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.

22 thoughts on “Citius, Altius, Fortius

  1. thebogfather Oct 18, 2015 / 4:06 pm

    This could be the perfect storm
    Yorkshire grit against odious shit
    Impure pistols at dawn…

    Like you, I’m going to love it if Graves sticks to his guns.
    and with DoaG having it’s DVD release shortly, then the whole shebang will hopefully be highlighted further, even if the likes of Selfry (has he pretended to have jumped ship to the ICC with Clarke? They make a lovely couple…) remain pissfully ignorant.
    As for cricket in the Olympics, there are so many hurdles, even if you discount the patheticity of ICC/ECB and their figureheads.
    Would the BCCI approve inclusion if they weren’t given a guaranteed number of games?
    The TV rights and sponsorship splits would also be immense.
    Anyway, that is for the future, let’s just enjoy the battle of the ECB for now.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. BoerInAustria Oct 18, 2015 / 5:13 pm

    D’Artez must love the (non) – use of TMO in deciding the game in favour of Australia tonight….. and that without Ravi.


    • d'Arthez Oct 18, 2015 / 7:13 pm

      I missed the game due to crappy internet.

      I would have loved Scotland to have qualified. If only to avoid the southern four to play in the semis. Hopefully it is not the case that Scotland were eliminated due to officiating nonsense. No one deserves that.


  3. SimonH Oct 18, 2015 / 6:11 pm

    Graves is quoted by Lawrence Booth as saying that something like a 10-over format would be what they are looking at. Booth also claims the BCCI are against the move because of losing control over image rights.

    Meanwhile, India have lost the 3rd ODI to go 2-1 down to SA. I won’t pretend I watched it with the RWC on but from what I’ve read it seems a very oddly paced run chase by Kohli and Dhoni.


    • LordCanisLupus Oct 18, 2015 / 6:16 pm

      I did watch it, and you were right. The two senior pros let the run rate go up, and then played shots that they would rather have back when they needed to put the foot down. The commentators felt 270 was gettable, but South Africa bowled well, and India fell short. The field restrictions for the last 10 overs make those chases a little more difficult.


  4. Rooto Oct 18, 2015 / 7:04 pm

    Graves’ 10-over comment is hopefully as wet-finger-testing-the-wind as his 4-day test comment. Imagine the last one if they’d finished after 4 days!

    I’d like to see cricket spread via the Olympics, but I can think of a better spectacle. If the BCCI came out against, and the ECB came out in favour and told Farmer Giles to go out there and speak against Srini, I’d pay to watch it. I imagine him writhing and wriggling uncomfortably and turning puce. Perhaps swearing at all the journos present. If it were Roald Dahl-world, he’d actually shrivel up and turn into a weasel, so as to scurry away under the table.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mark Oct 18, 2015 / 7:05 pm

    I find the position on the Olympics baffling. There are many at the top of world cricket who dream of breaking cricket into America. Not all of America of course, but the increasingly diverse populations. If cricket is to ever get a look in, in America 20/20 is the only viable model that might get some traction. 10/10 seems pointless.

    The Olympics are huge in the US. Many events are timed to fit in with prime time American audiences. You would think the potential $ signs would be enough for Clarke to be genuflecting in front of the people who matter. But who knows what his real agenda is, and what wheeling and dealing goes on?

    On a day when India have lost again I do find it amusing how India lord it over world cricket, propped up by their Yes men partners in crime, England and Australia.


    • Arron Wright Oct 19, 2015 / 10:41 am

      Storming start, with “Greek tragedy” in the first sentence and Homer’s Odyssey in the second.

      Oh, and a lengthy digression on The Prisoners’ Dilemma (which is a bit like the old Goldenballs quiz show finale, if you’re not quite as highbrow as Ed).


      • LordCanisLupus Oct 19, 2015 / 1:09 pm

        The analogy is so tortured that I thought the UN might outlaw it. That article could be written in about three paragraphs. It lacks content.

        LOL at Swiss Toni. Someone tell FICJAM that Homer was the Twitter obsessive of his day.

        Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH Oct 19, 2015 / 10:44 am

      His brief transformation into Swiss Toni in the third paragraph was both amusing and slightly disturbing….

      Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Oct 19, 2015 / 12:27 pm

        Ha! One of these days someone will tell us that a Cook innings is like making love to a beautiful woman. Perhaps noxious, though he’s more likely to insist that “if you don’t enjoy bloodless, monotonous, pseudo-Tantric, sweat-free intercourse, you just don’t like making love.”

        Liked by 1 person

    • Fred Oct 19, 2015 / 5:20 pm

      Aside from the writing style, the basic assumption of the article is wrong. He seems to take it as a given that it was wrong to stop the game. But that’s the whole point of a game, you play within defined rules, and within those rules England was unable to force victory, and Pakistan was able to save the game. Is he saying that the game should have continued, just because England was getting close?
      Everyone knew the rules, and they were applied correctly. I don’t see what the objection is. Should games be continued longer just because one side looks like it might win, if they are given extra time?
      Maybe they should have been allowed to come back the next day and play another session, because a result was not far away?
      It would be like pursuing a beautiful woman around the world for ten years, finally persuading her to have dinner, only to announce after the starter course, “Sorry I’m gay, this is not the game you thought it was. Bye.”


      • Mark Oct 19, 2015 / 6:26 pm

        While I agree with you Fred that everyone knew the rules going in. I don’t blame the match officials for what happened. But I do think the ICC has given a huge advantage to the fielding team in a match were the light goes very quickly.

        But even more damming is their failure to get teams to bowl the required overs in the day. This is at the root of the problem. They have failed to come up with a solution time and time again. If they don’t want teams to bowl 90 overs in a day then reduce it to 85 or whatever. And stop all the unofficial drinks breaks and players going on and off the field. You can do it if there is the will. But the ICC don’t have the will.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Fred Oct 19, 2015 / 7:38 pm

        Yes that’s all true Mark.
        Reducing the overs to 85 would certainly be one way to solve the problem, but I’d prefer they enforced 90. No one wants to see players having endless conferences about field settings, it clogs up the game.
        But in any event the over rate was not the issue that Smith seems to have a problem with, his issue seems to be that the game was finished before he was satisfied, even though it finished when it should have.


      • Mark Oct 19, 2015 / 8:39 pm

        Yes Fred, and I am certainly not going to defend Smith. You are right, there is Huge one eyed nature to his point of view.

        The rules are as they are. But then he should be moaning about the ICCs lack of enforcement of the overs to be bowled in a day. Don’t need to quote the Greek and ard Roman classics for that.


  6. Zephirine Oct 19, 2015 / 12:02 pm

    I love short-form cricket, but 10 overs????
    What’s wrong with T20, which exists as a recognised sport?


    • SimonH Oct 19, 2015 / 1:23 pm

      It turns out that 10 over matches is one of their better ideas:

      Some brilliant stuff on Twitter about it from the likes of Dave Tickner, Andrew Nixon, Tim Wigmore and Dan Brettig.


    • d'Arthez Oct 19, 2015 / 5:37 pm

      That is like saying you want cricket in the olympics, but you propose to play the game with the rules of field hockey.

      Sometimes I wish that willful incompetence in management of these international sports bodies was a treasonable offense. We might get administrators who actually care for the game.


      • BoerInAustria Oct 19, 2015 / 6:26 pm

        French Cricket at the Olympics in honour of Pierre de Coubertin!


  7. Sherwick Oct 19, 2015 / 4:00 pm

    6 a side? Someone will be doing a lot of running in the field (and remember, 2 of those fielders would be the bowlers…)


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