Gunboat Diplomacy

Giles+Clarke+N+Srinivasan+ICC+Board+Meeting+USwPhcIc2fXl

In the film A Death of a Gentleman, Gideon Haigh asked the pertinent question: “Does cricket make money in order to exist or is it now the case that it exists in order to make money?.” Now many of the followers of this blog are well aware that cricket has become more of a product than that a game anymore in the eyes of the administrators, who are each looking for their slice of the pie. It has been made mightily clear by those that are in power that this is about sustaining and growing the revenues of the most powerful nations and by setting up various new T20 leagues to try and cash in on the perceived popularity of T20 cricket. Mr. Graves and Mr. Harrison (or Laurel and Hardy as they are otherwise known) can bluster all they want about reaching a new demographic and increasing the exposure of the game, but we know it’s not really like that, it’s the cold hard cash from TV rights deals. Any fool can see through it, apart from the ones in the media, who are singing from their hymn sheet.

I bring this up, as there have been more rumblings from the ICC and in particular from the BCCI this week. Now I’m not a particular expert on this subject (and I hope Simon H amongst others will chime in), but the long and short of this appears to be the fact that the BCCI doesn’t particularly like the word democracy if it costs them money, despite a 13-1 vote in favour of the changes to redistribute revenue, and are now threatening to throw their toys out of the pram if they don’t get their way. Now who knows what is lurking at the back of the BCCI and who is calling the shots, but they have stubbornly refused to back down from the Big 3 carve up that alienated so many Full Time and Associate nations and basically gave them the keys to the castle, or $578million dollars until 2023. You see when money and lots of it is involved, certain boards suddenly don’t feel so passionate about growing the game anymore. To mitigate this, the ICC have offered them $400million dollars, which those at the top of the BCCI (and don’t be surprised if N Srinivasan is still hanging around) still feel is insufficient, they want the whole lot previously assigned to them (bear in mind that the combined revenue assigned to the Associates is around $238), many feel that this is more than generous. The BCCI however, believe that they have the ICC and the rest of the cricket playing nations by the proverbial testicles and they’re going to keep squeezing until someone blinks, with their first threat being to pull out of the Champions trophy. Now before I get angry messages saying that I hate India, I would hold Giles Clarke (who famously only looks after the interests of his board) and James Sutherland equally accountable for this mess. They were the ones that were greedy enough to sell the other nations down the river in order to secure their own financial futures and they were the ones that let the genie out of the bottle and allowed the BCCI to have whatever they wanted, whatever the cost, as long as they looked after CA and the ECB. I don’t envy Manohar one little bit in trying to get that genie back in the bottle.

So what can and should be done, the ICC can of course cave into the BCCI’s demands and reduce the income of those that need it most in the vain hope of keeping the BCCI happy and protecting the huge amount of revenue that India brings to the table. That is one option, but it is not my preferred one, I believe that now is the time to be radical and call their bluff. This is without doubt a risky move and will no doubt have a huge impact of the revenue of all nations in the short term, but surely it’s better to take that risk now and draw a line in the sand before the next negotiations where the BCCI will want more and more and will likely get it. I firmly believe that this can’t be kicked into the grass this time, the ICC should be a democratic organisation that acts upon the interest and votes of its’ members, not a totalitarian state at the behest of one uncontrollable beast. If India wants to pull out of the Champions Trophy because they haven’t got their own way, then let them. Stick a line in the sand, carry on with the tournament despite the loss of revenue, but then sue the BCCI afterwards for the loss of revenue. Again, if the BCCI threatens to withdraw from Test cricket, which is undoubtedly the next step, then again let them do so despite the loss of large television rights deals. All the other nations have a responsibility to each other to try and ensure each stays solvent and in relatively good shape during this period and it can be done, if all are bought into the concept.

After this is all done, then we should hit the BCCI where it hurts, by pulling all NOC’s for international players from the IPL and then withdrawing the TV hosting deals. This normally isn’t the sort of diplomacy that I would normally advocate, but I feel that the BCCI’s position on this leaves the rest of cricket with no other option. Sure, the IPL will still attract the T20 freelancers and there is a good chance that some high profile international players coming towards the end of their careers will also choose to forfeit playing for the country (ABDV and some of the West Indian squad come to mind), but I feel the majority won’t, Test cricket in the eyes of many is still the pinnacle. The IPL will still have their own high profile domestic players, but when you are scraping round the barrel for international has-beens and mercenaries, then it’s hardly going to offer the glitz and glamour that the Indian public have been used to and no doubt this will also hit the IPL’s sponsorship bottom line. In my opinion that is the only way to get India back to the negotiating table as a member of the ICC and not the dictator. Sure there’s a risk that certain members get itchy feet and crave for the BCCI’s money again, but without risk, there is no reward and I feel that on this occasion it could be worth it.

This all brings me back to Dmitri’s post from earlier on this week, I feel out of love with the game at the moment and want to hark back to the days when I knew nothing about the international cricket administration, when there was cricket on FTA and when the England team selection wasn’t based around people from the right type of family and was instead based on talent. I want to cozy back up to County Cricket again, like the old loveable pet that has always been there for you when you need it (I saw a great one day game between Somerset and Surrey today), but then I remember that the ECB is trying to destroy that too. It makes me angry, but also incredibly sad. Most of all, I would like to go back to a time when Cricket was a sport and not a product and when money wasn’t the single driver of every decision made with it.

Have an enjoyable Bank Holiday Weekend one and all.

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113 thoughts on “Gunboat Diplomacy

  1. LordCanisLupus April 28, 2017 / 7:43 pm

    Let me add this astonishing piece of writing from this month’s Cricketer Magazine. Huw Turbevill reports back on #39’s Q&A with Graham Gooch and concludes that people know “ooooh, that’s what really happened” and makes the case for the ostracising of KP.

    You lost. We all lost. You lost that stupid justification war. We lost watching him in test cricket. You stop fighting this load of old nonsense, and we will. We have. You just keep bringing it up.

    Frankly, more interesting is the Gooch / Cook relationship, and how each side views it. Now that’s interesting.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sean B April 28, 2017 / 7:50 pm

      I haven’t dared pick up The Cricket Paper yet, but from the front page it looks like it could be a real belter!

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus April 28, 2017 / 7:51 pm

        Couldn’t get it today. WH Smith’s never had it.

        The Cricketer, though. I still subscribe. I need the material.

        Like

        • Sean B April 28, 2017 / 7:55 pm

          I get the digital sub, if I can PDF it and it’s not huge, I’ll send it to you.

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    • Grenville May 1, 2017 / 12:24 am

      sort of topic, but is Gooch suggesting that KP was sacked because he struggled with left arm spin and was a but susceptible to movement in the crowd? He, despite these gaping flaws in his game, scored shed loads of runs at a healthy average.

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    • d'Arthez May 1, 2017 / 7:24 am

      Not sure what the argument is. But somehow I don’t remember the Ashes in 2013/14 being all about left arm spinners.

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      • LordCanisLupus May 1, 2017 / 12:04 pm

        The clear argument that is made for KP’s sacking is not that clear, but seems to be the “it’s the way I play” attitude combined with not being too chuffed when Gooch screamed at him, with a little counter-balance that Cook wasn’t strong enough to deal with KP because it was Gooch, and not the captain, who stood up to him.

        Got that?

        So a weak leader needed to be bolstered by getting rid of his top run scorer because said run scorer had a bit of an attitude. Which we knew. So do the media. Except, in public, there was no way Cook could be portrayed as a “weak leader”. Tying yourselves in knots is a magic art the media got themselves into. KP was too strong minded for them and they would rather back a weak leader than a strong mouthy foreigner.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Mark April 28, 2017 / 9:57 pm

    Sean, I agree wholeheartedly with you that it is now the time to call India’s bluff. If you appease the bully they will always want more. And right now the Indians are the cricketing bullies.

    What is priceless to me about India’s stance is that they are behaving exactly like the arrogant British when we ran the Empire. Now they are the kings of the cricket Empire and they behave in the same arrogant manner. Oh ironies of ironies.

    Of course their bluff won’t be called because we are run by spineless, greedy cowards who would sell out their own relatives for a $. The fear of loss of revenue will trump everything. If we were to go to war over this it will be bloody. The money would be greatly reduced, and that means less money for the cricket elite in England and Aus. In addition, India could retaliate by banning all players from playing in India’s IPL. This would infuriate all those players who are earning big money there. In short the game could melt down financially very quickly. But like you I believe in time India would come back. Not because of money. They could carry on on their own for decades. But their players would lose out with no test cricket.

    It is very risky, and it is the crickets version of nuclear Armageddon. However, the alternative is complete capitulation. But capitulation will be the order of the day because of the traitorous ECB and ACB. I suspect their sympathies are already with India. Particularly as they are about to launch the good ship city cricket. Which they are hoping for Indian players and Indian tv rights. It will be revealing to watch the usual suspects demand capitulation to India for their own self interest. Paging 39, paging 39.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sean B April 28, 2017 / 10:37 pm

      Thanks Mark, very interesting points and I think we agree on the whole. The only 2 bits I would potentially take up firstly, the fact that India could ban overseas players. I think they’d be shooting themselves in the foot, as quite possibly another T20 could pop up and offer similar money. The Indian public aren’t going to celebrate Dwayne Bravo and Brad Haddin for too long.

      On the second point, India may try to launch a 2nd IPL, but again without star players, tv sponsors will be hard to attract at there current level. Although Test Cricket isn’t well attended on the whole in India a lot of people still watch it on TV, hence the cost of broadcasting rights.

      I might be very wrong, but if you choke off the sponsorship opportunities, then India is in the same place as the rest of us.

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      • Mark April 29, 2017 / 10:07 am

        While I agree Sean that they are unlikely to ban overseas players from the IPL, for self interest they might do as a weapon. Think about it? They have much deeper pockets so can last out a lot longer.

        And think of all the poor players from around the world who would be paraded in the media to whine about how their income has gone down, and its so unfair, and they have their private school fees to pay for their kids, and why doesn’t the ECB just do what India want, and all would be great in the world.

        I’m sure our cricket media would give them endless amounts of free air time to moan and complain at how unjust it all is. Of course great emphasis would be put on the fan. The poor fan is losing out. India would bet on the pressure forcing a climb down, and agreeing to their demands.

        But who knows?………

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  3. Dennis-ul-Haq (@DennisCricket_) April 29, 2017 / 1:10 am

    Fair to also criticise Giles but not Sutherland. The CA board made the call, not Sutherland. Reality is that if India pull out of Champions Trophy, it will continue and the cricket world will isolate India. The players and fans won’t allow that to happen for long.

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    • Sean B April 29, 2017 / 1:25 am

      Fair enough, who made the call for CA to join the Big 3, I presumed it was Sutherland (but could well be wrong).

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    • Mark April 29, 2017 / 9:06 am

      I wouldn’t bet money Dennis on India’s fans coming round to our view very quickly. And, Even if they do, it might take years to have any effect.

      The country in currently engulfed at the moment in a deep nationalism stirred up by Modi the PM. Any attempt to challenge India will be met with fierce flag waving and nationalism.

      I would like to think that the cricket world will unite to isolate India if they don’t back down, but money talks, and particularly to money mad people who sit on the boards of the ECB and The ACB.

      On a lighter note. I thought the question on your podcast about which female cricketer Shane Warne follows on Twitter was the funniest thing I heard all week!

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  4. Grenville April 29, 2017 / 7:40 am

    I can’t work out how revenue should be be shared. That India generates the vast majority of the revenue doesn’t mean that the BCCI should receive most of the cash. That is like saying I should get the money because I can get it. However, the BCCI must have bigger costs and cricket needs to be strong in India. On those grounds India should receive a big proportion of the loot. On those grounds, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan should be awarded a good whack. Asia is poorer and has vastly more cricket. All of which is a long winded way of saying that the ECH need to take more blame. They are, quite clearly, grabbing as much as they can for themselves when the BCCI is week.

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    • Mark April 29, 2017 / 9:46 am

      Sporting rights are completely different from normal business ventures because how ever big and powerful you are, you still need someone to play against. And that someone needs to be half decent otherwise the whole sporting pastime becomes pointless. Tesco don’t need Sainsburys to continue doing business. They can do very fine without them. Of course competition helps to keep them all on their toes. But supermarket chains don’t have to play against their competitors. They can continue their business without ever having any contact with each other.

      Even in the entertainment industry peformance is the key. A musical act will go on stage on their own, and sell tickets to their fans. Adele doesn’t have to play against anybody. She can travel the world performing to her own fans. But Man U and India need someone to play against, no matter how big they are. In fact the very point of sport is to have someone to play against.

      When all these football owners boast about revenues, and brand strength and position, and all the other cobblers of business political correctness they forget they need rivals otherwise their model is junk. Last year Leicester won the premiership title and broke the monopoly of the big Giants that had dominated football for the last 25 years. Most fans ( except Spurs fans) thought it was good. But it only happened because the revenues have been shared out in a way that allows Leiceter to compete. But don’t think the big boys want to see that happen again. If it does they will look to change the financial model. In time the Premiership Giants will sell their own tv rights to their own fans. They all have their own tv stations now, and it won’t be long before the likes of Sky could be bypassed. Good luck if you are Watford or Bournmouth trying to keep up.

      Crickets problem is there are already very few nations who play the game at the highest level, and the ones that do need to stay competitive. Otherwise the sport dies out. India needs a stong group of competitors to compete against even if they don’t seem to understand this. Otherwise you may get rich now, but the game will be dead in a decade.

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  5. SimonH April 29, 2017 / 9:24 am

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    • Mark April 29, 2017 / 9:54 am

      Well, they could do what the banks have done and print unlimited amounts of paper (digital) money to prop themselves up. And in doing so engulf everyone else in debt.

      “Sell a kidney, so you can still afford a Sky package.”….. Could be a sales slogan?

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  6. Riverman21 April 29, 2017 / 9:53 am

    Hi Sean. Thanks for an interesting read.
    Cricket administration has never been of much interest to me either but coincidentally i have been rereading Gideon Haighs book Sphere of Influence this week which in light of recent events is even more enlightening on how we are where we are.

    FWIW Cricket seems to have 2 paths ahead. Bend over and do everything the BCCI wants as they have the access and money from the biggest viewing market or go and spread the game around the world. Bear in mind that India is now majoring on t20 so appears to have little to no interest in 50 over cricket or test matches.

    Personally i think we could do a lot worse than have one off tests or a one day tournament vs Ireland and Afghanistan as part of a spread the word campaign.

    Money and tv deals are winning out now but may not in the future. The money may dry up. Over saturation. Who knows? The current incident you have written about could be an interesting signpost to the future.

    Have a great weekend everyone.

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  7. SimonH April 29, 2017 / 9:54 am

    I posted some links and some thoughts on this as the story was breaking at the end of the ‘Guest Post – Bowled ‘im’ thread (if anyone’s interested and hasn’t noticed them).

    Here’s one I’ve found since, Sunil Gavaskar:

    http://www.hindustantimes.com/cricket/india-within-rights-to-boycott-icc-champions-trophy-says-sunil-gavaskar/story-qIFA3wnGRANZ5SCmffSdzI.html

    His arguments boil down to “we’ll win the court case” (by the way, anyone know which court would hear it?) and “we pay five times as much”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark April 29, 2017 / 10:23 am

      Absolutely no surprise to hear Gavaskars views. I like him as a man, but he is very one eyed as far as Indian cricket is concerned. It just smacks of might makes right. Exactly what I have been saying above.

      Keep your money Sunni, and play against yourselves in more meangless domestic cricket. What a shame you would sacrifice your best players test careers for a few more $’s

      As far as actual cricket (as opposed to money) India would not be a big loss to Test cricket. They are only good in their own country. (I know in recent years you could say the same about England)
      Their last few visits here have been a damp squid. If it wasn’t for the intrigue of The Cook captaincy in 2014, the series was very poor. And prior to that it was 4-0. Dam, we even beat them in India a few years ago. I know, I know we just got stuffed 4-0 in India, but not many England fans would miss that. Pakistan gave a much more interesting series last year. (Not that will always be the case.

      Perhaps we could have 5 test series against New Zealand and SA on a more regular basis? (The ECBs commercial department just threw up in disgust at this idea) happy days!

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  8. SimonH April 29, 2017 / 11:34 am

    I know protocol demands that one reaches a view on this and trumpets it from the roof-tops but I think the media analysis of this is so poor that we can’t reach an informed view at the moment.

    I’d make the following tentative observations:
    1) I agree with Grenville’s post above. I’d also second Riverman21’s recommendation of Haigh’s ‘Sphere of Influence’.
    2) Giles Clarke is involved so there should be an immediate assumption that something nefarious is going on. Quite what it is I’m not yet certain. At best, I think it may be part of his campaign to become ICC Chairman. I suspect Clarke was quite shocked to discover that fucking over everyone in 2014 led to nobody supporting his candidacy for the post (India would always back their own man and everyone else hated him). This and other measures like touring Bangladesh and trying to restore international cricket to Pakistan may be an attempt to build a coalition of support for his bid for the chairmanship (probably in July). At worst, it’s cynical exploitation of the BCCI’s current weakness to win more dosh. Which leads me on to….
    3) There’s a distinction between supporting a goal (more equitable distribution of ICC revenue which I wholeheartedly support) and the means used to achieve it. I taught Politics for quarter of a century and know that lofty goals sometimes need low means (the film ‘Lincoln’ makes that point very well). But if you’re in a small room with an elephant with an already sore head, I can’t help feeling isolating and humiliating that elephant is something that is going to have payback down the line, Maybe this was the only way – or maybe humiliating his opponent is hard-wired in Clarke’s DNA? It’s a very, very dangerous game they’re playing.
    4) We all know there is a long-term agenda to drive down the amount of Test cricket being played (remember the BCCI have been blocking four-day Tests and 35 Tests a year). We also know that the ECB and CA have major TV rights’ renewals due imminently. Quite how this all ties together I don’t understand – but I suspect there are hidden agendas aplenty here.

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  9. SimonH April 29, 2017 / 12:35 pm

    18 international cricketers playing in the Notts/Yorks game in our fifty-over “priority” format – and Sky aren’t showing it and Notts can’t even stream it because Sky have the rights.

    Another day of English cricket under the ECB-Sky nexus…..

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    • LordCanisLupus April 29, 2017 / 4:24 pm

      Noticed this from Rob Moody – the cricket video king – today re his request for which innings to put up.

      Growing the game by keeping everything under wraps. It makes me bloody sick. I have loads and loads of cricket but wouldn’t dare to upload them for these reasons. It’s not as if I can access them from an ECB site or anything like that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark April 29, 2017 / 4:37 pm

        The copyright terrorists are increasingly destroying everything they touch. Competition is being killed for a rentier model of economy. It creates monopolies and kills innovation.

        Alongside over zealous patent laws it is returning society to a master/ surf rule. Welcome to the new Middle ages.

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        • LordCanisLupus April 29, 2017 / 5:34 pm

          The innings mentioned above Rob’s thread is the Smith fourth innings against us in 2008 at Edgbaston. It’s interesting because Smith was out at least once, maybe twice, and there was no DRS. The remainder of his innings, and that of Boucher to see them home, was a masterclass of pressure batting. W

          However, if given out, as he should have been, where would we be now? The 94 KP made, in a terrific partnership with a struggling Paul Collingwood who made a century, would be remembered for fuelling a brilliant comeback, and not for trying to smash a six to reach his hundred off Paul Harris. Michael Vaughan might have remained as captain with a series tying victory under his belt. KP may not have been made skipper, who knows? Moores might have survived that wobble? And maybe the Cook shot to get out in that second innings would be even less remembered than it is today, which is hardly at all.

          Rob is wrong, there is some footage.

          Cook’s dismissal…33 minutes in. Warning…. #39 on commentary.

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      • SimonH April 29, 2017 / 6:32 pm

        Smith got a glove on to his pad and was caught by the keeper off Panesar but there was hardly any appeal – if I remember rightly.

        One of my favourite stats is Smith holding the record for match-winnng fourth innings’ centuries by captains:

        http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?captain=1;class=1;filter=advanced;innings_number=4;orderby=batted_score;qualmin1=100;qualval1=batted_score;result=1;template=results;type=batting;view=innings

        He has four; only Ponting of any other captain in Test history has more than one. Smith’s century in Perth when SA chased down over 400 was an unbelievable piece of batting.

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      • RufusSG April 30, 2017 / 10:46 am

        I can provide a bit more context here. In June 2013, without warning, the ECB blocked around 80 videos from England matches from Rob’s channel and told him they intended to terminate every video featuring an England player (this included stuff like Trescothick’s 180 and 219, Vaughan’s 156 and 166, you get the idea). He sent them a few emails asking questions about this, but nothing happened until February 2014 when they suddenly reinstated all the videos without any copyright strikes or content matches against his channel.

        As a precaution should they decide to clamp down on him again, he no longer uploads stuff from fairly recent England matches, which is sad – I was half hoping to convince him to put up Flintoff’s 142 and 95 against South Africa, and Rob Key’s 221, some day as surprisingly there’s nothing that I can find. It’s why I started collecting cricket matches privately, there’s just so little stuff that’s easily available thanks to the cricket boards’ ludicrously protective nature over their footage (the BCCI are even worse than the ECB, Rob can’t dare upload stuff from most Indian matches as they’ve blocked plenty of his stuff in the past).

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        • LordCanisLupus May 1, 2017 / 11:52 am

          RSG

          Thanks for this background. It’s certainly put some of the issues into context, but I’m still one that believes that for a non-commercial venture, like myself, or a Rob, if we are uploading cricket to the web, we are celebrating a sport and bringing the moments to the people, and in essence, acting as free advertising. The powers that be have no intention of monetising it, so why prevent someone else from celebrating the sport. I have immense amounts I could upload, but just don’t.

          MLB used to take this line, and even they relaxed their stance to a degree. The NBA allows people to upload classic games, or any games, because they recognise it grows the sport worldwide. To prevent it, if it is non-commercial sites, is short-sighted, pig-headed and arrogant. It is OUR game, not their’s.

          Liked by 1 person

      • RufusSG May 1, 2017 / 1:17 pm

        Whilst cricket is one of the most heavily copyright restricted sports out there (soccer is the only one that I can see gets taken down more regularly) it should be noted that there are a few noble exceptions. New Zealand Cricket (and their broadcasters Sky Sport NZ) almost never take down even the most recent New Zealand home matches, which is why highlights from those games are often a lot easier to find. Stuff from the countries where Ten Sports are the host broadcasters (Pakistan/UAE, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, and the West Indies) also survive for a long time on YouTube, so I think their boards and Ten themselves are reasonably lax as well. Many of these countries also allow for official decent-length highlights on the YouTube channel of SonyLIV, another third-party broadcaster, and Sri Lanka Cricket (as poorly run a board as it normally is) often put highlights of their home games, and recently even a few domestic games, on their own YouTube channel.

        I’ll give credit where it’s due, since these boards are considerably more enlightened towards access than the rest. The BCCI (or Star Sports) even make claims on old Indian matches, whether home or away, from the 1990s, for crying out loud.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Mark April 29, 2017 / 5:31 pm

      I’m sure it has nothing to do with Sky showing the IPL.

      Got to get our priorities right. Can’t have some English county game on when the India premiership is playing.

      Liked by 1 person

    • AB April 30, 2017 / 11:38 am

      In sky’s defense, they are showing an appalling game of IPL drivel, the Chinese superleague and women’s netball from new zealand, along with several repeats of “sporting rivalries”

      Which would you drop for the cricket?

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      • Mark April 30, 2017 / 12:25 pm

        It’s a tough choice isnt it?

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  10. AB April 30, 2017 / 7:39 am

    Just ban India from all international cricket for ten years. If necessary, remove all Indian players from the historic records. MCC to change the laws of cricket to state it can’t be played in India.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. SimonH April 30, 2017 / 9:05 am

    If there was a schism between India and the rest, I don’t think India would just settle for playing domestic T20. I think they’d set up a rival governing body and we’d be back into the world of rebel tours. A kind of Kerry Packer on turbo-chargers scenario….

    Go on, who doesn’t have a slight smirk at the thought of Berry or Newman’s reaction when Srini (or whoever) unveils “the new touring England All-Stars and their captain A******r C**k…..”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH April 30, 2017 / 9:40 am

      This would be a fun rebel England XI made up of players who might be tempted (through age, uncertainty of selection or who India might be willing to throw vast sums of money at):

      Cook, Compton/Hales, Root/Trott, Pietersen (c), Bell, Stokes, Buttler, Rashid, Broad, Anderson, Panesar/Finn.

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      • thebogfather April 30, 2017 / 11:08 am

        Would Alice dare Cook?
        To ignore the record book
        Where Sachin’s Test records are in (far) sight…
        Or would he ever really
        Finally show himself as ‘Steely’
        By calling out the ECB as c’nuts, as is right? 😉

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    • Mark April 30, 2017 / 10:13 am

      As far as India setting up their own rival governing body?

      The one benefit would be we wouldn’t have to pretend anymore that we have a genuine governing body who act for all. Instead we would all know that the new body was taking their orders from India.

      We could all then live in an open Indian cricket dictatorship instead of the pretence we have now. If we are going to live under Indian rule, lets at least be honest about it.

      We will have wait and see what happens, but if India continue to throw their weight around my bet is the rest of the world will capitulate. When that happens, we might as well shut down the ICC because it will be obvious to all that it is a meaningless institution. Giles Clarke can then retire to his oil fields, because his job will be redundant, and we will just let the BCCI issue its demands.

      I predict that we will see a couple of nations suddenly announce that they want to change their vote in favour of India. No reason will be given for this change, but then about six months later it will be announced that India will be touring those countries in a lucrative tv deal to the host nation.

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  12. Mark April 30, 2017 / 12:24 pm

    Oh boy, if you want to see the moral bankruptcy of Olie Holt watch MOTD2EXTRA to hear the great moral lecturer come to the defence of Joey Barton.

    Apparently deciding not to tour Bagladesh (after you have been given the choice by the ECB) is a crime so heinous that warrants Holt flying into the country to write a hit piece on Morgan that demands he be stripped of the captaincy for ever. Yet Barton, a serial offender on many issues breaks the governing bodies laws on betting, and there is Holt defending him, prime time on live TV. ( apart from the fact that betting on your team to lose is the greatest of offences because it calls into question the integrity of the event) Barton knew the rules, and yet there is Holt, a man who falls over himself excusing scumbag footballers claiming that it’s the FAs fault for being sponsored by a bookmaker.

    This is the morality of a moral Pygmy. As usual, Barton himself has tried to hide behind the same excuse with his usual pusedo fake intellectualism that seems to hood wink media clowns like Holt. Any footballer who is articulate always manages to convince the Olie Holt’s of the world that they are some sort of svengali that needs to be understood.

    At least Morgan didn’t go to Bangladesh and pretend to be trying to win. This would I guess have been quite acceptable in the Trumpton world Holt lives in? Once again another betting scandal is laughed off by the Footbal media, and we are told ….” Nothing to see here, isolated incident, boys will be boys, our game is not fixed…..move along.”

    Congratulations to Mark Chapman, for not letting Holt’s drivel pass without challenge, and making the case for the length of ban Barton has been given. Even Chris Sutton, an ex player seems to understand the concept of right and wrong more clearly than Holt. I do hope the BBC won’t be inviting Barton on as a pundit now he has been banned. He has nothing to say of any interest, and has been revealed to be a fake over and over again. The bigger question is why does anyone invite Holt on to say anything? Unless you want a Victorian freak show?

    Like

    • hatmallet April 30, 2017 / 10:14 pm

      Whoever the back pager columnist for The Sunday Times also defended Barton.

      The argument goes that he didn’t bet against his team games he played in, therefore had no influence. Problem is, that’s not necessarily the case. Though such a situation would be very unlikely (given the risks of doing so, and the comparably low returns vs footballers’ wages), he could have a quiet word in the ear of a more malleable teammate, offer a cut of the winnings.

      Like

    • SimonH May 1, 2017 / 11:14 am

      Oliver Holt is a lucky man. He is lucky to be born into a media-connected family in an era when connections matter more than talent.

      He is lucky to be employed by a paper feared by everyone with anything to lose in the UK.

      He is lucky to be taken seriously and not regarded as some sort of national laughing-stock or embarrassment.

      We all knew that Holt hated Morgan because he doesn’t sing the national anthem.

      We all knew that Holt article on Morgan was a pre-arranged takedown.

      We all knew the DM and ECB have been tag-teaming any England players whose faces don’t fit and who show signs of independent thought.

      We all knew Holt would appear to pontificate when some moral issue appeared in sport – and that he’d inevitably be on the wrong side. We all also knew his lovely cheeks wouldn’t see a razor for at least three days beforehand.

      We all knew that Holt draws his pay cheques from the most loathsome media organisation in the UK and yet feels free to give moral lectures to others.

      I’m not saying that Oliver Holt is an obnoxious pompous windbag, I’m just questioning his logic.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus May 1, 2017 / 11:22 am

        Oliver Holt, who borderline worshiped Sir Alex, came out with this moral drivel yesterday:

        Oh no doubt he can point to criticising Roy Keane, or a few CR7 dives, but Snide was all for pushing refs to the edge with his clock watching, intimidation etc.

        The moral high ground is surrounded by many a slippery slope.

        Like

      • Mark May 1, 2017 / 12:36 pm

        Holt has always had a blind spot when it comes to idiot footballers. He seems to make it his life’s work to “understand” them. He has run defence for their antics for years, and was part of that new generation of Hold the back page writers who gave the impression they were part of the footballers world. Aping their appearance. I think I’m right that he even appeared once on the show wearing an Alice band that was all the fashion of some his long haired footballing idols of the time. It’s was sports version of rock and roll.

        You’re right about his deep long admiration for Ferguson. Of course Sir Alex was incredibly successful, but he pushed the envelope beyond the limits of decency. Playing the refs, and the FA at all times. There was always some dark conspiracy against his team. But Holt would always turn a blind eye. Like his colleges they would all giggle when one of them was thrown out of a Ferguson press conference.

        It’s this obsession to be one of their gang that makes him look so ludicrous over Barton. Joey Barton plays the media game. And he knows how to play fools like Holt. A big media presence on Twitter where he interacts with these tame journos. Barton goes on tv wearing a Bob Dylan shirt or quotes a line of a Dylan song and the football pundits convince themselves that Barton must has some inner depth to him. So when Barton once again gets in trouble, out come the higher priests like Holt of the church of the Daily Mail to demand restraint and understanding. Nothing they love more than a sinner who repents. It’s almost biblical. “Barton admitted his guilt” swoons Holt. Well, he couldn’t real do anything else seeing as the evidence is there in black and white.. Namely, a bookmakers account which must have been linked to Barton’s bank account. Not much point denying it.

        But when it comes to other sports Holt turns into the Spanish Inquisition. Tennis players, cricketers, boxers who don’t toe the line then the long wagging finger of morality comes out. The blatant hypocrisy is quite shocking but not surprising. His latest attack is on the tennis player Sharapova who has returned after a drug ban but who it seems has not been humble enough and grovelling enough to Holt’s own industry. If you read his latest column you would think her biggest crime was not showing enough respect to one of Holt’s fellow journalists. ( they stick together and protect each other do these journos. )

        It should be remembered that Sharapova was found guilty of using a drug that for most of he career was legal. No defence of course when it was made illegal. But it’s hardly up there with Lance Armstrong. But her biggest crime it would appear in Holt’s eyes is she hasn’t been humble enough. Unlike dear old Joey who admits his guilt. But then writes a sly column blaming the FA for having bookmakers for sponsors. You can get away with this stuff when you have the likes of Holt running your PR campaign. If only Sharapova would open up to an interview with Holt, he would probably find his biblical repent pen. If only Morgan had apologised for not singing the national anthem?

        Like

      • Northern Light May 1, 2017 / 6:18 pm

        “I’m not saying that Oliver Holt is an obnoxious pompous windbag”

        Why not? Nobody here is afraid of the truth!

        Like

      • SimonH May 1, 2017 / 6:33 pm

        I wasn’t saying it in the same way Holt wasn’t calling Morgan a coward!

        Like

  13. SimonH May 1, 2017 / 9:28 am

    Mark’s shadow has reappeared:

    Has anyone found the methodology of this poll yet? Booth was asked by Tregaskis and singualrly failed to answer the points about who was asked and the sample size. Reducing a complex debate into for/against is hopeless. I’d be for a revamped NWB or a complete switch to a new tournament, I regard 22% FTA as pathetic and I hate some of the rules for the player draft. How am I meant to express those ideas as “for” or “against” the new tournament?

    If Booth and the editor of ‘The Cricketer’ are so keen on on-line polls, I look forward to seeing them quoting the current Cricinfo poll that shows (last time I looked) that 70% of respondents don’t want the amount of international cricket cut to make way for T20 domestic competitions (which #39 has made very explicit is exactly what he wants – at least he understands some of the implications of what he’s supporting which I don’t see from Booth).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mark May 1, 2017 / 10:45 am

      Ha ha ha

      How many followers do I have on Twitter? Not many I bet!

      I love the avatar of an old man in a egg and bacon blazer. It would appear that is what they think I represent. I think they are a little confused. Although these days anyone who opposes the ECBs brave new world is portrayed as an old duffer with a stupid blazer.

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus May 1, 2017 / 10:54 am

        Looked at it the other day to see if he was still going. I think his followers number single figures.

        Like

  14. SimonH May 1, 2017 / 9:51 am

    I really hope this is indeed the choice – but am deeply suspicious that growing the game truly is the agenda of the ECB and CA. If Clarke really is a covert to that ideal, why is the obnoxious ten-team format for 2019 still in place?

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus May 1, 2017 / 7:54 pm

      Stokes makes a ton and the IPL has been totes worth it.

      I’m in the wrong game.

      Like

  15. Mark May 1, 2017 / 2:31 pm

    Newman’s latest column is a classic in the “access” style genre we have come to know and love so well. A player is put up to talk (in this case Liam Plunket) and the piece pretends it’s a profile of said player, but really it’s a thinly disguised bit of puff so said player can say nice things about England’s management. In this case…. Trevor Bayliss. What would be news, is if an England player ever gives an interview when he doesn’t say how wonderful his bosses or captain are.

    I was interested in this bit by Newman……”It has been quite a journey for a man who made his debut under Duncan Fletcher just after the fabled Ashes triumph of 2005 but who has endured far too many setbacks until fulfilling his potential just before it was too late.”

    The dictionary definition of “fabled ” is “famous especially by reputation.” However, it also means….. “mythical, imaginary.” One would assume that he means the first definition, but such is the sneering of that series by the powers that be one wonders? Plunket pays compliments to both Bayliss and Fletcher, but there’s a whiff of an authors frame that it’s the current management that have got the best out of the player.

    Probably me just being pedantic.

    Like

    • RufusSG May 1, 2017 / 2:53 pm

      In fairness, Plunkett was often extremely erratic in his initial outings as an international cricketer, although he was admittedly only 20-21 and very raw. Given the consistently decent performances he’s put in since his return in 2014 (under Peter Moores, intriguingly!), I think it’s pretty fair to argue that Bayliss’ management has got the best out of him. Whether it’s to further a wider agenda is anyone’s guess.

      Like

  16. SimonH May 2, 2017 / 9:26 am

    Having heard from Vaughan and what he can’t do, here’s what Mr Mental Fragility can do that no-one else qualified for England can:

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus May 2, 2017 / 10:19 am

      Nasser was making it clear that Rashid and Panesar were bowlers who didn’t set their own fields. Ergo the very clear inference was they were not confident in their own ability and strength of mind.

      What did Adil do? I’ve seen nothing like it.

      Like

  17. SimonH May 2, 2017 / 3:41 pm

    Love NL’s comment under the latest dollop of Bull-crap!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark May 2, 2017 / 8:03 pm

      “The organising committee has found the size of the boundary complies with the International Cricket Council’s minimum requirements. ”

      And that just about sums it up. Minimum requirements! Festival of cricket? My arse. Eng Vs Aus followed up by India Vs Pakistan. Still chasing the Asian £ I see. They don’t even try to hide it. It’s not a festival but a money extraction excercise. Knowing the ECB they will probably screw up the ticket prices.

      What next? Everyone has to wear a bow tie that goes round and round? A comedian comes on at half time with a catchphrase? …….”Garlic bread, it’s the future, I’m telling yer!”

      It’s getting to the point where it would be kinder, and more humane to put the dear old game out of its misery rather than suffer this freak show.

      Well done Northern light for the comment that the 60,000 fans will be more than those watching on Sky.

      Like

      • Mark May 2, 2017 / 10:12 pm

        They lost me at ……….”whoever you might be.”

        It’s not even personally addressed to the said new player. You are of no real importance. Just a number. Some bright bulb in an “agency” of some description has written this drivel probably after consulting a focus group. And someone on a six figure salary has gone “wow, cool.”

        “Do this and you will be one of us.” …….Not if you are from the wrong type of family.

        “We’ll teach you, protect you” …..Not if your face doesn’t fit

        ” guide and welcome you” ……Not if your name is KP

        “This is England” no, This is bullshit.

        Like

      • SimonH May 3, 2017 / 8:26 am

        1. ODIs
        2. T20s
        3. Tests

        Tell me that’s a coincidence…..

        Liked by 1 person

      • Julie May 3, 2017 / 10:24 am

        Only the England team could come up with something as ludicrous as this. What sort of intelligence is the ECB breeding at the moment. Would be laughing like an idiot if it wasn’t so sad.😲😲😲

        Like

      • RufusSG May 3, 2017 / 11:31 am

        I know it’s obviously a bit of marketing nonsense and fluff, but crikey, it hardly merits this level of scorn. Sports teams all over the world have rubbish like this stuck to the walls as motivational tools, yeah they rarely have any effect in reality on professional sportsmen but the thought behind them’s nice.

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus May 3, 2017 / 12:02 pm

          It does given what has gone before. Absolutely it does.

          File this under “respectfully disagree”.

          Liked by 2 people

      • RufusSG May 3, 2017 / 2:04 pm

        Fair enough, filed it is. Mind you, the state of new T20 kit: now that has definitely got me apoplectic, it looks awful.

        Like

      • Mark May 3, 2017 / 3:40 pm

        I don’t know why you bother with this site Rufuss because you always show up to take the side of the ECB. Almost everyone of your posts is some sort of defence (however lame)

        It usally goes something like this…….”while I can understand your concern, and it doesn’t look good……….the poor old ECB are not to blame ” Or
        “I think it is a slight exaggeration to say………Blah blah”

        I don’t speak for this site, and I know they like differnt views so I will probably get in trouble for saying this…….but why do you bother? You know this site has a certain view of the ECB (most of which we have been proved right about) and the ICC, and most of the cricket writers. This is why we call ourselves outside. You are obviously inside cricket, and side on almost everything with the ECB, the England management the England captain, ( judging by your constant criticising of the arguments put here.)

        It seems like a form of trolling to me, albeit a very mild and polite trolling. You seem to disagree with pretty much all of this sites entire contents. So why bother? Nothing wrong with opposite views, but you take the opposite position on almost every issue that we discuss………. so I wonder why you bother coming to visit us at all?

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus May 3, 2017 / 3:57 pm

          Don’t mind RSG to be honest. He has not done the thing that makes me most angry which is misrepresent me to look good to their echo chamber. One of those has stopped and I’m prepared to move on if he does. The other? Beyond redemption.

          Nice to have views challenged.

          Liked by 2 people

      • AB May 3, 2017 / 3:47 pm

        Its like a poem written by an incredibly pretentious 10 year old. Its utter gibberish. A series of trite clichés and bizarre ramblings. It doesn’t rhyme (foregiveable), it doesn’t scan (unforgiveable). Its grammatically incoherent, with capital letters and full-stops scattered throughout, but no actual sentences. The content is dreary, unimaginative, nauseating.

        It doesn’t even make fucking sense.

        “You’re on the first step to a never-ending flight of stairs to success” implies that success will never be reached, because the climb required to reach it is “never-ending”. Do you think this is what they intended?

        Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus May 3, 2017 / 3:58 pm

          Writing it was silly enough. But making it public. What did they think? A round of applause?

          Like

      • Mark May 3, 2017 / 4:20 pm

        Quite mild!

        I thought I would get a bigger telling off boss.

        Like

  18. thebogfather May 3, 2017 / 2:09 pm

    In other news…. Mr 677 has been thrashed and surpassed by ‘BeingOutsideCricket’ reaching 700 not out in followers! Congrats to LCL, Leggy, SeanB et al!

    Like

    • quebecer May 3, 2017 / 3:36 pm

      “Legend” Mike Gatting??? Legend in his own lunchtime, perhaps.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mark May 3, 2017 / 4:10 pm

      Why is 39 even in the picture? Is he on the board of ECB? Is he on the board of the MCC? I thought he was journalist. Isn’t his job to cover events like this? Not be part of them.

      It always baffles me why they get the Royal family down to open a new stand or new building or whatever at Lords. The Royals never seem to come down and watch cricket outside these official engagements. Harry and William are always at the Rugby. I don’t blame them for not attending. If you don’t like cricket I can understand why you wouldn’t go unless it is some special occasion.

      I just find the cringing, desperate grovelling of the ECB to appeal to a bunch of people who don’t seem to even like the game a bit strange. I wonder how much, if any tax payers money or lottery cash was used to help fund the new stand?

      Like

      • SimonH May 4, 2017 / 9:11 am

        I’ve been trying to look up how many times #39 played for Middlesex but the info doesn’t appear available on-line.

        He played 11 seasons for them (leaving the year after his benefit).

        Modern players who played more for Middlesex and don’t appear in the picture: Graham Barlow (17 seasons), Mike Brearley (22), Keith Brown (14), Roland Butcher (16), John Carr (13), Norman Cowans (13), Jamie Dalrymple (12), Phil Edmonds (21), John Emburey (22), David Nash (14), Clive Radley (23), Mark Ramprakash (13), Owais Shah (14), Phil Tufnell (16), Paul Weekes (16), Neil Williams (12). There are probably others I’ve missed. Most of these possibly even believe cricket has more of a future than #39 does (why Hughes hasn’t been ostracised and lambasted for those writings about cricket’s lack of a future I don’t know – unless his views are shared by those in power).

        Just another day in the cosy administrator/media nexus that is driving English cricket into the ground….

        Liked by 1 person

      • d'Arthez May 4, 2017 / 3:43 pm

        Think Cricketarchives may have the information, but it is a sign-up service now.

        Like

  19. SimonH May 3, 2017 / 3:06 pm

    Tim Wigmore seems the only British journalist awake to this –

    Like

    • Mark May 3, 2017 / 4:19 pm

      Money is also a high risk area for match fixing. As cricket moves more and more into 20/20 for big money returns the likelihood of match fixing will reemerge in my view.

      Not that the jounalists seem to understand this judging by the desire to excuse or sympathise with Joey Barton. ” we don’t have a problem” is the usual cry. Same with drugs.

      Like

      • d'Arthez May 3, 2017 / 6:23 pm

        Mark, England solved that problem, by simply having practically 0 doping tests for all the players (if memory serves, 128 last year, of which exactly 0 were for the women) – and given that England has more than 400 professional players, of whom about 40-50 must have represented the country in 2016 alone (across formats), Alastair Cook could practically grow boobs if he wanted to, before the ECB might realize there is a problem with their doping stance.

        Like

  20. RufusSG May 3, 2017 / 7:07 pm

    I’ll clarify that no, I don’t visit here and comment just to get angry or concern troll, since I consider that a complete waste of time: on the contrary, I like and genuinely enjoy visiting this site precisely because I know my views are probably different to the majority here. The long-form articles are always superbly written, and all the people who’ve contributed here do a great job on a variety of topics. As someone who aspires to be a professional writer himself, I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t taken note of a few things about writing style. I certainly don’t wish to misrepresent anyone’s position.

    Besides, at their core many of my cricketing opinions are identical to those commonly expressed on these pages. I certainly don’t wish to be labelled an ECB apologist: I don’t deny for a second that the ECB is an exceptionally poorly run organisation, full of many weak, useless, and often downright contemptible individuals, that operates with a alarming lack of transparency and too often prioritising making a sack of cash than actually bettering the game for those involved in playing or watching it. The schedule England’s top players are forced to adhere to is utter insanity, and I’m amazed more long-term injuries haven’t been suffered as a result. I think the same of the ICC (whose treatment of non-test nations is a complete disgrace), Cricket Australia, BCCI and all of cricket’s major players. I also agree that, with a few admirable exceptions, cricket journalism these days isn’t anything special, and that too many treat those who rely on them for honest reporting on the people running the sport they love as if they are idiots who should know their place instead of asking reasonable questions. The fact that so little cricket is on terrestrial televison, whilst it would not solve every problem cricket has, is a complete tragedy.

    And, yes, whilst I don’t wish to reduce the work of this site to this one issue: the sacking, and the ECB’s subsequent handling, of Kevin Pietersen was a complete farce from start to finish, and everyone who asked questions of it was treated with totally uncalled for contempt and disdain from the powers that be. And, I agree, Alastair Cook’s conduct was not above reproach in the whole affair – the “so-called friend” fiasco I found especially unimpressive. I can’t bring myself to actively hold contempt for him, since – as with Pietersen – I’m ultimately more concerned with the runs he makes, but he isn’t even close to being a saint by a long shot.

    All I differ on is the underlying cynicism. I obviously don’t want “cynicism” here to be mixed up with “making any criticisms of those inside cricket”. I know that many of you have either given up completely, or are getting close to doing so, on their genuine love of cricket for reasons mainly related to how those inside it have treated those outside it. I get it. There is much about modern cricket that I despise and resent, especially with how it is governed. I do genuinely worry about its long-term future at all levels.

    I’ve been following cricket with a passion for around twelve years now, since the age of eight when I saw England play Bangladesh on Channel 4 in 2005. I still have a newspaper cutting of the match report from the thrilling 2005 NatWest Series final, the first game I ever listened to on TMS, stored away in my bedroom. The Ashes, and that whole wonderful summer, only poured more fuel on those embers, and it’s been my love ever since. Of course, I know that’s peanuts: many of you have followed the game for several decades longer than I, and been through harder times than most following England and their various travails. You have invested way more money into following England, by going to watch them lose in Adelaide or buying crappy overpriced beer, than I can even start to comprehend. You’ve earned the right to be cynical, and the hoopla around T20 franchise tournament is a perfect example of how cricket administration treats its existing, long-standing, dedicated fans so contemptibly poorly in pursuit of a few more they may not even get.

    But despite all of this, I still eagerly await every game at county, domestic, international level with the same enthusiasm as I did twelve years ago, and I’ll do so for the next fifty and more if I can. I still find enjoyment in a Joe Root century, a James Anderson inswinger, a Kohli cover-drive, a de Villiers whatever-the-hell-you-call-it. Even, yes, a Cook leave. For all of modern cricket’s deep and worrying problems, there is still so much great stuff to delight in and enjoy. The reason why I continue to care, and enjoy watching cricket played at whatever level and whatever teams are involved, is best summed up by a Gideon Haigh quote from DOAG that probably isn’t the one you’re thinking of:

    “I’ll tell you where cricket is in twenty years: it’s out there. ‘Cause I’m still playing it. It’s the player’s game. And they’ll take me out of here in a box, ’cause I think it’s the best game in the world.”

    Administrators can do their worst, journalists can write what they like, media men can obfuscate –
    but cricket is always the player’s game, the spectator’s game, our game, and always will be.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sean B May 3, 2017 / 7:16 pm

      I don’t think any of us want this to be an echo chamber and I certainly enjoy listening to other people’s side of the story as it’d be a boring old life if we agreed on everything. The one thing I can’t stand is people forcing opinions down my throat as we saw with the KP fall out. It’s fine to disagree with any opinion as long as it is constructive and resort to name calling (see The Guardian BTL if you want an example of that).

      Glad you enjoy visiting and contributing to the blog.

      Like

      • Sean B May 3, 2017 / 7:17 pm

        Should be doesn’t resort to name calling!

        Like

      • LordCanisLupus May 3, 2017 / 8:18 pm

        I love the comments a lot more than I do writing the pieces. If this blog loses the comments then it loses its purpose, in my eyes. I love how they veer off at tangents, how daily news interjects into the threads, almost random, a little all over the place. It’s the fun of the place. It’s also what keeps others on their toes.

        If I want someone sorted out, you’ll know!

        Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus May 3, 2017 / 7:25 pm

      Thanks for all this RSG. I don’t think any court in the land is going to find me innocent of the crime of “cynicism”. There’s a bit more than circumstantial evidence on this site for that. I would say, and judging by this I’m around a generation older than you, that cynicism came to the fore with THAT decision. I’m not saying that Stanford didn’t leave me questioning my sanity, and the nonsense around KP and Moores at the end of 2008/9 wasn’t a media clusterf*ck, but to do that after that tour was the shining moment. I couldn’t be blindly beholden to these guys any more.

      But I do care about cricket, because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be doing this. My contempt grows with every passing day. Strauss, Harrison, Graves and Clarke are the main reasons these days, but there’s plenty to go round.

      Keep going sir. As I said on my earlier message, written on my phone on the train home, it’s people misrepresenting me that pissed me off. The vicariously offended, the slag me off on their twitter feed, but not on here types. The threatening message types. They are the ones that cheese me off. Mark’s an old curmudgeon like me. It does the soul good to be challenged. Play the ball, not the man, and it’s all fine round here (when it comes to the bloggers and respondents – I’m not holding that rule against certain journos who gave up that right ages ago).

      Keep up the enthusiasm. Heaven knows we need some enthusiasm for the game round here!!!!

      Like

    • Grenville May 4, 2017 / 5:27 pm

      I like your comments, Rufus.

      Like

    • LordCanisLupus May 3, 2017 / 8:16 pm

      I read that earlier, and the similarities with cricket smack you between the eyes. The European Tour barely seems to touch Europe for long before its off to China, India, Malaysia, the Emirates, South Africa, Australia or wherever. The Ryder Cup are its Ashes. Sky has it, it has massively over-rated coverage in my eyes (for Nick Knight read Mark Roe) and the last bastion of free to air here was given up by the R&A because it needed the cash because the recreational game was in a right old state, and the European tour little better.

      All we need is for the Slams be to three set finals for the men and the shark has been jumped.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mark May 3, 2017 / 8:16 pm

      Oh dear, we are all being dumbed down to the attention span of a goldfish.

      Sport as a hobby vs sport as an entertainment. Better to play, than to watch. Not good for all the high paid sportsman.

      Like

  21. Mark May 3, 2017 / 7:51 pm

    There’s going to a thing on the coming of Packer on 5 live tonight after the football. People of my age have probably all heard it before , but I notice Ian Chappell has a piece up on Cricinfo about Packer and the problems leading up to its creation. Obviously the players were not getting anything like what they get paid now.

    However, with players in dispute with various boards, and the coming of non international franchise cricket the lessons of Packer may be worth looking at again. One of the reasons why the ECB have made a power grab for their own city based event is probably so as to keep control. The governing bodies are in danger of losing control of players and events. Who’s going to pay all the wages at the ECB if there is a reduction of international cricket?

    Like

    • Sean B May 3, 2017 / 7:55 pm

      Can heartily recommend the book ‘Howzat! Kerry Packer and the great cricket war” by Christopher Lee. Packer was a bit before my time, but the book is very good at describing what went on behind the scenes and the World Series itself.

      Like

      • Mark May 3, 2017 / 8:09 pm

        Interesting Sean, I might have a look at that. Tony Greig gave some very good interviews before he passed away. About how he was treated behind the scenes.

        Like

        • Sean B May 3, 2017 / 8:12 pm

          I personally thought it was very good, especially for someone who didn’t know much about Packer. There’s also quite a lot of detail on Packer’s manoeuvring behind the scenes, which I enjoyed.

          Like

  22. AB May 3, 2017 / 9:37 pm

    The England team are more successful than they were 20 years ago, but they’re much, much less likeable, and (arguably) not actually any better at cricket – its just that the standard of the other test nations has collapsed.

    I’d take the batting lineup of the mid 90s over the current lot any day of the week. Bowling is a bit more debatable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sean B May 3, 2017 / 9:52 pm

      Was thinking about that too the other day, so would I. Atherton, Stewart, OJ, Hick, Thorpe, Ramps, Ealham. Only Root, Stokes and possibly Bairstow get in my team…

      Like

      • AB May 4, 2017 / 12:23 pm

        The team of 1991 – who famously drew 2-2 with a peak West Indies – really had the potential to go on to test #1, if it hadn’t been for the rise of an incredibly strong Aussie team.

        I’ve also always rated the team that beat a top-notch South Africa side 2-1 in 1998 as every bit the equal of the 2005 team.

        Like

    • Mark May 4, 2017 / 9:33 am

      I think the 1990s players (particularly the batsman) are much maligned. As you say the standard of opposition, particularly the bowling attacks was far superior.

      I have heard Mike Atherton talk about his pride in trying to compete against these top class attacks. Obviously as a team they were mostly unsuccessful, but individually players like Atherton achieved individual achievements.

      I think Athertons record (taking into account who he was having to open against) is far greater than Cooks over rated 10,000 runs. The WI, and the Pakistan fast bowlers, The SA opening attack, and of course Athertons nemesis McGrath provided no easy series. And that’s before you get into the spinners. Look who sits at the top of the bowling wickets list.

      Like

    • Benny May 4, 2017 / 11:15 am

      I’m on board here too. I’ll nervously suggest that the management side of this has improved in many ways since that time. Still can’t believe that a decent management couldn’t make a success of Hick and Ramps.

      Like

  23. SimonH May 4, 2017 / 12:05 pm

    Not long now to this BCCI SGM. Twelve former players say there should be no boycott:

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/story/1096110.html

    Tendulkar’s often been accused of not using his status to back causes – but he’s done so here.

    “The BCCI is divided over the issue, with a faction strongly in favour of revoking the Members Participation Agreement with the ICC, which would rule India out of hosting and participating in all ICC tournaments until 2023, the end of the present rights cycle”.

    This is the nub of it – how big this faction is and who’s in it.

    Like

  24. Mark May 4, 2017 / 8:18 pm

    I’ve seen the future……….

    LIVE TENNIS TIE BREAK TENS……..Right now live on DAVE!

    They don’t bother with the games, , they just play the Tie breaks. Even DAVE can aford the tv rights……………for now.

    Like

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