Citius, Altius, Fortius

The reports, carried by Tim Wigmore on ESPN, that Colin Graves is about to propose that cricket be in the Olympics, is interesting on many levels. This is about long-term development and broadening the game in the future. But it’s also about the ECB now. Very much now. Who knows, this could be the funniest power struggle yet?

2024 is almost a decade away and the landscape may have changed by then, because the land has changed a great deal in the last 10 years. There’s no certainty cricket will be selected as an Olympic sport even if it chooses to seek inclusion (although India’s might could help if they were interested as their Olympic record is not good), and not many of our current team will be around for it. But the prospects it opens for associate nations and broadening the game can’t be underestimated. Spare me the wailing sirens of us losing a test series – the NHL in each Winter Olympics shuts for a couple of weeks and then re-opens again. There is too much international cricket in the summer as it is.

Don’t worry all you Ashes lovers. A series isn’t scheduled in England that summer. Yet. We’ll probably play two test against South Africa instead.

What interests me is this is Colin Graves challenging his predecessor. Now, you know my position and I’ve still not changed it. Giles runs English cricket and Graves has not stood up to him. Now Graves seems to have found his balls. This could get interesting, quickly. Under the Yorkie watch he has overseen a change of personnel in charge of the national team, a revitalisation of the ODI team into an attractive, attacking unit, and, of course, an unlikely Ashes win. He has the press salivating over the new Director, Comma as well as the beatification of our captain. There’s a rump of us who have the hump, but we’re not important. Frankly, if he can’t impose his own authority over matters now, when can he?

Now Giles is coming off the back of some negative publicity. His performance in Death of a Gentleman was awe inspiring, playing to his typecast role of unreconstructed snob, the sort of villain straight out of Hollywood’s central casting for “quintessential evil English toff”. His high-handedness was inspiring. One wonders how a man is so self-confident while lacking so much in self-awareness. I think someone removed his “I give a shit” gene. Giles is a master of politicking, and I don’t mean that as a compliment. He will likely be put into bat for cricket in the Olympics by the people he lorded over, and have to put the case. I for one reckon we’ll be hearing back precisely what Srini thinks as a reason for inclusion or exclusion, and Graves can say all he likes. Giles is not a man for turning, and his protestations that he’s protecting his board in DoaG didn’t look like those of a man considering all sides of the argument. Will he take his orders, given he made sure Brearley was put in his place when it was suggested he would have to. Oh yes, Giles Clarke is going to be a great watch throughout this. Wally has already deserted, but then again, it’s not his country’s summer this jamboree is going to take place in!

For someone who finds the ECB shenanigans fascinating, this is like Christmas. The former deputy, coming in with the reports of a blunt intstrument ready to hit all and sundry, put in his place over his attempts to bring back someone the establishment want rid of, and for correctly assessing West Indies ability to play test cricket, is now feeling he can say something. This something challenges his former king. It could be seen as betrayal. It could be seen as a challenge. How Clarke responds will be riveting, at least for me.

Read Tim’s piece by clicking here.

Also, this is a stat I was supposed to write a whole piece on. It does shine an exceptionally good light on our captain’s performances in Asian conditions. A good player of spin, not as many concerns on his areas of weakness (caught behind, chopping on), and a method and indefatigability that is almost inhuman. There’s no taking away this statistic from him. I’m not sure anyone is denying that these conditions suit his game (and not many others) and he cashes in.

Selvey, of course, wants you to know how much he loved Cook’s performance. This from a cricket correspondent who, since the release around three months ago of an important film on cricket hasn’t bothered to watch it, but still seems “remarkably informed” at what the ICC is thinking given his tweets on the IOC approach.

As I’m writing India are collapsing to defeat against South Africa.