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Page 2

The secret diary of Mustafa Kamal

Former ICC president deals with a particularly sticky bunch of customers

Alan Tyers
03-Apr-2015
Mustafa Kamal talks to the media after resigning as ICC president, Dhaka, April 1, 2015

"And when Srini said, 'Do you want some cheese to go with that whine?', I knew that their ignorance of my lactose intolerance was just unacceptable"  •  AFP

He's the man who set the World Cup on fire with his accusations of umpire-cheating and then quit the ICC after he wasn't allowed to hand out the trophy. But what has Mustafa Kamal been up to since? We checked in on his secret diary
The ugly people must not be allowed to win, but their influence is everywhere. It may even have reached as far as McDonald's. I stop in there for a cheeseburger after a meeting; there is a children's birthday party in full swing.
They are running around everywhere, shouting in each other's faces. It is like watching Australia play cricket, only with worse swear language. One little girl is the centre of attention. I hate her instantly.
"Congratulations to our birthday girl, Jane," says a man dressed in a yellow suit with red hair. He looks like a clown. I assume he must be some sort of umpire.
There is applause and cheering. I assume, naturally, it is for me, and begin a short 55-minute speech, off the cuff. It is oddly poorly received. One child is sick.
"Mummy, why is that man talking?" asks some little girl. So disrespectful. I make a note of her name. She is probably one of these mischievous people hoping to spoil the cricket.
The man in the clown suit speaks to me.
"Come on, mate, you're ruining this kid's seventh birthday party. We're just about to present her the cake, and then I can get off home. Ronald McDonald's on a promise from Mrs McDonald, if you know what I'm saying."
I assume this is some sort of reference to corruption, but I become interested in the situation nevertheless. Like an umpire spying a chance to cheat Bangladesh of our rightful place as cricket's No. 1 market. Or No. 1 cricket side.
"There's a presentation to be made, you say?" I ask.
"Yes," says this McDonald, who I do not believe to be on any significant ICC committee. The nobody.
"Then I shall be happy to award the trophy," I say. It is important to give back to the little people. Especially children. They are small little people. Like my enemies in the ICC.
This birthday girl starts crying.
"I don't want this man to give me my birthday present. He's not a nice man."
This is clearly a situation where a man of my status must draw on his reserves of dignity. To walk the high road is to soar like the eagle itself, as the Buddha said. Or was it Dave Richardson? I forget. Anyway, I know I must respond to her with a statesmanlike and mature calm.
"You're a poo head," I tell her. "And so's your mum."
She cries some more. Her mother is now approaching me with quite an angry look in her eye, and I remember always that careful assessment of a situation is sometimes more important than making the grand gesture of defiance.
I curl into a ball on the floor and protect my head.
"Not my face! Not my face!" I shout.
After the small children have finished beating me, I am allowed to present the trophy, as long as I dress up as Hamburglar. It is a situation that suits all parties, and I leave with my dignity intact.