The Phantom Menace

I thought I’d copy out an article I’ve just read. Keeper99 linked me to another article from the Hyderabad (Central Zone I believe) news press and had me off looking to see other views. I came across this article which is a darn sight more sobering than some of the cries of relief we are hearing. It’s from the Indian Express (emboldened parts are my emphasis):

A rock, a hard place

BCCI chief has an unenviable job at a difficult time. He must step up to it.

– See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/bcci-shashank-manohar-a-rock-a-hard-place/#sthash.fnOv0895.dpuf

It will be understandable if the Indian cricket board president, Shashank Manohar, feels that, right now, he is being loved and viewed with suspicion, both at the same time. The Anglo-Saxon part of the cricketing world is lauding him for the clean-up job he has promised at the International Cricket Council. But the Indians in power in cricket administration might not be quite cosying up to him. Needless to say, he has an unenviable task on his hands. He has spoken about defanging the bully that is Indian cricket that, along with England and Australia, had devised a plan last year to retain the lion’s share of the revenue. If he manages to bring in a more equitable sharing system, then the BCCI, which, as part of the Big Three, was expected to rake in around $568 million annually, will have to settle for a double-digit figure.

(Comment – this last part may be over-dramatic, but do not underestimate it. Domestic sports bodies the world over have little interest in the wide world outside. We have the Premier League as Exhibit A.)

Even if the new revenue is somehow deemed palatable by the old guard back home, they might stir up a rebellion of sorts if Manohar starts to clean up Indian cricket as per the recommendations of the Justice Lodha Committee. The suggestions of the Supreme Court-appointed committee are aimed at a comprehensive clean-up. Several important figures would have to quit cricket administration as they would not only be debarred by the age clause of 70 years but would be automatically disqualified by the limits imposed on tenure — cumulatively nine years and no successive terms allowed. Politicians and administrators don’t usually give up power easily.

If the Big Three is dismantled, and democracy replaces hegemony, the BCCI stands to lose money, which in turn would affect the generous cash flow to various local associations across the country. A recommendation as simple and rational as auditing and accounting for the money given to associations is likely to hit speed-breakers. In other words, the recommendations envisage a complete shake-up of the system — be it changing the way the associations and the BCCI are currently registered to the way the money is shared between them — and such overhauling is likely to alienate the BCCI chief from his colleagues in cricket administration. The job at hand isn’t going to be easy, considering the big names and powerful people involved. With the SC breathing down his neck, it will be interesting to see how Manohar responds.

A New Hope, maybe, but there is a lot to worry about still. Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas. Rich businessmen didn’t become rich by giving away money. Powerful people don’t generally give up power easily. This is not a knock on India, but if they have the attitude of our own Giles Clarke, they’ll put the views of their board above those of the world game. That’s where we are. Especially when you are talking about immense amounts of money.

Please read TLG’s excellent “A New Hope” as a full view on this situation. I believe the above paints a more alarming picture.

UPDATE – Would also recommend this piece from the same organ on the tussles in India at the moment as the Supreme Court get involved in the governance at BCCI. http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/supreme-court-gets-stern-with-bcci-asks-it-to-implement-lodha-panel-recommendations/

South Africa vs England 2nd ODI Review

In these days of scores approaching 400, there’s something curiously old fashioned about a game where 260 is the target and it goes down to the last few overs. It’s almost a throwback to the 1990s, with Ben Stokes playing the Derek Pringle role by going for six an over and being given out twice, and not out once when he probably should have been for a duck of glorious proportions.

It all meant that after the pyrotechnics of the first match, this seemed relatively low key throughout, where you notice that the Port Elizabeth crowd are not only fond of singing, but offer a rarity at any sporting location of being very much in tune. There’s something rather beautiful about it.

Perhaps South Africa did rather make heavy work of their last ten overs, but at that point a score of around 285 would have been towards the top of their aspirations anyway, so while 262 was disappointing, it is hard to make a case that they lost it just in that short period.

De Villiers’ dismissal to another exceptional catch, this time by Chris Jordan, did come at just the wrong time, but De Villiers was looking to go fully on the attack at that point anyway, with all the risks associated.

Much had been written about the surface being slower and less conducive to hitting, but it still felt at least 30 or 40 short. Of course, the change in mentality couldn’t be better expressed than in the feeling that if the England of a year ago had set that total they’d have walked off to applause from people pointing at their laptops, saying that would win most games historically. South Africa weren’t aiming for a score around that level, it’s simply how it turned out.  In any one ODI, this can and does happen.

In truth England seemed in control for most of the run chase. Alex Hales will bat better than that for many fewer runs, and in some ways those are the most satisfying innings. It was cruel on him to be dismissed one short of a hundred he’d have worked so hard for.

When Hales was dismissed England still needed 61 off 52 balls and with half the side out, surely a tight finish was likely. 20 minutes later it was all over, as IPL bound Jos Buttler, aided and abetted by Moeen Ali, finished the match in a flurry of fours and sixes. He’s in some form.

2-0, and England’s transformation continues.

It’s Been A Year

We Are 1

Somehow, we got here. There’s the old phrase that as one door closes, another one opens.

A year ago, on a bus journey home from work, after certain issues were raised, and reasons I still can’t go fully into, I decided to close down How Did We Lose In Adelaide. It was never meant to be a permanent closure of cricket blogging on my behalf, but the preceding year had been, to be truthful, absolutely knackering, both physically and mentally. I thought of that bus journey today and thought, we’re probably in a much better place now. I know I am.

The year we’ve had here has been incredible. Those who were with me on HDWLIA largely came over and joined in the discussions. It picked up from HDLWIA and in my mind improved out of all recognition for the addition of The Leg Glance, who is not only a bloody talented writer, a master of argument and a teller of stories, is also a cracking good bloke and a top friend. Without him, no way do we get here. He stepped in at the right time, when I was struggling with a change of role and pressured stuff in the real world, and written great pieces throughout the year. He’s probably embarrassed about me writing this stuff, but I’d place on record my huge thanks. This is not my blog, it’s our blog.

There’s been ups and downs. I was close to jacking it in after the Ashes. I had, frankly, had enough. But then I realised that I do enjoy doing this and despite some nonsense from people who think nothing of denigrating the sheer effort that goes into this with their 140 character sniping, the fact we still drum up the amount of comments we do is astounding and certainly keeps me going. It’s not an echo chamber, no matter how much people think it is. It’s two cricket lovers talking with loads of other cricket lovers and that’s how it will stay.

As I say on numerous occasions, I never take your support for granted, I still get a buzz when a post hits the spot, and we’ll keep on until we stop. Judging by our recent hit and visitor rates, there’s no sign of a decrease in interest. We had over 22000 comments this year. I’m not sure there’s another cricket blog in England pulling that amount in.

So one year in, and more (hopefully) to come. It has been a year.

Please continue to comment on today’s ODI in the post below.