Death of a Gentleman

We’re hardly the first to have our say about this most important of films, but given that importance, it remains essential that the message it conveys continues to be discussed and promoted.

It’s striking that the media reporting of this film has been extremely muted; some might say that a cricket documentary is hardly mainstream, but Fire in Babylon received far more attention. Amongst the written press, the ones who have talked about, or reviewed it, are those one would expect to see do so.  Yet of the major newspapers, the relative silence has been striking.  Even at the time of the Big Three’s effective takeover of the world game, the press was largely silent.  In this country, Scyld Berry and Lawrence Booth more than had their say, while in Australia Gideon Haigh was voluble in his criticism.  That’s not an exclusive list, but that so few “journalists” put their heads above the parapet says an awful lot.  Failing to hold the ECB to account over the way they manage the England cricket team is one thing, failing to hold the ICC and constituent boards to account for actions massively detrimental to the whole game is another entirely.  They could even hold a contrary view and express why they think it is a good idea – that at least would be something.  Silence is not.  It is an absolute disgrace, and the cricket press as a body should hang their heads in shame over it.

The broadcast media too has barely even mentioned it, with Test Match Special tiptoeing around the issues raised, and Sky not so much as acknowledging its existence.  Giles Clarke would have you believe it’s because administration isn’t of interest to anyone, only teams and players are, but the film details how when the ICC discovered the story being told, Jarrod Kimber’s press accreditation mysteriously went missing, while potential interviewees were warned off.  That it is a tale the various boards don’t want told is obvious.  The lengths they go to in order to prevent that is a different matter, and the silence from so much of the cricket press about a film that is central to the future of the game more than suspicious.

There are some telling asides away from the main narrative, such as Andrew Strauss bemoaning the rise in the number of short Test series, presumably an opinion given long before there was any possibility of him beingwithin the same ECB who were party to it.  Maybe someone will ask him.

The invention of T20 cricket in 2003 (by which we mean the professional invention, that club cricketers have known the game for years doesn’t count), and the subsequent creation of the IPL is often blamed for the threat to Test cricket, but it didn’t need to be.  As Haigh points out, for T20 to have an attraction, it has to be shorter than something.  There is absolutely no inherent reason why they couldn’t co-exist.  Indeed, the potential was and is there for T20 to support Test cricket while taking the game to brand new places and countries.  It was an opportunity to grow cricket, to nurture it and also to make money for the game.

The powerful argument Messrs Kimber and Collins build instead is of a venal, self-interested group who care little for the game except as a means of building power and making money.  Lots of money.  The IPL is central to this, as businessmen spied the opportunity to make a fortune.  Yet it would be too easy to simply blame India for everything, and there is a danger that the film will be dismissed there as nothing but an attack on an India that has been on the receiving end of a patronising attitude from the English and Australians through cricket history.  In that they certainly have a point, yet a second wrong doesn’t right the first one, and in any case blaming India solely would be to miss the point being made.

The IPL itself has undoubtedly become a monster, but one which is extremely popular, and on its own merits that should be a good thing for the game.  The trouble, as is apparent throughout the film is that it is run by those who don’t care about the wider game of cricket.  It is a means of enrichment, and when those in charge of the sport don’t have that innate love for it in its own right as a game, the dangers are clear.  That is why sporting governing bodies are meant to be neutral – or at least relatively neutral – in such matters, their role is to be the custodians of the wider sport, ensuring that naked commercial interests don’t damage the integrity of the sport itself.

For that is the fundamental central point.  The ICC is not a governing body in the true sense and never has been.  One of the striking things while watching the film is that it is so reminiscent of the goings on at FIFA.  And yet even FIFA have managed to expand football and have distributed serious wealth around the world, no matter how dubious the morality behind it.  The ICC in contrast, have a woeful record of furthering the game.  The example illustrated on screen was of the pathetic £30,000 funding given to China, a nation of such size and potential growth that it would be thought a country ripe for development and support.  Perhaps it is one degree of cynicism too far to think that cricket in China would be entirely against the interests of the current establishment, for whom a new market of over a billion people represents nothing but a potential threat to their power base.  Perhaps not too cynical after all.

The film makers did at least manage to get interviews with many of the major players in the drama – though Cricket Australia manage to come out of it rather better through the simple method of refusing all co-operation.  N. Srinivasan is consistently smooth, while failing to answer a single question, and Giles Clarke manages the impossible, by coming across as even more repulsive than normal.  If he’d been born Australian, he’d be called Sir Les Patterson.

Indeed, while Srinivasan stonewalls thoughout, it is Clarke who is the undoubted star of the drama, though not in the way he probably imagines himself to be.  Lord Woolf’s report into governance at the ICC – which was rejected by the ICC itself – is dismissed by Clarke in contemptuous and self-reverential terms.  Woolf had been scathing about the lack of accountability within the organisation in his own report, stating that the ICC behaved like a “members club” for whom the development of the game was secondary, and whose boards acted in their own self-interest rather than the overall good of the game.  Giles Clarke in the film actually inadvertently proved this by stating “I have every right to put my board’s interests first” – a comment that is notable for putting the interests of his board ahead of the interests of English cricket, let alone cricket more generally.

Woolf’s criticisms were  aimed at the old ICC, yet it was known at the time that India in particular were strongly opposed to his recommendations, which amounted to a democratisation of the organisation and the prevention of conflicts of interest.  A summary of those recommendations can be found on this link:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci-icc/content/story/551836.html

Far from approving the report that they had themselves commissioned, the three richest boards decided to go in the opposite direction.  India, England and Australia in great secrecy put together a plan whereby they would take effective control of the whole of the ICC.  The middle portion of the film covers the meeting held in Dubai, in secret and without being minuted, to put this plan together.  Kimber and Collins are rightly appalled at this, the behaviour of an autocracy with plenty to hide, not those supposedly appointed to be the custodians of the game.

“There is a paragraph which says: It is proposed that the ICC executive board forms a new committee of the ICC called the executive committee, which under new terms of reference will act as – and I emphasise this word – the SOLE recommendation committee on all constitutional, personnel, integrity, ethics, developments and nomination matters, as well as all matters regarding distributions from the ICC.

“I have never seen anything of that sort in a body of this nature.” – Lord Woolf

When the details of the carve up actually became apparent, it was worse than anyone could have imagined.  Over half the revenues of world cricket were to go directly into the back pockets of the three biggest boards, with India taking the largest share.  That could be argued to be reasonable enough in principle, given that India generate the largest amount.  Of far more concern and fully detailed, was the fait accompli presented to every other cricket nation to accept it, with each other Test nation to receive a mere 5% of the pot.  Former ICC President Ehsan Mani calculated that $300 million over 10 years would be cut from the ICC Development Programme, to be redirected to the coffers of the already wealthy.

At the same time, the plan to reduce the size of the World Cup to 10 teams makes the ICC the only sporting body to actively try to shrink their game globally – a truly astounding policy.

And here is where the initial concept behind the film – the fears for Test cricket – are beautifully brought into focus.  For the other Test playing nations were neither consulted, nor given any real opportunity to object.  One of those happens to be the side who are currently the best in the world in the form of South Africa, but it applies whether or not they are good on the field.  The flexing of muscles extended to making it abundantly clear that any opposition and those countries could forget about getting lucrative tours from India.  Bullying is rarely an edifying sight, and had already been seen in India’s response to Haroon Lorgat becoming the Chief Executive of Cricket South Africa.  Earlier than that, Tim May had been ousted from the ICC Cricket Committee, with it being reported in the Australian press – and repeated by Tim May – the BCCI had put pressure on Test captains to vote for Laxman Sivaramakrishnan instead.  Sivaramakrishnan is an employee of India Cements, whose Managing Director is one Narayanaswami Srinivasan.

Test cricket outside of the big three nations was thus put on life support, with other nations unable to make it pay, except through the largesse and exceptional and well known kindness of India, England and Australia.

“The intention to entrench a privileged position for ‘The Big Three’ appears to be an abuse of entrusted power for private gain, giving them disproportionate, unaccountable and unchallengeable authority” – Transparency International

N. Srinivasan was duly made the Chairman of the ICC, the proposal was passed, and what Scyld Berry called “the worst thing that has ever happened in our sport” was made real.

If India’s dominance wasn’t leading to a good outcome, the acquiescence, nay roaring approval, of England and Australia was worse.  Instead of looking at the wider interests of the game, they instead decided to grab as big a piece of the pie themselves and stuff the rest of the world.  England’s own conduct is entirely reflective of that – the much vaunted return of five Test series for iconic opponents quickly and silently excluded South Africa from the list, for reasons that have not been disclosed.  England decided to focus almost entirely on matches against India and Australia instead.  Bangladesh, a nation new to Test cricket will likely go a decade between tours of England, and while they may not be currently the greatest of draws, the reality is that they never will be under this global regime.  In discussions on these boards, D’Arthez did the mathematics on England’s recent schedule, and as such deserves to be quoted in full:

Since the start of 2011, there have been 47 matches between Australia and England across formats. A few of those were in World Cups / Champions Trophies T20 World Cups, but still. Compare that to the number of England / South Africa games which stands at 14. An eye-watering three of those were Tests. Pakistan stands at 10 (mostly all from the UAE tour of 2012). Bangladesh stands at 2 games in the World Cup, both games won by Bangladesh.

Australia has played 47 games against England in that period. They have played 6 against New Zealand. 4 against Bangladesh, and 3 against Zimbabwe.

India have played 42 games against England. 31 against Australia, and also (surprisingly) 31 against West Indies. 12 games against Pakistan, 11 games against Zimbabwe and 10 games against New Zealand.

Now I am aware that this snapshot may not be fair, but scheduling is not rational: we have had 3 Ashes series since the last time Australia played Tests against New Zealand for instance, or England played against Pakistan. So it is impossible to take a “fair” snapshot courtesy of the ICC.

Schedules are simply becoming increasingly dominated by teams of financially similar standings to make more money. Yay for the scrapping of the FTP. So you get a group of India, Australia, England, who dominate the fixtures between each other. England plays close to 50% of its ODIs against Australia and India for instance.

It is only going to get worse.  The other nations seeking the scraps as they are dropped from the top table, and playing more lucrative ODIs or T20s against each other when they have no one else to play against, rather than Tests.  Furthermore, what is the point of a nation like Ireland seeking Test status when this is environment in which they will be operating.  They have already been kicked in the teeth over the reduction in size of the World Cup – reduction in number of teams that is, the number of games will be barely affected, and now the Tests they hope to play will be thoroughly devalued, if not scrapped entirely, except when the Big Three deign to notice them.

Clarke attempted to make the claim that he was acting for the good of cricket, and in a nauseatingly self-justifying section pointed to his being unpaid in his role.  Curiously enough, this writer is on an industry board, also unpaid, and does so partially because of the professional advantage it gives him.  It’s best left there.

Clarke also refused to answer any kinds of questions about the Stanford affair, an example of sacrificing the values of cricket and the integrity of the England team on the altar of naked commercialism.  That it was arranged with a criminal is actually the least of the sins involved, for a national team is meant to be representative of that country, not a play thing for filthy lucre.  He not only survived that episode, but went on to create his own position of President (sarcastically referenced in the end credits) responsible for ECB dealings with the ICC which both indicates an awareness of where the real power lies, and a complete lack of any kind of integrity or conscience.  Clarke also managed to demonstrate his familiar sense of timing and old-fashioned courtesy so evident at the Wisden dinner (a note here: Lawrence Booth’s rebuff towards Clarke was sufficiently stylish and acute that it will doubtless be noted down for future retaliation by the great man) by not realising he was on the ICC’s own cameras when noting about Collins “that idiot Sam is outside”.

When the viewer is watching so aghast at the naked greed on display that even Lalit Modi appears to be something of a good guy in arguing against what is happening, the trouble the game in is clear.  It is more than right to be deeply sceptical of his motives in suddenly discovering the soul of cricket, but the news today that he intends to set up a rival governing body to the ICC ironically represents the kind of challenge that is not appearing from any other quarter – our film making heroes notwithstanding.

An interesting comment made is that his intention is that it be affiliated to the Olympic movement, and another strand of investigation in Death of a Gentleman is the refusal of the Big Three to countenance the idea of cricket being an Olympic sport.  Clarke tries to defend this on the utterly preposterous grounds that it would disrupt the English season.  And so it would.  Every four years.  When it would disrupt the season in the same way that Tests and One Day Internationals do.  What he really means is that it wouldn’t earn the ECB any money.

T20 would be perfect as an Olympic sport; it would massively raise the profile of the game, it would allow countries all over the world to appear at a major sporting event on a level playing field.  There is no downside for cricket whatsoever, there is only a downside for those who would not be able to control it as it would be organised by the IOC, and it would not make any money for those who care about little else.  Quite simply, they cannot make any kind of rational argument against it, so resort to bluster.

And in all of this, what of the cricket fan?  What of the supporter, who pays his hard earned money to watch the greats of the game?  One of the most pointed comments in the film is that the fans are there to be monetised, and that the broadcasters and boards are the only ones who matter.  The objections to the conduct of the ECB need to be seen in the context of this, for in all the documentation and comment about the changes to the ICC, there is no mention whatever of the interests of the spectator.  Not one word.  Nor is there any reference to the amateur game – which shouldn’t be any kind of surprise when the associates and the affiliates are so roundly ignored and disparaged.

Jarrod Kimber and Sam Collins have made a film that every single person with an interest in cricket needs to watch.  This is all being done in our name, by an organisation that is meant to have the interests of the game we love at heart, by constituent cricket boards who are meant to look after the game in their home countries.  It is nothing other than the complete theft of an entire sport by a self-appointed oligarchy bent on advancing their own interests.   When the English cricket fan watches this international summer, he or she basks in the enjoyment of beating the Australians but laments that only two Tests were scheduled against New Zealand.  It is all part of the whole rotten edifice.  The ECB claimed that the Ashes needed to be rescheduled because of the World Cup in order to prevent players being burned out for the premier one day competition.  It would then revert to a four year cycle.  Oh really.  Is that except for the plans in the 2020s when it doesn’t?

From the village green to the barest patch of ground to packed out stadiums, the subject of this wonderful film affects every single person with a passion for the game.  It is polemical, it asks the right questions, and that it doesn’t get all the answers is not down to any shortcomings on the part of the makers, but entirely due to the reluctance of those in and below the ICC to have their dealings exposed to public scrutiny.

You need to see it.  And you need to digest it.  And tell your friends.  The makers have set up http://www.changecricket.com/ to campaign to get our game back.  It’s up to us all to support them in that, because while we may not succeed, if we don’t try then we have no chance.  And we will deserve all we get.

TLG

Dmitri View – I too have watched the film. I did so last week, but wanted TLG to cast his eye over it too. I’m sure you’ll agree, he’s done an amazing, thorough review. I know Arron is also watching it tonight, and I’d seriously recommend the film to all of you.

This is not about this blogger, or those of you on here, switching horses to another narrative, because the ECB and the way it interacts with us and other bodies in our name is part of the discourse on this blog nearly every day. Jarrod and Sam undertook this venture to discuss test cricket and instead saw the writing on the wall when they started delving deeper. Cricket is another sport being milked for cash, with corporate parasites getting their millions of pounds of flesh in an orgy of self-interest, short-termism and blatant profiteering. Sport shouldn’t be about supply and demand, it should be about equal access. Sport engenders great things in people, makes them strive, better themselves, set themselves targets they may never reach. It encourages camaraderie, spending hours with people, making lifelong mates. In the world we live in that is abused. That love of playing is there, as Gideon Haigh speaks so eruditely, to be monetised.

I can bark at the moon all I like, but cricket is just like all the rest. While the heart-strings are pulled a little by the Ed Cowan portions of the film, the rest did not shock me. Not in the slightest. I sat there getting more and more angry at a world governing body that runs the sport firmly behind closed doors. At an ECB that plays its full part in keeping it that way. It may be in our players short-term interests to trouser more money for playing for England, but who are they going to play against? Australia and India ad infinitum? I remember the 2003 series v South Africa, and the one in 2004-5 too. Five test series, absolutely brilliant cricket, entertaining and thrilling. We’ve not played them in a five test series since, but in the past three years have had mind-numbing, one-sided (results) series. This isn’t growing the game in this country, it’s putting on endless repeats.

I can’t add much more to TLG’s piece, except to finish up with Giles Clarke. I refuse to believe this man still does not hold the wheels of power in English cricket. You barely hear a peep out of Colin Graves, but Clarke still bestrides world cricket like a colossal oaf. Only oafs can be innocent. He isn’t. In no way. The contempt, the disdain, the arrogance, the sheer affront that these two “journalists” should have the gall to question this Ozymandias? How very dare they! England, we are told, are not in his grip any more. The ECB isn’t his. I don’t believe them. Because the same attitudes persist. I’ve not seen a change from them. Not really. Still sticking to the Big Three, still no apology for “outside cricket”, still no recognition of the fans. Clarke sums it up with his advice, which I’ve heard before, that no-one is interested in cricket administration. Jarrod and Sam bring this dripping condescension through. Loud and clear.

It’s a terrific film, has its rough edges, but you can’t deny that the message is clear, despite the critics saying there is no smoking gun, no silver bullet (how ridiculous is that in the context of something else we all remember). It shows the ICC and the three organisations that now dominate to be unaccountable, have no transparent governance, and they’d wish questioners away without a care.

I ain’t going nowhere, sunshine, and nor are Jarrod and Sam. #ChangeCricket could do a lot worse than #AGilesClarkeFreeECB.

@DmitriOld    

@BlueEarthMngmnt

Together, The Leg Glance and Dmitri Old/LordCanisLupus are “Being Outside Cricket”

@OutsideCricket

See more information on Death of a Gentleman at the website – http://deathofagentlemanfilm.com/ – as well as following their Twitter page – https://twitter.com/doagfilm.

ChangeCricket is their new portal, so check that out – http://www.changecricket.com/ while Jarrod Kimber and Sam Collins are both on Twitter at @sampsoncollins and

You can watch the trailer for Death of a Gentleman here:

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62 thoughts on “Death of a Gentleman

  1. Mark Aug 10, 2015 / 9:51 pm

    The big 3 is a blatant power grab by an elite out to enrich themselves at everyone’s expense. Cricket is just a piece of property to steal, and then claim ownership of. A bit like the aristocracies Enclosure of common land centuries ago. The timid if not deathly silence from The English cricket media is to be expected. The last 24 hours as they try to bring back to life Paul Downton shows who their allegiance is with. Anyone who has followed the last 2 years knows the majority of the cricket media is completely obedient to the ECB line.

    Unfortunately this is the modern world writ large. The claimed ownership of some property by a small elite, and then a looting of said property. What follows is mass exploitation until exhaustion or collapse. The vultures then move onto the next cash cow. It’s basically Modern Feudalism.

    Ironically the other cricket nations weakness is in fact their strength. If they are prepared to make a stand and be prepared to take a hit. The only way to deal with a bully is to stand up to him. The problem is that in doing the standing up, you will probably get whacked. This usually acts as enough of a deterrent to keep everyone in line. Trouble is by not standing your ground you die a slow death. What was it Shakespeare said about cowards die many deaths, the brave only one?

    You See the one card they have to play is that however powerful a sporting entity may become, they need someone to play against. South Africa, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and all the other cricket nations should break away from the ICC. Set up their own body and play themselves. It won’t be easy, and they will be hit financially. But, if they wait long enough they will win through. Because India and England and Australia will tire of playing themselves over and over again. The governing bodies won’t, but the fans will.

    Like

  2. MM Aug 10, 2015 / 10:04 pm

    Major write-up there men, well done.Damn right everyone else should break away, Mark. Damn straight. I wouldn’t hang around waiting for crumbs from their table.

    I’m gonna buy as many copies of this film on DVD as I can and I’m gonna give them away to those that’ll watch. Might even send one to FICJAM at the TMS anecdote hut. Challenge their groupthink a tad.

    Like

  3. Sherwick Aug 10, 2015 / 10:10 pm

    ” If used properly from here, they could genuinely reclaim their position in the hearts of all England fans”.

    Well, certainly not *all* England fans, as they will NEVER win my heart back.

    Not until they give a full explanation about the KP affair, with a corresponding apology to him and to us.

    That’s never going to happen, is it?

    Like

  4. SimonH Aug 10, 2015 / 10:11 pm

    Genuine questions: can anyone explain how ICC revenue was allocated before the power grab?
    And how were key positions within the ICC allocated?

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  5. Arron Wright Aug 10, 2015 / 10:40 pm

    Hello. Absolutely tremendous work here; it was waiting for me when I switched the phone back on after coming out of the cinema.

    Not really time to say everything before I go to sleep. But first, it actually made me angrier than I expected, which is quite remarkable. Possibly due entirely to not having seen *him* interviewed at such length before, and scarcely believing that he could actually be more repugnant than I had imagined. I thought someone that successful would, in person, at least have some semblance of affability, some vestige of charm. I was as wrong as it is possible to be.

    It also made me incredibly sad.

    Like

    • Arron Wright Aug 11, 2015 / 2:18 pm

      Not a review, but some more detailed thoughts and observations in the ever-popular bullet point format:

      • From the start then, and put it this way, I am closer to Tickner than Agnew on the subject of the ‘Spirit of Cricket’. Therefore, I found the tone of the first 5-10 minutes ever so slightly sententious, and thought the focus on Ed Cowan would be a crashingly obvious ‘human interest’ angle that might try my patience. However, by the middle of the film it didn’t feel like a contrivance at all. And even though Cowan is far less prominent in the second half of the film, his presence becomes deeply poignant. Without hammering the point home, the film-makers show through Cowan exactly how a genuine deep, abiding love of the game actually manifests itself; and how it contrasts with Clarke and Srinivasan’s empty, amoral rhetoric about their own “love” of the game and their commitment to its “best interests”. That’s the way I saw it anyway, that’s how my view evolved. If that was indeed the aim, then congratulations: it was a complete triumph.
      • Gideon Haigh was fabulous, particularly his delivery of “Before or after hell freezes over?” I hope there was at least one person in the cinema unfamiliar with his work who ends up googling his name this week.
      • I am relieved to report there were no boos or hisses when Kevin Pietersen appeared on screen. I can’t believe I even have to record this fact, but such is life in 2015. I’m a little sadder to report no full-on boos for Clarke: the prevailing response was disbelieving laughter.
      • I really liked the way it largely stuck to a chronological structure, so the big reveal of January 2014 was even more effective. There were things I didn’t know about, such as Tim May and Sivaramakrishnan, or the Dubai meeting which SC and JK tried to gatecrash, which shed further light on those events I am more familiar with. In spite of that familiarity, my stomach still ended up lurching, and my fists clenching, when we finally got there. So, in case anyone is a bit sceptical because they’re expecting a dry documentary, be reassured that it plays something like a detective thriller. Which brings me to…
      • The Stanford section is placed in the middle of the film, slightly out of the main chronology and after some of the events of 2012 have already been discussed. I really appreciated this. My reason is simple – for someone not completely steeped in this stuff, I would imagine Stanford is rather like (*****18-YEAR-OLD-MOVIE-SPOILER-WARNING*****) seeing Capt. Smith shoot Jack Vincennes in LA Confidential. The point at which you realise there really is a moral imperative, and at the heart of the matter there really are complete and utter shits who always get away with it. Prior to this, there are strong clues and a vague if growing sense of unease. Afterwards, there is momentum and a real narrative drive that is sustained for the rest of the film.
      • It should go without saying that I agree wholeheartedly with what TLG writes about the media response. This is partly why I felt very sad when the campaign was publicised at the end. I’m still not sure what a bunch of cod-Marxists can achieve against the might of ECB-TV, TMS, hidebound small-c conservatism and endless rah-rah-rah, look-over-here, Harry has vanquished Voldemort bollocks. The video interview with Sam and Jarrod posted here a few days ago suggested that a backlash is inevitable. As if the continued presence of Clarke, Srini, Wally and their new world order isn’t enough.
      • Like Dmitri, I was not shocked at all by what was on screen. I’m more shocked by the lack of interest from people who are supposed to hold power to account, which is why I and others keep ploughing that particular furrow on here. But then again, perhaps some of you remember this:

      • I would have liked a couple of minutes on the scheduling, to back up the point that was made about Eng/Aus/Ind arranging things so they can play each other more often. Some statistics along the lines of what D’Arthez produced would have been useful and compelling, or even just a word on the Ashes/ODI situation and what it’s meant for other Test teams. For instance, there’s a guy on the Guardian BTL right now who still seems unaware of the previous five-Test arrangement for England and SA, and who thinks India don’t want to play Australia very often. The ongoing ignorance of what’s actually going on suggests to me that the Big Three did a pretty sound smoke and mirrors job, and yes of course the media were complicit in that. I bet there are still people who think England played only three Tests v SA in 2012 because of the London Olympics. And I reckon 99% of cricket fans think the four-year Ashes cycle is now sacrosanct, even as Glamorgan and Hampshire go on record about bids for 2022.
      • Finally, and I really have tried not to believe this, but I agree with Dmitri about the ongoing power and influence of Giles Clarke over English cricket. And now I’m too depressed to write any more.

      Liked by 2 people

      • MM Aug 11, 2015 / 4:51 pm

        Well said Arron

        Like

      • LordCanisLupus Aug 11, 2015 / 5:01 pm

        Thanks Arron. While I’ve had to mute an irritant on Twitter (the sick of 2005 one) one of us puts together stuff like this. Do these clowns believe people put this together in two minutes?

        Fantastic review and will link it later when I’m on the laptop.

        Like

      • escort Aug 12, 2015 / 6:06 pm

        In response to the tweets listed above, what exactly does anybody expect in reply from anybody connected to the BBC.

        Like

  6. Mark Aug 10, 2015 / 10:50 pm

    This whole thing makes me mad, and the medias rewriting of Downtons history today has pissed me off some more. As a result I offer this as a counter balance to the Cook is wonderful brigade.

    I wouldn’t normally do this, and take certain test matches out of a whole series. However, since the ECB media have decided that Cook won the Ashes single handed, I thought I would produce the averages for the 3 England winning test matches for the batsman and all rounders. Just feel that Cooky goodness.

    1st test 3rd test 4th test Total Average
    Cook 20 12 34 7 43 116 23.2
    Lyth 6 37 10 12 14 79 15.8
    Balance 61 0 61 30.5
    Bell 1 60 53 65* 1 180 45.0
    Root 134 60 63 38* 130 425 106.25
    Stokes 52 42 0 5 99 24.75
    Butler 27 7 9 12 55 13.75
    Ali 77 15 59 38 189 47.25
    Broad 18 4 31 24* 77 25.66
    Bairstow 5 74 79 39.5

    So in order of highest batting average we have the following……..

    Root 106.25
    Ali 47.25
    Bell 45.00
    Bairstow 39.50
    Ballance 30.50
    Broad 25.66
    Stokes 24.75
    Cook 23.20
    Lyth 15.80
    Butler 13.75

    So Cook really, really did not win the ashes on his own. Anyone who thinks this is unfair please take it up with the ECB media.

    Like

  7. keyserchris Aug 10, 2015 / 11:03 pm

    Just back from a screening myself (that was crowdfunded much like the film & happily achieved double its target to put the film on), so here are a few thoughts.

    It left me with an overwhelmingly heavy heart, but a major tip of the hat to Jarrod & especially Sam for the making of it (I hope a DVD is released with extended stuff on Ed Cowan & other interviews). I hope it influences others in their profession to follow it up – now revenues for the ICC are approaching those of FIFA more light may hopefully be shone upon it from outside the cricket media. There was one especially great line about halfway through that I made a mental note to point out – the second half story of the film was enough to push out of my memory. I hope it returns…! The big question does remain unanswered, or needs a film in itself to answer: where does all the money actually go. That is the real truth that needs exposing. it will make a lot of things clearer. It’s actually really easy, only takes a few days trawling through Gideon Haigh’s wonderful Cuts & Glances blog for a ton of the financial and legal minutiae.

    The Big 3 story was already known, so the outcome of the film was not surprising, but it was nice to have footage proving how secretive/shady the deal was. Pleasingly, though, a few mutters were heard about Giles Clarke as I walked out, particularly the female voice I heard say “that Giles… what a knob…”. Still utterly staggering he survived Stanford. It beggars belief.

    The interesting thing for me was the reaction by a couple of Indian guys also at the screening I’ve played cricket with. Their hand gestures at any mention of Srinivasan, Meiyappen or Sivaramakrishnan were a delight! Modi comes across quite well, I thought. Clearly has a mind for making money, but with a marketing instinct, hence the overnight success of the IPL. He at least is honest in his way bout the fan being central, as that brings in the money.

    Lastly, the other storyline abut Test cricket itself, and its proxy storyteller in the rise of Ed Cowan is a delightful reminder of how good a game it is. His sheer pleasure on receiving his baggy green, and sangfroid at the end, show Test cricket in its best light. That’s a better ad for it than anything the ICC could do.

    #changecricket

    Liked by 1 person

  8. dlpthomas Aug 10, 2015 / 11:54 pm

    I posted this on the “The Full Toss” but I think it bears repeating here.

    The long running Australian documentary series 4 Corners just did an episode on the big 3 take over of cricket. Well worth watching.

    http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/four-corners/NC1504H028S00

    4 Corners is not a hugely popular program (though it should be) but it may raise some public awareness before Death of A Gentleman finally reaches Australian shores.

    Like

    • SimonH Aug 11, 2015 / 7:52 am

      A message comes up that the programme is not available to view outside Australia.

      Like

      • dlpthomas Aug 13, 2015 / 1:48 am

        It may end up,on YouTube. It is available to download on kickass torrents ( not that I would ever approve of using such sites) you can find it if you search for ” cricket coup”

        Like

  9. Arron Wright Aug 11, 2015 / 5:18 am

    I do hope (legendary BTL ECB lickspittle) Mike Daniels got to see the film and managed not to walk out in protest, burst into tears, threaten to sue or sit there saying “due diligence” over and over again while rocking on his haunches.

    Liked by 1 person

    • northernlight71 Aug 12, 2015 / 6:30 pm

      Arron, surely Mike Daniels isn’t a real person? He couldn’t be, could he? He’s just a computer generated construction of ECB platitudes and bland soundbites.
      Nobody could actually exist in his state of ignorance without exploding from within.
      Could they?

      Like

      • Zephirine Aug 12, 2015 / 7:50 pm

        Mike Daniels is real. I seem to remember it came out that he’s involved in running league cricket in Warwickshire. I think he may be quite old.
        He used to be OK, but the friction BTL has made him somewhat injured and aggrieved by, well, most things. But he doesn’t set out to cause trouble like some dear souls we can think of.

        Like

    • Arron Wright Aug 11, 2015 / 8:54 am

      “I personally find Peter Moores an enormously impressive man, so obviously a manager of men, with a clear idea of what he wants to do. And a confident man is an open man, while one lacking in confidence becomes secretive and creates an atmosphere in the dressing room. Peter will have the resources he wants, whoever he wants, in the positions he wants – whatever he needs, no one is going to stop him having those resources and those men. He has a whole load of exciting ideas about how we improve. Just take fielding as an example. What are the skills and strengths we need to catch the ball, collecting the ball at speed if you are a tall man, throwing off balance, all those things. To me I come back to the idea that he needs to be given the resources he wants until such time as it becomes clear that he is not the right man to run things.”

      Results at this stage, by the way, were a 3-0 home win over WI, a 1-0 home defeat (first in six years; first to a team not an all-time great in eight years) to India and a 1-0 away defeat to SL.

      And the way Fletcher is talked about here makes for an interesting contrast with the way Flower was still talked up by the same men after he moved on following a 5-0 thrashing and no formal review, does it not?

      Like

      • Zephirine Aug 11, 2015 / 10:03 am

        Note the situation in which either Giles Clarke or Duncan Fletcher is lying about what’s happened.

        Subsequently Fletcher was airbrushed, the same way we’re seeing now with somebody else.

        I have to say, apart from Bumble, that does look like the breakfast from hell.

        Like

    • Mark Aug 11, 2015 / 8:55 am

      Arron I have just written below about Lawson, and I point out you were dead right. You warned of what was coming if England won the Ashes. The Oval is going to be like an English Nuremberg rally.

      We will all be forced to take loyalty oaths and sent off the re education camps. Where giant pictures of Cook will be hung for us to gaze upon. Then we will all have to repeat the mantra…

      “Cook is the grestest captain England have ever had, and KP was a traitor. “.

      English cricket really has jumped the shark now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Aug 11, 2015 / 10:07 am

        Mark

        Can you imagine what would have happened if Cook’s and Root’s series averages were reversed….?

        Like

      • MM Aug 11, 2015 / 10:53 am

        As Arron says, at least Cook didn’t have Root’s average.

        Nuremburg rally indeed.

        Like

    • SimonH Aug 11, 2015 / 9:01 am

      Giles Clarke:

      “When you have an activity [the Ashes] which has been the focus and concentration of your specialist skills for a year and a half, your fundamental reason for existence, when you have done nothing but talk and prepare for it, ensured that everybody had all the things they wanted, and subsequently it has been so cataclysmically unsuccessful, you do not hang around. You say “we have got to do something”‘.

      2006/07 = Schofield Report.
      2013/14 = sack the c***.

      Like

      • Arron Wright Aug 11, 2015 / 9:03 am

        Precisely. Amazing bit of primary source material, isn’t it?

        Like

      • Mark Aug 11, 2015 / 9:54 am

        Notice the contempt for every other cricket nation, the Ashes is all that matters. (Except if we lose 5-0) then we find a patsy scapegoat. A Johnny foreigner to blame.

        The whole of world cricket has been reorganised to provide warm up matches for the Ashes and cash from India. These are the modern day British Empire builders. They loot the worlds resources for their own amusememt.

        The sooner the rest of cricket pulls out of the ICC and goes it’s own way the better.

        Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH Aug 11, 2015 / 8:51 am

      Are ‘your home of cricket’ broadcasting the series? They ignored SL v P recently.

      Like

  10. Zephirine Aug 11, 2015 / 10:09 am

    Lovely writing here chaps, I’m behind the times with DOAG because of other commitments but will catch up.

    Looking ahead, I can only see world cricket splitting up and that may be a very good thing, though not for Eng/Aus/Ind supporters who want to see good Test matches.

    Like

    • Mark Aug 11, 2015 / 11:40 am

      I think it’s the only option for the non big 3. It certainly won’t be very easy for them. And the big 3 will make life very difficult. Even legal threats maybe on the cards. But I believe they are only going to get screwed if they stay in the ICC. Many of us will cheer them on if they break away.

      It will be fascinating to watch the English cricket media side with the ECB and call them traitors and greedy. (Greedy? Talk about kettle and pot)

      Like

  11. OscarDaBosca Aug 11, 2015 / 4:20 pm

    I need to find a cinema or buy the DVD as unfortunately it is only on in Bath when I am away on holiday. If anyone can organise something in Bristol for September I can bring at least 5 people with me.

    Like

  12. Mike Aug 11, 2015 / 8:44 pm

    Splendid post chaps, well written, heartfelt and another nod to an important piece of journalism

    Like

    • Rohan Aug 11, 2015 / 10:10 pm

      That was a very good read Arron, a good find. I am always amazed by the insight and perceptiveness of blogs like the one you have linked and of course our own Lord and Leggy.

      LCL and TLG both work full time, I presume. Writing is not, therefore, their main job. Yet they and, for example the blog above (Arron’s link), are always far more well informed, prepared, researched, thought out and constructed than many MSM pieces.

      You know if LCL or TLG write something that they have ‘done their homework’. Pieces will be well evidenced, statistically accurate (where appropriate), reasoned and most importantly credible. This all takes time; huge amounts.

      I only read the blogs and articles and add comments here and there (but even keeping up with the reading of these posts and adding a few well thought out comments can take 30 to 60 minutes). Now imagine running a blog. I am full of admiration for the time and effort it must take to read, prepare, read, prepare, draft, read some more, proof read and then post extensive articles that most often ‘nail it’.

      My hat is tipped to you guys amazing stuff!

      Ps this DOAG stuff is rancid, nay putrid. I agree with Zephirine a breakaway would be good.

      Imagine NZ and SA hooking up together. I could see a time in the future, where the big 3, would suddenly have to bow and cowtow to a SA/NZ alliance. Especially if they stay as number one (SA) and keep playing great cricket (NZ).

      Liked by 1 person

      • SteveT Aug 12, 2015 / 10:49 am

        You’ve got it bang on here Rohan. I only comment here occasionally and it can take a good amount of time just to put a couple of decent paragraphs together. Heaven know how long it takes our intrepid hosts to come up with such incisive and thoughtfully analysed articles with such regularity. They put the MSM to shame. I certainly will tip my non-Waitrose sponsored hat in their direction.

        Like

  13. pktroll (@pktroll) Aug 11, 2015 / 10:24 pm

    Getting to watch it on 24 August in Clapham. Looking forward to it. They have a Q&A with Kimber afterwards too.

    Like

  14. Topshelf Aug 11, 2015 / 11:41 pm

    Just got back home from a screening, where Sam introduced the film with a plea for us all to do everything we can to spread the word. Not that I should need to here. But the two Aussie players from my Sunday side I cajoled into coming seemed suitably stunned by the idiocy on show, and interestingly embarrassed that the head of CA declined to be interviewed.

    I can report no hissing of KP, but an audible air of rising incredulity and disgust every time Giles Clarke besmirched the screen. I too had no idea quite how odious a toad he seems to be.

    Thank goodness for the Ed Cowan sections, or the whole thing would have been too depressing for words.

    Like

    • MM Aug 12, 2015 / 7:35 pm

      “how odious a toad he seems to be”

      Nice one Topshelf. But I have to say, toads can be actually quite majestic if you give them a bit of slack. I love them.

      The best word for Giles Clarke is REPTILIAN, with all its possible connotations.

      Like

      • Zephirine Aug 12, 2015 / 7:56 pm

        one of these perhaps?

        Like

      • MM Aug 12, 2015 / 8:25 pm

        Well, again it’s a majestic beast, Zeph. A bit unfair to compare Mr K. Dragon with GC. I suppose I was using the word ‘reptilian’ in the nature of being / behaviour sense. But perhaps crocodilian is the word. Very crocodilian. So crocodilian in fact he’d surely appreciate the application of the word to him.

        I’ve booked tickets to go see DOAG at the Electric Cinema in Brum, 8th Sept. It’s a really lovely cinema and I’m very much looking forward to seeing the film there. It’s a special ourscreen thing so it needs a full house to go ahead. There’s tickets left still.

        Like

      • Zephirine Aug 12, 2015 / 8:54 pm

        Crocodilian… Sam and Jarrod are like the Elephant’s Child.

        One fine morning in the middle of the Precession of the Equinoxes this ‘satiable Elephant’s Child asked a new fine question that he had never asked before. He asked, ‘What does the Crocodile have for dinner?’ Then everybody said, ‘Hush!’ in a loud and dretful tone, and they spanked him immediately and directly, without stopping, for a long time.

        http://www.boop.org/jan/justso/elephant.htm

        Like

      • MM Aug 12, 2015 / 9:42 pm

        “So he pulled, and the Elephant’s Child pulled, and the Crocodile pulled; but the Elephant’s Child and the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake pulled hardest; and at last the Crocodile let go of the Elephant’s Child’s nose with a plop that you could hear all up and down the Limpopo”

        Don’t stop pulling might be the message, then!

        Like

    • Arron Wright Aug 14, 2015 / 9:17 am

      Good for Scyld Berry.

      And then you read the first comment from ‘speakeasytele’ and realise there’s no hope after all.

      Like

      • Mark Aug 14, 2015 / 9:35 am

        I m sure the stupid people will sing Rule Britannia throughout the silence. And then finish off With chants of “Cooky, Cooky ,Cooky. ”

        It’s going to be one of the most ugly sporting events we have seen. There is a whiff of English fascism in the air.

        Like

    • thebogfather Aug 14, 2015 / 10:07 am

      Mark/Arron – you can guarantee that Sky/MSM won’t cover it

      Like

  15. d'Arthez Aug 14, 2015 / 10:23 am

    Sorry, I have not been around much. Mainly due to persistent power failures / internet access issues.

    I have not seen the movie (hard to find here to say the least). Great pieces by TLG and LCL, and the movie seems to be doing a wonderful job in ramming home how the cricket lovers, and even the players are screwed over by the self-interested money-men, who don’t give a damn about the game.

    That Giles Clarke features prominently in the movie is not much of a surprise. His judgment has been found wanting for more than a decade now, so it is not surprising he continued this trend either. It also points to structural weaknesses in how the game is run in England: the ECB is not a democratic organization, and if you throw a few pounds at the counties, they’d vote for you, no matter how damaging the proposals you come with are. In that respect it i not much different from weak democracies you find in many places in the world. Often the only significance of such elections, is that you decide WHO is going to fill their pockets, and WHO is going to screw everyone else over. I feel that way about the ICC.

    The situation will only deteriorate; part of the reason is that administrative stuff tends to be rather boring, and partly because a lot of “fans” only care about their own team, and cannot be bothered to know what is going on in the wider cricketing world. I am not saying that supporters should know everything. Far from it. But it would not hurt to know that say South Africa are a good Test side, that New Zealand have developed in leaps and bounds in the past 2-3 years, and that Bangladesh are becoming a decent home side now (they hardly play away series, but that is in no small part due to the reluctance of anyone to host them) rather than judging those teams SOLELY on the performances, whenever “your” team played them, sometimes as much as 5 to 8 years ago.

    In England the issue is compounded by the Sky paywall. If you effectively shut out 80% of the population, you’re also stifling debate on cricketing matters. That of course will not help the public debate. It may also have contributed to the phenomenon that people are only interested when “England” do well, and thus you get all this (faux) nationalistic nonsense, where the only thing that matters is the RESULT, rather than the QUALITY (undoubtedly, many examples can be found BTL even on the Guardian website).

    I speak to a fair number of Indians, and it is not like they are happy with the ICC stitch-up either, even though the BCCI benefits the most. Sure you have some nationalistic idiots, who simply will argue ad infinitum, that the wrongs of the Australia-England axis of governance of the Imperial Cricket Conference-era justifies whatever fancy the BCCI might have now.

    I see two possible “solutions”: either the smaller boards break away, and create their own cricketing governance body, or the supporters stay away, and take up other interests / sports to follow.

    The first is problematic, since that will mean the revenue streams to all boards will be limited at first. Mind you, it is not like say the Pakistan players are making millions on their central contracts, so in some respect the uneven development in the cricketing world already ameliorates for that. The hard bit will be to get the players: expect any player who is willing to go play under another governing body to be banned from IPL, and thus struggle to make as much money as he would if he did not care about the health of the game, and just about his bank balance. To a player like Anderson, missing out on 400k / year in IPL is a blow, but it would be about 30% of his income (max). To someone from Sri Lanka, that figure is probably closer to 80%.

    The second is next to impossible: it is really not that hard to fill up a stadium with jingoistic idiots – and those are increasingly what is left of the “supporter base” in various countries. If that means Test attendances decline, no problem: the ICC knows that more money can be made of ODIs and T20Is anyway. It is only when boredom sets in with the jingoists, that the ICC may consider “reform”, meaning England may go for a summer or two without “Yet another Ashes”, or “Yet another destruction job of the best side the world has ever seen, even though it has not won an Away Tour against credible opposition in decades”. By then it is too late, and the people who loved the game, will have drifted away, have taken up other interests, or simply never bothered to inspire the cricketing bug in others.

    If nothing is done, cricket will end up being not too dissimilar from WWE. Fake entertainment, with fake speeches. Can you see Cook berating Mathews for being evil (Mankading incident of 2014)? Kohli calling Amla a ******* Motherf****r? Oh, the joys of the “gentleman’s game” ….

    Liked by 1 person

    • MM Aug 14, 2015 / 11:04 am

      Great read that, D’Art.

      I’d say this to SA, NZ, West Indies, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Afghanistan, Netherlands, Scotland: if you can’t join them, beat them. Break away. Get that meeting under way.

      Crocodiles like Gilesy will see the bottom line sink as the proles eventually weary of the same old faces saying the same old post-whitewash interview cliches.

      And maybe a breakaway league will succeed… he’ll be over in his corporate chopper with a crocodile skin suitcase full of used twenties trying to buy back the South Africans and the Kiwis and all.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Zephirine Aug 14, 2015 / 11:38 am

      Excellent post, d’Arthez.

      “cricket will end up being not too dissimilar from WWE. Fake entertainment, with fake speeches”

      I think this is a real possibility. There has been something of a charade about this Ashes series at times, which the extremely one-sided matches only accentuated.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Zephirine Aug 14, 2015 / 3:18 pm

    Talking of charades, did you know that the small investors who lost their entire savings in Allen Stanford’s Ponzi scheme are still waiting to know if they’ll get any compensation?
    Meanwhile, England cricket has managed to ‘move on’ from the whole thing quite easily.

    Liked by 1 person

    • d'Arthez Aug 14, 2015 / 4:46 pm

      Yeah, but that seems to be because the mantra of the ECB seems to be: Steal from the poor, to redistribute among the rich.

      Like

  17. MM Aug 15, 2015 / 5:38 pm

    Totally off topic but, as a Worcestershire fan, I want to ask yer opinions:

    Did the club’s top brass crap on their own team and their fans with yesterday’s start time? After such a decent showing in t’Blast this season, shouldn’t someone within the hierachy have insisted upon floodlights? Should a head roll?

    Just asking.

    Like

    • SimonH Aug 15, 2015 / 6:06 pm

      MM, this was kinda the point I was trying to make on the other thread. They either had to change the start time or get some floodlights.

      Here’s someone who agrees:

      Like

      • MM Aug 15, 2015 / 7:47 pm

        Hmmm, I wonder whether the sledgehammer is coming out of the shed in preparation of walnuts being purchased with this angle. I understand lights are expensive and a bit of a blot to Worcester’s vista. But a set of temporary ones just for this event would’ve been cost effective. I played last Sunday and because of whatever to-ing and fro-ing, the game went past 8pm. It wasn’t as gloomy a day as yesterday but none of us could see anything. What were they thinking at Worcestershire? There’s no way that game could’ve finished at that time – in August – with people bowling at 80+mph. The fielder getting a busted nose, too… crazy.

        I understand 5-30pm starts workfine in June/July and that maximised the numbers coming in after work. But this is a Friday in the school summer holidays and a quarter final to boot. Worcestershire were never gonna struggle to sell this puppy. Why not a 4:00pm start? FFS. They shot themselves in the face with this.

        No need to franchise themselves over to Brum Bears… just start earlier. Maybe they coudl sell a few more shirts. They each cost enough to pay for a feckin’ lighting pylon anyway.

        Well done to Hampshire’s batters anyways. I’m proper grumpy with the Rapids over this, though. Grrr.

        Like

    • d'Arthez Aug 15, 2015 / 8:15 pm

      If the decision is made ECB style, the incompetent idiot who is responsible for the decision ought to be promoted.

      It is sheer lunacy. But that is what you get when TV companies get to decide who plays when.

      Like

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