Congratulations were withdrawn this month from James Faulkner, who initially seemed to have come out as gay, only to later come out as not gay (or should that be "go back in" - not really sure how specifics of this metaphor work). Several major news outlets swooped on the news that Faulkner had come out after the allrounder described the man he was having dinner with as "boyfriend" on an Instagram post. Hours later, though, Faulkner clarified that he was not gay, and described the whole thing as a misunderstanding, which, in turn, prompted criticism of Faulkner in some circles, for supposedly making a joke of what is understandably a sensitive process for many gay men and women. It seems clear that Faulkner did not set out to intentionally do gay people a disservice, but just to be safe, he should definitely steer clear of Ben Stokes at the World Cup.
The IPL unites the world
March in the IPL ended in disharmony, with the pro-mankad and anti-mankad armies engaged in a furious online war. April, though, was different. This month, cricket fans the world over looked each other in the eye, linked arms, and with their differences forgotten, came together as one to laugh at Royal Challengers Bangalore's state-by-state tour of incompetence.
The copycat move
Having skidded through the first half of the IPL, Royal Challengers even tried to take a page out of Chennai Super Kings' book by signing up an older player, Dale Steyn. But where Super Kings' senior army sees the team win tough matches thanks to their collective experience, Royal Challengers have of course managed to find the biggest possible downfall in hiring older players. Having played just two matches, Steyn injured his shoulder, and is now not only ruled out of the IPL, he is also in some doubt for the World Cup.
While there is plenty of live cricket to look forward to in May, such as the conclusion of the IPL and the start of the World Cup, cricket has reminded us all that the biggest showdowns in our sport happen at the administrative level. The BCCI, who have one of the most storied running rivalries of all time with the PCB, have recently engaged in a mouth-watering tiff with Cricket Australia over scheduling - a clash that is likely to unfold in scintillating fashion in conference rooms in India and Australia. The contest looks like it will feature the best administrative talent from both nations, with all the delicious horse-trading and brinkmanship fans have come to expect from these encounters.
Meanwhile, in actual live cricket news, the women's IPL exhibition series, due to take place in May, will be without three of the finest cricket talents in the world, in Meg Lanning, Ellyse Perry and Alyssa Healy, as a result of the BCCI v CA fixture.
A victory for professional honesty
Having been removed from England's World Cup squad for failing a drug test for the second time, Alex Hales left it to his management company to issue a statement, instead of personally fronting up, which many have interpreted as insincere. Hales has undermined England's World Cup campaign, his critics say, and owes his fans and team-mates a direct explanation.
But were they ever going to get one? Isn't every public statement from high-profile cricketers endlessly pored over and fine-tuned by a management team? In cutting out the middleman (i.e. himself) from the whole public-regret process, Hales is helping usher in a new era in which public-relations professionals get to deliver their calculated messages undiluted to the masses. With the rate at which Hales gets into trouble, perhaps he himself can continue to spearhead this campaign for professional honesty.
Next month on The Briefing:
- A talent agency issues an even more honest statement following a player gaffe: "Although in an ideal world, [the player] would loved to have both done [the thing he is in trouble for] and not got caught, his being caught has for sure made him wish he hadn't [done the thing he is in trouble for]."
- New MCC president Kumar Sangakkara spearheads laws to ban sledges containing four-letter words. Seven-letter words and above only.
- "We'll be sending in our biggest administrative superstars and using some of our most famous passive-aggressive tactics against," says the BCCI, as hype for the clash with CA reaches fever pitch.