Instead of winds of change, farts of failure

Sunday Times


THIS was to have been a story of challenges met with qualities not often attributed to cricket’s suits – intelligence and introspection, care and courage.

But little evidence that the winds of change are blowing was received from Edinburgh, where the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) annual conference ended on Saturday. Instead, we have farts of failure.

We expected something like the undoing of the Big Three – the hostile takeover in June 2014 of the world game by India, England and Australia – in favour of a deal that would do right by smaller countries like SA. No such luck: Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dumber remain obese in comparison to their peers. At least, for now.

The board was informed that a draft of a new constitution will be prepared … for consideration by the board at its October meetings,” an ICC release said.

We wondered whether a proposal to revive the World Test Championship, an idea that got as far as having its logo launched in Abu Dhabi in October 2013 (some have a set of whisky tumblers to prove it), would fly. It has stayed firmly grounded: a crashed test dummy.

We were hopeful that the irrelevant humdrum that is bilateral one-day cricket would be herded into a league to at least make it mean something. It was not: the hum will drum on irrelevantly.

We thought we would see measurable progress in the debate over The Future, otherwise known as day/night tests. It was not to be: forget the future.    

Many would have shuddered at the mooted thought of moving the World T20 from its current quadrennial schedule to a biennial arrangement. Fear not fogies: you won’t have to fake giggles at all that hitting twice as often as currently.

According to the release, “more detail is needed before any final decisions can be made” about the future shape of cricket’s calendar.

And all that after no less a suit than Anurag Thakur, since May the president of the game’s most powerful organisation, the Board of Control for Cricket in India, told us on social media that he had “discussed event calendar, cricket structure, cricket committee recommendations, use of technology and overall promotion of the sport”.

Thakur and his ilk had been at it since last Monday, time enough you would think to set at least one reasonably sized idea into purposeful motion. That they did not do so only made the cancellation of a press conference planned for yesterday seem all the more pathetic.

In lieu of answering questions face to face the ICC fluttered that press release, which looked rather like a white flag.

But they did get some things done. Dave Richardson’s contract as chief executive was extended to 2019 and Saudi Arabia became an ICC associate.

Oh, and “the ICC approved a change to the DRS playing condition relating to the lbw ‘umpire’s call’. The size of the zone inside which half the ball needs to hit for a Not Out decision to be reversed to Out will increase, changing to a zone bordered by the outside of off and leg stumps, and the bottom of the bails (formerly the centre of off and leg stumps, and the bottom of the bails).”

Good work, chaps. You must be so proud.


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