Posts Tagged ‘icc’
This morning, just after 10 o’clock, Cricinfo reported that the start of the LVCC Division 2 match between Surrey and Derbyshire had been delayed due to crowd congestion. I rubbed my knuckles into my eyes sockets, looked sceptically at the bottle of scotch I keep on my desk to intoxicate me through the day, and gazed at my monitor for a minute.
Could this be true? Perhaps the phenomenal recent accomplishment of the international side had caused a tsunami of interest to wash at the gates of the Oval. Or the tantalising prospect of promotion dangling down like a moist grape had enticed the ‘Rey followers in their thousands.
No. I spoke to my friend Bonald in his Oval office. He reported that there was around a hundred people at the ground. Unless the arena was only accessible through a small skylight in the pavilion roof then congestion seemed unlikely. He also added that the game started in disappointingly punctual fashion.
It seems that there was a miscommunication on the part of Cricinfo. Either that or a sick satirical joke on county cricket’s perennial inability to attract an audience even for its most arresting fixtures. Invariably the domestic season works as a crescendo towards a finale in which literally zillions of permutations are thrillingly possible, as potentially crucial points are made available at every turn like blackberries on an autumnal bush. Unlike in football, in which the last game of the season is mainly just a parade of expensive new kits and self-congratulation, domestic cricket often comes to an exhilarating conclusion. Just in front of 0.01% of the crowd.
I’m not massively comfortable with the use of superlatives. They’re a bit flash and unnecessary, like diamond dental crowns. It does tend to dilute the vocabulary when describing England this summer though, hence why I’ve been less than prolific recently. But now England are officially
the best very good, and deserved holders of the Giant Shiny Chupa-Chup, I should pass some form of comment.
Watching the highlights today, I spied something in one fleeting frame of action. Chris Schofield had appeared on the pitch. A gormless ghostly figure from the past, from a much shitter era of English cricket. Normally the management let enthusiastic spaniel pups come bounding onto the field when a substitute is required, like that boy from One Direction who was pressed into service at the weekend.
Perhaps Schofield was introduced as a reminder of what once was. A gawky chinless reminiscence of where it all began, being one of the first signatories on a ECB central contract. So here’s to you Schoey, they couldn’t have done it without you.
I was invited to write a piece on my favourite cricketer for World Cricket Watch and Balanced Sports websites. Other bloggers have also contributed to this series, using it as an opportunity to lyricize about iconic and celebrated figures of the game. I wrote about Ed Giddins. He took drugs and was a bit crap. Seminally crap as it turns out.
This is how Surrey promoted their last Twenty20 game against Essex. A picture of a lady with a snake. The snake is called Baz. It was a visual element of an initiative that attempted to attract punters to the match by throwing a “singles party”. This is not a party to celebrate a bunt down to long-on and a trot through for one, although obviously that is a good reason to have a party. This was to encourage single people to come to the Oval to potentially meet other single people and then snog or something. The evening was called “the Joy of Six”. It sounds a bit like The Joy of Sex, which was an illustrated sex manual published in 1972.
This misguided venture overlooks the fact cricket is not a sexy game and it is predominately followed by sexless men in slacks who smell of scotch eggs. Many of this ilk make up the membership of Surrey Cricket Club and they strenuously objected to the dancing girls who were booked as part of the shenanigans.
They may also have been responsible for the half-time entertainment on the night, which could have been engineered as the least sexy possible alternative to counter the singles night.
He waddled onto the pitch for a darts challenge. He threw three darts and scored 35. Which was one less than the lady who was plucked from the crowd whose first dart missed the board entirely.
At least Surrey won.
It’s been a better World Cup than four years ago. Nobody has died this time. Nobody has been wrongly accused of murder. Nobody has been wrongly accused of being murdered.
The cricket has been marginally better. Hardly the grandest boast. The ICC could have squeezed more entertainment out of a month of me mindlessly twatting a tennis ball against a garage wall than what transpired in the Caribbean. To be fair wall-twatting kept me amused for hours on end as a child, if not getting the neighbours flocking over to watch the action. That wall proved to be a tough but respected opponent but also became a cherished friend. Perhaps my only friend.
The greatest distinction between the two tournaments lies in that ring of people gathered around the edge of the pitch. They make noises. Wave a flag or two. Get a bit shirty if they can’t get a ticket. They care.
It definitely adds a little something to the atmosphere when the referee has to toss the coin again because no-one heard the call over the crowd.
There is no point dissecting England‘s defeat to Ireland today. The form book has been thrown out. The rule book has been thrown out. In fact England have piled up every piece of literature or article written about cricket and torched them. There is hardly any point in typing words because England will take them and drop them to the floor and burn those too. They like dropping.
Sending Kevin Pietersen to Surrey is a bit like sending the naughty but misunderstood boy at school down to the remedial class. The England management are probably hoping that hanging out with the cricketing equivalents of the strange children who had to wear crash helmets in the playground might serve to inflate Pietersen’s withered confidence. A place where Kevin can express himself while his friends are eating crayons. Somewhere he can tweet whatever comes into his addled head about the coaching staff and they won’t mind. They’ll just hope some of his waning stocks of stardust will dust off onto their ailing squad.
One quarter into his four-game loan period, and Surrey have been walloped and Pietersen has delivered more relative failure. It may be that Pietersen’s impact on the Surrey dressing room has been more like that of Randle McMurphy in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. A twittering iconoclast hacking off the older lags with his swaggering ways, and inciting the junior members to rebellion against tyrannical Nurse Adams and his numerous black bow-tied assistants. We can only hope that this temporary incarceration in the lower reaches of the county game doesn’t have a labotomising effect on his cricket.
If we see Chris Tremlett lobbing the Lucozade dispenser through the pavilion window then England may have reason to worry.
We all knew that the Australians were going to throw the book of sledging at Jonathon Trott. But I didn’t really envisage it kicking off before the start of the test match and I certainly hadn’t counted on it originating from a non-Aussie. Mickey Arthur, this is not about you.
I’m not sure why the South African coach felt it necessary to add his two rand’s worth to the selection debate and claim that Trott would not get into his top six. Although I can imagine the sour grape juice dribbling from his chops as he inferred that Trott had left the Proteas set-up because he wasn’t good enough.
But now it feels like Trott and England are being ganged up on. Tim Nielsen was probably standing behind Arthur as he made his statement sticking his tongue out and singing “ner-ner-ne-ner-ner”. It’s basically bullying.
England should do what every victim of bullying should do, tell a grown-up. Or in this case, the ICC. They’ll tell the bullies’ parents and they will make it stop.
Having watched most of the Twenty20 through a pop-up window at my desk, I felt very fortunate to take my seat on the pavilion balcony at the Oval to sample it first-hand yesterday. Here are a few things that I learnt:
1. With Chris Gayle’s fluoro-shades and the equally luminous sweatbands worn by the quick bowlers, the West Indies are definitely the most nu-rave team in international cricket. They really should come out to bat to the Klaxons.
2. Younus Khan speaks with the cadence of an agitated racing commentator. He also looks a lot like DS Don Beech from The Bill. But I knew this already.
3. A scantily-clad young female cavorting lasciviously whilst draped in the Pakistani flag seems a bit wrong.
4. Well done to Surrey who won their first County Championship match in nearly two years. I actually learnt that today by looking at the internet on my phone while on a picnic with my parents but I feel it needs to be said.
5. The Yahoo yodelling jingle that accompanies every change of bowler maybe the worst excess of the commercialisation of cricket, but it is strangely entertaining.
6. The ICC need to hire a PA announcer that doesn’t sound so sinister when declaring to the crowd that “all the children are very welcome today”.
7. The dubious novelty of the Mexican Wave. It is popular not only with England fans. Happily after a few abortive attempts, the crowd seemed to give up on it. I think this is because, like water down the toilet, the Mexican Wave goes counter-clockwise in New Zealand. The opposite to everywhere else. So after a few awkward occasions when they just waved at each other, it was put to one side.
8. Twenty20 is more than just great fun. But it doesn’t compare to a Test Match.