Saturday, July 31, 2010

SSC Curator holds his ground

And I agree with him. I also think there's no reason to start debating the "future of Test Cricket" as a result of the SSC wicket. The one place where I don't agree with him, is in his assessment of the Indian and Sri Lankan batting line ups. I think the Indian line up is decidedly better.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Why didn't Azhar Ali refer it?

Does it matter? Is Cricket interested in finding out whether or not a batsman can look after his self interest, or is Cricket interested in getting the right decision. There is a well paid Umpire, Marais Erasmus, sitting in a room at Trent Bridge, who could have told Umpire Hill to call Azhar Ali back, except that the ass-backwards contraption called UDRS does not permit this. It's a complete joke.

You could scream until you are blue in the face that the batsman didn't hit it, but didn't ask for a referral, but it shouldn't be his job to ask for the referral. The UDRS does not (according the ICC) have unanimous approval of it's members, and there was a hint about one venue of opposition - Sachin Tendulkar said yesterday that he's not convinced about referrals.

There is only one answer to the question "Why didn't Azhar Ali refer it" - He didn't refer it, because he hit it. If he did hit it, then it suggests that the expensive technology used in UDRS is a waste, because it doesn't work. Why is the UDRS such a good idea? Who is happy with it? How many concessions has cricket made, and for what gain? The only people who are happy are broadcasters.

Why didn't Azhar Ali refer it? It doesn't really matter, because it's a stupid question. It's the wrong question.

Rubbish bowling from India again

Sri Lanka have made 19 runs in 2 overs bowled by Abhimanyu Mithun and Ishant Sharma in their second innings. It's fashionable to blame the wicket, but I challenge you to reasonably argue that given the way Ishant Sharma and Abhimanyu Mithun bowled, they would have troubled any pair of batsmen on any wicket in those two overs.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Results and Disasters

There's plenty of commentary in todays newspapers about how Tests like Colombo are disastrous for Test Cricket. I agree that the contest between bat and ball was not ideally balanced by the wicket at Colombo, but I think that the Indian bowling attack would need a LOT of help if they were to look competitive against this Sri Lankan batting line up.

Manufactured Certainty in Hawkeye

Two Test Matches are being played today. At Colombo, they aren't using Hawkeye and UDRS, while at Trent Bridge, where Pakistan are playing yet another neutral game against the South African batting line up, they are. Just before lunch Mohammad Aamer had a good appeal against Jonathan Trott:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Harbhajan, Ojha moan about the pitch

Pragyan Ojha of all people has been moaning about the SSC pitch. He bowled better at SSC than he did at Galle, but his limitations remain. Harbhajan Singh has never been shy when it comes to blaming the pitch.

Do you remember Ojha or Harbhajan Singh beating the batsman in the air? Harbhajan Singh did do so a few times, but he seems to get it into his head that the wicket is useless, and never lets go of this prejudice at any time during this spell. For otherwise, he's a terrific bowler. He can hit the bat high on any pitch. He has a problem bowling to left handers, but I think he has improved in this respect. Pragyan Ojha simply isn't good enough.

Sehwag, Mendis and the Colombo Test

Virender Sehwag makes India worth watching even if they bowl poorly on a flat unforgiving pitch. The same cannot yet be said about Ajanta Mendis. But Mendis does make commentary worth listening to (or worth reading on cricinfo). Commentators can identify Mendis's variations from 90 yards away with amazing accuracy in real time. They throw words like "Carrom Ball" and "Doosra" around in a way which reminds me of riding to Pune by train from Bombay. In the Khandala Ghat (a "ghat" is a mountain that has to be passed or climbed during a journey), trains are usually full of wide eyed historians who see one of the Maratha Warrior King Shivaji's forts on every large hill in the distance. Justice like these travellers go "Sinhagad!", "Panhalgad!", "Raigad!" after every new peak, or often, at the same peak a few minutes apart, TV Commentators spot variations, both fictitious and otherwise.

It would be much more fun if they could wire Sehwag and Harper. I'm sure they are more fun than the gallery of bores assembled upstairs.

The Test has not really begun two days in. Ajanta Mendis has bowled only one over in the match so far. Tomorrow he might start to win it for Sri Lanka. Or else, that man Sehwag, if he's around undefeated tomorrow night, could well have a triple hundred to his name. Poor Dhammika, who was so keyed up for his bowling stint didn't learn from Ishant Sharma and kept bowling short of a good length. Sehwag of course, kept hammering him.

As is usually the case in Tests featuring India, the opposition desperate needs Sehwag. India needs him too.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Is M S Dhoni entering a trough?

I may be completely wrong about this, but just recently, a few indications have been available to suggest that MS Dhoni may not quite be the most complete cricketer we sometimes imagine him to be. His record compels us, and in limited overs cricket, he is indeed a master - both with the bat, and tactically. In Test Cricket, so far, I have tended to be less convinced about his captaincy than his batting. He seems to chase the game quite often, and sets defensive fields too easily, but then again, with the bowling he has at his command, it's hard for him to look good.

But just recently, he's been playing too far in front of his pad too early in his innings. I suspect Dhoni might be entering the first real test of his career, which so far, as been an uninterrupted success. He has looked like he belongs, everywhere he has been placed. With the World Cup next year, this is worth watching i think. At some point the utter mediocrity of underperforming bowlers and incessant fitness troubles must catch up with a captain and shake even the most assured confidence and character.

As I said, I could be wrong, but let's watch.

ICC on DRS

Colin Gibson from the ICC wrote the following reply (i quote only the relevant part of his email) in response to my question about the ICC's role in implementing DRS:
With regard to ICC taking responsibility for the DRS delivery – this is difficult because it would mean taking over the whole broadcast (remember there are multiple cameras in use – as many as 32) and many boards have different broadcasters and broadcast agreements The cost and logistics would also be a challenge.
DRS isn’t modeled to the specification of the broadcasters but instead ICC set parameters and minimum standards required so that it can be implemented across the world with the co-operation of the broadcasters.
All Broadcasters and the majority of Boards are comfortable with this approach.
There are a couple of clear takeaways from this. First, that broadcasters are far more powerful and influential, cricket wise, than we think. They hold the keys to the implementation of DRS, not the ICC. Secondly, not all Cricket Boards are in favor of using DRS, only a majority.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Reporting on Hawkeye - II

I have had another email exchange with Paul Hawkins of Hawk-Eye Innovations since my last post about Hawkeye, and finally, things seem to be moving in a direction which makes sense. Mr. Hawkins pointed out, the margin of error in Hawkeye (he cites the specific example of the Tendulkar LBW, which, without the benefit of Hawkeye, was Out in my opinion, would be 5mm) is more binary than one might imagine.

Mr. Hawkins wrote that Hawk-Eye Innovations had suggested that an "uncertainty-ellipse" be shown around the path of the ball as it appears on TV, but that this has been opposed by broadcasters. I quote the relevant part of his email in full:

A Final thought about Headingley

Just how silly was Captain Ponting's decision to bat first after winning the toss? Leading 1-0 in the series, against a side with an inexperienced, suspect batting line up, at Headingley of all places, on a wicket which was not particularly quick, but typically likely to ease out under the sun, and what does Ricky Ponting do? He says his team will bat, allowing Pakistan to put their best foot forward, in the one area of their game where they were unquestionably good.

Pakistan win at Headingley

Pakistan beat Australia at Headingley by three wickets, but not without some late drama. I'm not going to fall into the trap of saying that this is only to be expected when Pakistan are playing. It was a perfectly set up script for hundreds of alleged writers - Australia, a team with a reputation for snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, and Pakistan, with a reputation for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Some Interesting Commentary on Cricinfo

Update:
The ICC Playing Conditions updated on 28 January 2010 (pdf) have the updated language of the bad light rule.

Law 3.5.3(b) now states that
If at any time the umpires together agree that the conditions of ground, weather or light are so bad that there is obvious and foreseeable risk to the safety of any player or umpire, so that it would be unreasonable or dangerous for play to take place, then they shall immediately suspend play, or not allow play to commence or to restart. The decision as to whether conditions are so bad as to warrant such action is one for the umpires alone to make.
The Umpires allowed Steven Smith to bowl the 39th over of the Pakistan first innings at Leeds. If events occured as Cricinfo reports them - if they did entertain Ricky Ponting's interference in their decision about the light, then this is a clear violation of playing conditions.

Reporting on Hawkeye

I emailed the ICC about the Hawkeye issue, and my email was directed to Paul Hawkins, who, according to his email reply is the Managing Director of HawkEye Innovations Ltd.. Mr. Hawkins argues that the quality of the prediction is more binary that one might think - i.e, either you can make a good prediction, or you cant. I quote his response in full.

Sri Lanka dominate Galle Test

Sri Lanka took 12 Indian wickets on Day 4 of the Galle Test to set up a likely victory within four days over the World Number One Test team. India's ordinary bowling effort left their batsmen with plenty to do over last 8 sessions of the Galle Test. With Sri Lanka getting the early wicket in both innings, and getting Rahul Dravid out in freak fashion in both innings, the remaining Indian batsmen have too much on their plate to save this Test. Even VVS Laxman may not be able to save India on the fifth day.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bowling woes continue

Gary Kirsten allowed himself a rare public comment about his players this week. His comment was to the effect that India's bowlers haven't been coming through, even though first team spots are available. Ishant Sharma bowled well with the second new ball today, but then showed why he averaged 35 in Test Cricket and not 27. During the stand between Herath and Malinga, Ishant Sharma bowled with such little imagination, it beggars belief!

Hawkeye Fraud in Tendulkar LBW

20.4
Muralitharan to Tendulkar, OUT, Murali moves to 793 and what a wicket to pick! Full on middle, Sachin went for the sweep and missed it, there was not much turn and it would have hit the top of middle and leg. Sachin is gone and India are in come strife here.
SR Tendulkar lbw b Muralitharan 8 (21b 1x4 0x6) SR: 38.09

This was the dismissal. I think it was a marginal decision, but on balance i think Tendulkar deserved to be given out for that. He was beaten in the flight and I suspect that the sweep was slightly premeditated. Tendulkar was bothered by the leg slip fielder. I agree with Umpire Harper's decision. Hawkeye is another story.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Three reasons to oppose UDRS

Update: Add a fourth reason to this.
The Jayawardene LBW. It was given because Jayawardene was caught on the crease. The Umpiring as far as LBW goes has been superb in this game. All the time tested rules have been applied. Good forward strides have been rewarded with the benefit of the doubt, players caught on the crease have generally been given out. The Umpires have been alive to Mathews's tactic of running down the wicket. It's what you expect from any reasonable Umpire. The marginal ones have been seen to be marginal.

From the Galle Test,
1. The Dilshan LBW appeal, given Not Out.
2. The Samarweera LBW appeal, given Out
3. The Jayawardene Bat-Pad catch, given Not Out after advice from the TV Umpire.

The players were not involved in disputing any of those decisions. The two LBWs were both marginal, and no amount of technology could have told us whether or not the ball was going on to hit the stumps in the second case, or whether there was an inside edge in the first. Referrals are not needed if you have reasonable umpires.

Fielding for Munaf Patel and India

How important is ground fielding in Test Cricket? The standard answer of course, is that it is extremely important. I want to suggest here that the obsession among ardent observers of Cricket (and especially India's cricket) about ground fielding has less to do with any actual facts, and much to do with feeling a certain inferiority. It has less to do with Cricket, than to do with wanting to feel up to date, so to speak.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Galle Test, First Session

The Galle Test got underway after a delay due to overnight rain, and after some brisk scoring by the hosts, who won the toss and batted first, Sri Lanka have reached 91/1 at Lunch. The shortened session was not without incident, even though the playing conditions were along expected lines. Abhimanyu Mithun made his debut for India and bowled with reasonable control. Add him to India's long list of medium pacers. I know that a lot of you readers don't particularly like Munaf Patel, and I agree that it would have been hard to play him without having seen his form in the tour match, but i think India lack a little bit of class in the medium-fast department, and Patel, with his superb accuracy would have provided that. Marginal issues like fielding are great things to get riled up about, but how many Test Matches did Jonty Rhodes win for South Africa with his fielding?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Farewell Maestro!


Comparing Warne and Muralitharan

In another week, one of the greatest spin bowlers in the history of cricket will retire from Test Cricket, bringing to end an era of titanic spin bowlers. If the 80s were marked by all-rounders, the 1990s and 2000s have been marked by brilliant spin bowlers - Warne, Muralitharan, Kumble, each with over 600 Test wickets. Of these, Warne and Murali have been statistically superior to Kumble, were able to spin the ball more and were more effective on varied wickets.

Friday, July 16, 2010

What are the interests of Cricket?

We keep hearing about this. The "larger interests of the game". The outgoing ICC President says the same thing. He wants "independent" directors to be appointed to the ICC. Independent of whom? Whose interests would these directors serve? What exactly is this "corporate governance?

More details about Elbowgate

Khalid A-H Ansari of the Mid day newspaper in Bombay writes in today's Mid-day (July 16) (this will not appear online for another 24 hours or so, so I am copying portions from the printed report):

Thursday, July 15, 2010

What the Market wants

Peter Young of Cricket Australia offers the following specification:
“The ideas are designed to come up with a format, which is more strategic than T20, faster-paced than Test cricket, simple to understand, a more competitive contest between bat and ball, a format that rewards skill and is not predictable in its outcome. It is also a format which would allow fans to arrive at venues after work or school and see the home side bat and bowl,”

Elbowgate: A new standard for Cricket

(Updated and revised)

Jonathan raised a crucial point in his comment to my post below, asking why a similar unofficial discussion should not have taken place between the Referee and the Australian Captain, on account of the extended elbow. Jonathan called this "deliberate contact" and this is an accurate description of what happened.

The ICC's Communications Manager James Fitzgerald, upon being asked by me via email if such an unofficial conversation took place between Ponting and the Referee, replied that such a conversation did not take place, and that "the match officials did not feel Ponting did anything wrong", after originally arguing that the "umpires did not feel that Ponting had a case to answer for under the Code of Conduct". So it is not merely the umpires who felt this way, but Chris Broad as well, since he is a match official too. This then, is not a case of the Referee's hands being tied by the complaint made by the umpires.

On Elbowgate: Australia, Broad and a new culprit

Regular readers will know that I keep a close, amateur eye on the will (and in many cases the won't) of the Match Referee. I have come to view the Match Referee as a latter day cricketing Priest, someone who is above the Laws of Cricket, is accountable to nobody, is not required to answer questions, and can pass judgment on everything from the most technical logo policy discrepancy, to broad character judgments about racism and bad behavior. He gets to decide who is a cheat and who isn't - a civil court, a criminal court and a juvenile court all rolled into one. The Referee has the power to take away some or all of a player's match fee, in some cases multiple match fees through bans.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New trouble brewing?

Straight Point is on to it.
As is Achettup

As they point out, a player has been banned for this kind of contact before.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Australia v Pakistan, Lord's, First Session

I watched an intriguing hour long session of play right now. The conditions were overcast and the ball was doing a bit as expected. I don't think it was doing enough to merit bowling first in a Test Match, and had Australia won the toss, i suspect they might have batted. There was some incident in the session. Pakistan bowled reasonably well, but except for Mohammad Aamer, seemed unsettled by Simon Katich's cunning ploy of moving across his stumps and leaving leg stump exposed. There was also a very close LBW shout against Ricky Ponting, which was given not out, reasonably so in my opinion. Hawkeye of course reported with absolute certainty that it would have crashed into the top of off stump. It was reported by the commentators, that "Hawkeye says it would have hit the top of off stump). Australia at 36/1 at lunch, and the two upcoming sessions have been set up deliciously. The wicket promises something for Pakistan's seamers, but with only one wicket down, Australia will hope that their batsmen will prosper against the older Duke ball. The cloudy conditions should delay the possibility of reverse swing, if not totally eliminate it.

More electrifying commentary

Norway beat England 2-1 in a World Cup Qualifier.



Let me attempt a transcript of these magnificient words

"Lord Nelson, Lord Beaverbrook, Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Anthony Eden, Clement Attlee, Henry Cooper, Lady Diana, [something here], Maggie Thatcher, can you hear me? Maggie Thatcher! Yoooour boys took a hell of a beating! Yooooor boys took a hell of a beating!
 -Bjørge Lillelien, Norway

Surely the greatest words ever spoken in the history of commentary...

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Home Pitch

Pakistan Coach Waqar Younis requested a spin friendly track at Lord's and was told by the groundsman that even the England captain does not get to say what type of pitch should be prepared for the Test Match. Let us leave aside the question about whether or not a spin friendly track is in fact in Pakistan's interest, or whether any kind of pitch will help Pakistan redress the imbalance in the experience of the batting line ups of the two sides. It's worth considering the English response, even without considering the merit of Waqar Younis's request.

Jose Camacho celebrates Andres Iniesta's goal on Commentary

Watch this:



This is what "electrifying" feels like. There are no DLF Maximums off rubbish bowling here. You can't buy this with money.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hertzberg on "Soccer"

Hendrick Hertzberg has a superb post about football in the United States on his blog in the New Yorker magazine. Money quote:
[Do Americans hate soccer?]
Here’s one plausible answer: we don’t. The non-haters include the nearly twenty million of us who stayed indoors on a balmy Saturday afternoon to watch Ghana join England, Slovenia, and Algeria on this year’s list of countries beaten or tied by the United States in the World Cup. We were disappointed—Ghana won, 2-1, sending our team home from South Africa. Still, 19.4 million, the number registered by the Nielsen ratings service, is a lot of people. It’s not just more people than had ever watched a soccer game on American television before. It’s also more people than, on average, watched last year’s World Series games, which had the advantage of being broadcast live in prime time. It’s millions more than watched the Kentucky Derby or the final round of the Masters golf tournament or the Daytona 500, the jewel in NASCAR’s crown. And we don’t just watch. We do. An estimated five million grownups play soccer in these United States on a regular basis. Kids are mad for it, especially little ones. More American children play it, informally and in organized leagues, than any other team sport.
Soccer may be an import, as is our entire nonaboriginal population, but it’s well on its way to becoming as American as pizza, tacos, and French fries. (And motherhood: Sarah Palin notwithstanding, “soccer moms”—a term introduced to the political world in 1996, by a Republican consultant—are the proverbial key demographic.) Of course, soccer has its challenges here, many of them owing to its relative newness in the arena of American commerce. The enthusiasm of toddlers and post-toddlers is all very well, but, if that were enough to do the trick, Nike would have a division devoted to dodgeball. Compared with its established rivals, big-time soccer is ill suited to televisual exploitation. The game’s continuous, almost uninterrupted flow of action denies it a steady supply of intervals for the advertising of beer and the fetching of same from the refrigerator. The expedient of selling space on the players’ bodies—plastering their uniforms with corporate logos from neck to navel—is less than fully satisfactory. Also, the soccer pitch is vaster than the gridiron or the diamond, and the choreography of the game demands the widest of angles. On TV, the players are tiny—a problem for those as yet unequipped with enormous high-def flat screens.
Think T20 and the IPL. Where are questions about the Americanization of cricket through the IPL being asked? Where is the venue for a critical discussion about sport? A place where distinctions between sport and business will not be flippantly dismissed? Are they being asked in places where the power of Ambani, Mallya, Modi and company may be checked?

India v Sri Lanka Series Preview

India travel to Sri Lanka for a 3 match Test series this month. The first test begins on July 18, and the Test series  ends on August 7.

BCCI have thankfully put their foot down about the ridiculous UDRS system which allows players to challenge umpires decisions. The Indian selectors have also made a late addition to the Indian side, picking the 18 year old left arm seamer Jaidev Unadkat from the recent India A series. Unadkat is going as an understudy to the first choice bowling line up, and it is not expected that he will play in the Tests, barring injuries. Two stellar decisions by a much abused body. Well, actually, two stellar decisions by two different parts of a complicated governing body in which decision making and work load is distributed much better than most of us who cannot look beyond Sharad Pawar when they think of BCCI realise.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Note about Comments

All the comments i have received today are not showing up on the blog for some reason, but they are showing up in my email. I don't know what the issue is yet and where I might find a fix. I thank you for your comments today.

News about the IPL

Except, it isn't really. A little nugget in Dileep Premachandran's latest column, in which he begins an interesting comparison, in effect, seeing the the English Premier League as one of the possible situations in which Cricket might end up after twenty years of an IPL. Dileep's point is to draw attention to the fans interest. I doubt whether this can be established beyond some sort of very vague and ultimately useless abstraction. But I'm interested that Dileep Premachandran is surprised by this observation:

Monday, July 05, 2010

On the Howard Nomination, for the last time

Courtesy Achettup. It's worth laying out elaborately here:

John Howard

1. Argued against imposing economic sanctions against white apartheid South Africa, saying that these would disproportionately affect poor black people in South Africa.

2. Offered some support for a White Australia policy in Australia by proposing restrictions on Asian Immigration to Australia

3. Proposed strict sanctions against the repressive regime of Robert Mugabe (a black man), doing an apparent U-turn on his earlier thinking about sanctions.

4. Sought to penalize Zimbabwe Cricket, because the people in charge of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (Peter Chingoka) were sympathetic to Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF, and even supported a travel ban on Peter Chingoka (a representative to the ICC from Zimbabwe), to Australia under the Australian sanctions regime.

5. But then went groveling to Peter Chingoka in the days before the ICC was meeting to decide about his nomination to the ICC Presidency. It should be noted that the Zimbabwe Government did not refuse him entry. Howard was received politely in Zimbabwe and even reported a "constructive meeting" with Peter Chingoka.

How pathetic!

Does this man have the character to be President of anything except the Opportunistic Grovellers Club? Someone who was even marginally vertebrate might have balked at the suggestion that he travel to Mugabeland given his history with Mugabe and Zimbabwe, all for a ceremonial, non-executive position of ICC President. Not John Howard. A nice retirement posting is not to be laughed at.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Cricket's fig leaf of democracy - A response

Gideon Haigh has a flailing article on how the ICC is not a democracy, and is in general an all-round disaster. It's one of the most amazing things I've read for a long time. Very rarely does one read something so obviously desperate. I'm going to quote it in full, because i think it deserves careful watching.

The world is not white

I wrote yesterday that asking Australia why they nominated John Howard in the first place is an important question. This column written by Tim Lane, probably for an Australian audience, engages this very question. I'm very surprised by how surprised Australia seem to be to find that the ICC rejected John Howard. Lane's article starts off with the "oh-the-politics-is-so-terrible" trope, complete with the Henry Kissinger reference, but then takes an interesting turn. Lane's argument is that Cricket Australia probably sought to bring in John Howard to "manage" the "growing tide of resentment across many nations towards cricket's colonial powers."
Make no mistake, two decades of Australian cricket administrators have wrestled with the issue of a racial divide and the growing tide of resentment across many nations towards cricket's colonial powers.
Indeed, there's little doubt the nomination of Howard was largely inspired by Australia's ever-increasing frustration at dealing with this.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

There is Politics in Cricket Administration!

Former Australian captain Ian Chappell has a column in today's Sunday Mid-day (July 4, 2010), titled "Let's face it, Howard's credentials for the ICC vice-presidency were flawed".
"Howard would've had two choices. Either he wades into the task ill-equipped or he relies heavily on Cricket Australia's input. Neither choice is a good one. He's either vulnerable to being outflanked by more experienced administrators or else he puts forward proposals which are viewed as favouring Australia."

Towards technology that can lie

The outcome of the Paraguay v Spain game was determined by the referee and his assistants more than any other game in the World Cup. Paraguay were superb while Spain were below par, and the South Americans thwarted the Spaniards tactically. Unlike the England v Germany game, in which the 4-1 scoreline or even a 4-2 scoreline was generous to England, 1-0 was a reasonable scoreline in the 4th quarterfinal of the 2010 World Cup. Consider the following.


A weekend of sport

For a while this evening, here were my options as far as watching sport goes:

1. Serena Williams, possibly among the top 5 grass court players of all time in the Wimbledon Final
2. Shaun Tait bowling one of the fastest spells in recent memory, at Lord's. The wondrous spectacle of the ball going past the stumps before the bat came down.
3. The Mannshaft in the process of their demolition of the Albicelestes.

A pertinent question

Pradeep Magazine raises a pertinent question about the Howard nomination. I raised this much less directly here, but my focus was on whether or not there was a single good reason for Australia to nominate Howard. Much of the discussion has been about how the ICC has been setback because John Howard's nomination was rejected, but it's worth shifting focus to another aspect - What was Australia thinking when it nominated Howard? John Howard's opinions about Sri Lanka's best bowler, apartheid and Zimbabwe are no secret. What does it say about Australia that it felt able to nominate someone as mediocre as John Howard? And lets face it, Howard's was a very mediocre nomination - he has no prior experience of running any sport, no prior experience with Cricket Australia in any capacity, a controversial tenure as Prime Minister ended with him losing his own seat (this is rare and usually happens only in the case of desperate personal scandals). Howard is also a 70 year old man who is basically in retirement.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Do as we say, otherwise you suck!

Everytime something happens in Cricket which Australia or England don't like, it is supposed to be a "new low" for Cricket. Malcolm Conn wrote that it's a new low for the ICC. It is supposed to be something bad - if the politics of the ICC does not work for those nations, then politics itself is a bad thing.

Malcolm Conn has been on something of a writing spree about the Howard nomination. In his latest article he suggests the John Howard's nomination was rejected because he would have brought integrity to the ICC. Gideon Haigh calls it a grave new low for the lowly ICC. A few days ago Haigh made the case for John Howard, which essentially amounted to saying that Howard's critics are not exactly saints - not a ringing endorsement of the former Australian Prime Minister. Interestingly enough, before he made the case for John Howard, Haigh was among a large group of commentators from down under rubbing their hands with glee upon the Modi-IPL mess. In that article, Haigh wrote the following:

Peter Chingoka on the Howard nomination

Peter Chingoka has justified the rejection of John Howard's nomination. His point is an unanswerable one - that Howard has no experience in cricket administration.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

More on the failed Howard nomination

Malcolm Conn writes in The Australian:
The former prime minister's bid to become president of the International Cricket Council failed on purely racial lines, much to the embarrassment of a sport which continues to shred its scant credibility on an all too regular basis.
"The ICC usually descends into racism and nationalism over matters of substance. This time they've descended into racism and nationalism," one former cricket official told me with a weary laugh.


Hawkeye and the Pietersen LBW

Kevin Pietersen was given out LBW by the Umpire in yesterday's ODI against Australia at the Oval. It's worth considering this dismissal, because this is precisely the sort of the decision, where what the batsman does should affect the accuracy with which Hawkeye can predict the path of the ball. Cricinfo reported the dismissal thus
10.3
Harris to Pietersen, OUT, 146.6 kph, Harris strikes again! Pietersen went right across to the offside and aimed an extravagant flick over the leg-side but is struck on the back pad. Huge appeal from Australia, and the umpire agrees! Pietersen isn't happy, giving a long glance at the umpire as he trudges off, but that was stone dead, hitting middle and leg halfway up