Will Swanton was less than welcoming. "Waiting for another Super Series? Don't hold your breath. Speed has done a backflip over the concept in the aftermath to the hopelessly lopsided contests between a resurgent Australian team and the badly misfiring Rest of the World. In all likelihood, this is the end of the World XI as we know it." He concluded: "It might not have been do or die for the players, but it was for the concept. No need to go to the video umpire. It's out."

Waleed Aly, writing in Melbourne's Age admitted that he was a supporter of the concept ... until now. "The cliche runs that in sport it is best to play like there is no tomorrow. Unfortunately, that is exactly what the World XI did."

Martin Williamson is managing editor of Cricinfo

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Martin Williamson Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.
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