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Australia, England and India plan to take over cricket

18 Jan
In a move that will surprise no one, the corrupt BCCI are being corrupt

In a move that will surprise no one, the corrupt BCCI are being corrupt

A draft proposal has been submitted to the ICC which would effectively hand all executive control to three national boards: the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Cricket Australia (CA) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). The proposal will be presented to the ICC Executive Board at its quarterly meeting in Dubai on the 28th and 29th of January.

The proposal was drafted by a ‘working group’ of the ICC’s Finance and Commercial Affairs committee – of which the BCCI, CA and the ECB are key members. In it, there are changes recommended to the ICC’s revenue distribution model, administrative structures and the Future Tours Programme (FTP); it questions the relevance of Test rankings and suggests the reinstatement of the Champions Trophy over the World Test Championship.

A recommendation is also made for the creation of a new four-member Executive Committee, on which the BCCI, CA and the ECB will have permanent memberships and a rotating annual chairmanship, that will override all other committees. In short, almost every aspect of this proposal would give greater control to these three boards. It would see a larger share of control over world cricket to the three – both in the boardroom and on the field – as well as giving them a significantly larger share of revenues in a ratio that is linked to the ICC’s revenue growth.

Also considered is the creation of a two-tier Test cricket system, a structure which would bring relegation and promotion to the cycle. However, three nations will be exempt from the perils of relegation – Australia, England and India – because of money: “(this is) solely in order to protect ICC income due to the importance of those markets and teams to prospective ICC media rights buyers”. This is systematic fixing, institutional rigging, which the ICC is allowing because it will mean they make more money.

These proposals would lead world cricket to an endlessly repeating cycle of three nations playing each other whilst the rest of the Test playing nations play poorly attended and barely covered matches as they wait for another Champions Trophy to come around so they can play someone different. The world’s best Test team won’t play England with any regularity, there will be no more trans-Tasman tussles between Australia and New Zealand and the prospect of another India and Pakistan Test series is off the table.

Whilst the FTP was a flawed system, it was a well-meaning one. Although boards could ignore it, they had to openly admit that they were doing so – with the new system and no FTP, the boards won’t have to own up to it, meaning that the paying public won’t know what they are up to.

The ICC has been wrangling with the issue of dwindling Test cricket crowds (and therefore revenue) in countries such as New Zealand, South Africa and the West Indies for a number of years now, and this is their solution. Instead of working out a way in which these nations can survive, the easy route has been taken – a route which means three boards will make enough money to sustain the sport for the short-term.

Despite all this, there is hope. The fact that this document was leaked means that someone who is working either for the ICC or for one of the major boards has realised that the cricketing world need to see what is going on behind closed doors, and they let the press have it. This means that there is resistance within, which can be used to harness resistance externally. What’s more, the people can use their voice. At the bottom of this article is a list of how to contact the BCCI, CA and the ECB. Do this to tell them what you think.

One of the major responsibilities of MCC – the cricket club which owns Lord’s – is to help cricket’s international appeal. The MCC was the guardian of the game for a long time, until the ICC took over. With these proposals the ICC is willingly allowing the game to become self-serving and interested only in three parties, with just a vague and insincere interest in the promotion of the game across the globe. If this is not the kind of cricketing world in which you want to live, please contact the three boards and let them know.

Contact the BCCI here.

Contract CA here.

Contact the ECB here.

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The beauty of silence

15 Nov

1360383314_sachinIn a very loud world, there are few greater pleasures than total silence. The absence of noise, or, to be more precise, unwanted noise, is a rare treat. For a cricketer, walking from the boundary edge to the middle is quiet. Often it’s almost silent, as you cross the demilitarized zone before you reach the front line on the square. A commentator is not paid just to make noise, but rather to make the right noises – to be emotive and respectful to the atmosphere, without crashing it with their own voice. Some – Richie Benaud, John Arlott, Christopher Martin-Jenkins – had this difficult art down to a tee. For others, it is harder.

On Wednesday evening, I was watching a live feed on the Cricket Australia website of England bowling out the Cricket Australia Invitational XI. It was filmed on one camera – a throwback to a time before mass media, when for half of the overs you had a front on view of the bowler running in. There was no commentary. It was utter silence. It was utter bliss.

I decided to see how well the TMS commentary on the same game would match up, and to my surprise, it was almost perfect. Aggers and co. went about their merry way with a sense of irreverence that was befitting a warm up game at an almost deserted SCG, which was excellent. And as is the nature of radio, they were talking more often than they weren’t. Though whenever they were silent, it was a second of harmony.

Jump forward to this morning. After watching the first 38 runs of Sachin Tendulkar’s innings against the West Indies yesterday, I couldn’t stomach the idea of another early morning to see how many more he would score, even if the fates were on his side, and he scored a century. So when I awoke to see that he had been dismissed for 74, I went straight to YouTube to find a video of his final dismissal.

Tendulkar edges it, and Darren Sammy takes a very good catch at slip. Silence in the stadium. The shock of over a billion Indians is tangible as Tendulkar turns to leave the crease for the last time. As he leaves, the weight of the nation’s expectations lifts off his shoulders. No longer is the pressure on him, and his shoulders, though slumped, seem less heavy then usual. Suddenly, the roar from the crowd erupts, as they celebrate the Little Master one last time. Whereas the wall of noise that greeted him when he first emerged on Day 1 was excitable fervour, the adulation which adorned his curly head when he left the ground was emotional and raw.

Until Sunil Gavaskar opened his mouth.

Immediately, the moment was ruined. The Indian commentator – who in 2011 was reportedly being paid Rs 3.6 crore annually by the BCCI to toe the official line and promote the views of the Indian cricket board – took over describing the moment as Tendulkar left the ground, and decided that that special moment, as the roars of 33,000 people carried Tendulkar up the stairs to the dressing room, was the best moment to remind the viewers that, just like in this game, Darren Sammy caught Tendulkar at slip in a Test match in 2011. As the crowd’s cheer became the perfect accompaniment to the end of a brilliant career, Gavaskar crashed it with his harsh voice, telling the unrelated story, before returning the present to send Tendulkar off with a gushing and cringe-inducing “Sachin…Ramesh…Tendulkar. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

A good commentator knows when the pictures do the talking, and when silence is golden. And on this occasion, the pictures did the talking.

The modest Master bows out

13 Nov

sachin_at_lords300Cynicism is an overbearing, pervasive attitude. It’s an increasingly prevalent one too, in a modern world of disposable opinions and anonymous criticism. It has served this author well over the years – particularly when it was announced that Sachin Tendulkar was retiring.

Like many before me, I found myself searching ‘Sachin Tendulkar slow innings’, or ‘Sachin Tendulkar fail’, for evidence to back up a pithy, put-down article. Soon it was penned, and off I went. Even sooner, people were tweeting with glee that his highest score at Lord’s was only 37, or reminding each other that his 100th International hundred was a pedestrian innings that slowed down his team’s scoring rate, causing them to lose the game. Vitriol was sent back and forth and although I was spared most of this, it still didn’t sit well with me.

Keep reading

Milestones

9 Oct

120124010605-cricket-ponting-story-topRight so, it’s been a year since I went onto WordPress and started up an innocently yet hilariously self-indulgent blog called ‘alexbritten.wordpress.com’. In my defence, I made a mistake. I thought that was a username, or something, and I could call it something more related to cricket rather than just my name. Obviously I was wrong, but it has given me plenty of material for self deprecating jokes over the past 12 months, so it’s probably been worth it.

I was seriously naive when I started this blog. My genuine belief was that I’d write on this for 6 – 10 months, then I’d start getting money through it because of adverts (and because I don’t understand the internet), then I’d get a pleasingly grovelling email from the sports editor at the Guardian begging for me to come and write for him because Mike Selvey and Andy Bull really are letting the side down. Modestly I’d accept my post, move to North London and live like a king, occasionally using executive phrases such as ‘filing my copy’ and ‘just popping to Lord’s for a spot of lunch with Gus Fraser’. I’d imbibe gallons of Beaujolais, smoke cigars and take baths in tubs full of dollar bills.

The reality – I moved from a student hovel in Manchester back home to Suffolk, only met Mike Selvey and Andy Bull at Guardian HQ once (on an excellent ‘How To Be A Cricket Journalist’ masterclass – check them out); I have filed no copies (unless writing online and self publishing counts), went to Lord’s just the solitary time (didn’t meet Angus Fraser) and have drunk no expensive wine, smoked any cigars nor attempted to wash myself using dirty money.

Luckily, I was asked to edit thecricketmagazine.com, and so I’ve been filling up internet space blathering on about that incessantly. And, equally luckily, some excellent writers have written things (filed copies?) for that, showing me how one should write about cricket in a witty, informative and engaging way. People like the wrongunatlongon, Ruth Thielke, Jud Ong, Davis Harrigan from Beyond Realisation, Matt Carter and so many more that I’ve forgotten them. Thanks guys.

So has this blog has sort of achieved an aim, in that I am now a bit more of a cricket journalist than I was before the 8th of October 2012? Maybe. I’m not as much of one as I want to be and I most likely act and behave like more of one than I really am. One of the other stated aims on this blog was to discover more of the internet than YouTube and Buzzfeed – so has this succeeded? I guess that has too. I now know about webmail and, sadly, am addicted to Reddit. I think that means the past year has, therefore, been good? Jesus.

Anyway, seeing as blogs are, in their nature, incredibly self centred things, I’m going to write a list of objective that I would like to achieve before the 8th of October 2014:

1) Update this blog more regularly, and not with those really annoying ‘read more on The Cricket Magazine’ links because whenever I see something similar on another website it irritates me to the point of immediate combustion. That isn’t to say I’ll stop doing those things (because what is a loyal audience for if not for conning them for hits?), but I’ll try and do more articles solely for Thoughts of a Cricket Addict. You lucky devils.

2) Get paid. Lololol.

3) Build up Twitter followers, both on TCM Twitter and personal one. I don’t know why it surprises me that, despite my numerous bellicose tweets about the bloody ICC they still don’t follow me, but it does. And they should. Also, the ECB (same reason for them not following me) and just generally more people who don’t govern cricket, but just like it (probably more than the ICC, but that isn’t hard).

4) Be less bitter/jealous about other journalists and writers who are more successful than I am. And to that end, stop whining about nepotism. It happens, it’s always happened, and as long as certain people’s fathers are major cricket correspondents, they’ll always have a foot in the door irrespective of their own questionable ability to write words about cricket. Grumble.

5) Stop grumbling.

6) Stop rambling.

So there we go. Another year older, another year closer to death. It has actually been a lot of fun. I’ve done things that I never thought I’d do, and that is all because of this blog and, far more importantly, because of you. Yes, you, anonymous internet person. Just clicking onto this has made it possible and I will be forever grateful for it. Should I ever meet anyone who says ‘Hey, we both like cricket, why don’t you check out this great blog I read, it’s called Thoughts of…’ I’ll spontaneously erupt with joy and jubilation and probably lick that person right on the face.

Here’s to another year.

Alex

Gayle’s Century Ignites The IPL

23 Apr
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Today Chris Gayle hit the fastest ever century in professional cricket – off just 30 balls.  His brutal assault in the colours of Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL was a display of a power hitting – particularly straight down the ground. Continue reading

My Test team of the Past Year

8 Apr

With the current break in the International calendar so the rich can rake in their money in India it seems an appropriate time to compile my fantasy Test XI from April 2012 to now.  Just for transparency, I’ve gone for just a Test team – surprisingly I find watching the IPL a transcendentally sickening experience, yet one which I cannot switch off.  Which makes me feel weird.  Anyway, I’d be interested to hear your opinions on my team and what your XI would be, so just comment below.  Or text me, seeing as I know most of you personally. Continue reading

Leather & Willow

19 Mar

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Dear reader.  You may have noticed the new banner that I have on my blog and got very confused.  This is understandable, for it has incontrovertibly changed.  Leather & Willow?  This sounds like a furniture magazine.  Well I can assure you that it is not a furniture magazine, writing about one thing I don’t really know much about is hard enough for me. Leather & Willow is actually a cricket magazine.  It’s a new Club and County cricket magazine that I have started.  And it launches soon.  Sound interesting?  You BET!   Continue reading