Well….. I have always thought that a Hollywood movie about Cricket would go a long way in order to at least introduce mainstream americans to the sport as a serious venture….. at least as far as awareness is concerned, because at the momment it looks like most of them either dont know that it is a game, or have a very weird view about it….. even if they dont know that it lasts five days !
Looks like the news that Russel Crowe is going to star in the latest movie about the Bodyline series is the best that could have been achieved under the circumstances……. I am not sure if this is going to be a Hollywood movie, or an Australian/British movie, in which case it is unlikely to find its way to American theatres…..
But Russell Crowe has a good fan following in the US, which is likely to watch any new Russell Crowe movie…… so it is definitely not something that is likely to have no effect….. there will be some positive effect regarding image and awareness…… how much is the million dollar question….. or, if you are the ICC, the 9 million dollar question :)……
Perhaps they can also interest some of Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine, Naomi Watts, Jude Law, Clive Owen, Kate Beckinsale, Charlize Theron, Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce, Nicole Kidman, Heath Ledger etc. (all from test playing countries) to also star in the movie !:)….. wishful thinking indeed…….
It seems that despite the game being 129 years old, you can still have something new popping up in it. A forfeited test match by Pakistan….. one which they in all likeliness would have won and reduced the loss margin to 2-1, will now look 3-0.
First …. ball tampering……. didnt we get that out of our skulls that it is called reverse swing now? and why would the Pakistan team get down to ball tampering when they are winning the game, and they have 26 cameras on the ball all the time?!?! Afridi’s pitch tampering was caught by 1 off camera in Dec, and he was severely reprimanded, why would Umar Gul, or Asif, 2 new guys who need to prove their mettle tamper with the ball to take out the seam? only 6 months after one of their team mates nearly had his career ended on an unfair tactic caught by the camera??
Then again, what did they tamper it with?? dirt in pocket? bottle cap?? In truth, the umpire only had a ‘suspicion’ that the ball had been tampered with….. All that he needed to do was to bring that to the notice of the match referee, would would have then at the end of the day looked at the footage of the day to find some proof…… either that or the umpire saw something happenning and was witness to ball tampering…..
Interestingly, neither is true…. the umpire was not a witness to anything…… he only saw the ball losing shape and seam, and immediately accused the team of ball tampering??!?! No camera footage, no witness….. only a feeling coming from a man stubborn enough not to think that he probably did not follow the logical pursuit ……
Interestingly, this time around the fight is not between ECB and PCB, as usual, but between PCB and the ICC umpire…… the English media has been supportive of the Pakistan team so far, including the commentators and the press……. Also a joint statement was issued…….
It was a pretty bad situation…… its not obvious what the team was trying to do when they did not come out to play initially….. did they actually forfeit the game?? Perhaps they did….. but then they came out, thinking that it was not a good thing to create such a big issue at that point in time…… the umpires did not come out then…… why? If the game was over, then the Pakistan team should have been told and they should never have been made to come out in the first place…….
Daryl Hair is actually a pretty bad umpire…… Pakistan team also considers him to be biased, and asked the ICC not to appoint him in their matches…….. that was before this series, and this incident has now come up…….
Hopefully the Pakistan team stays there and plays the ODI series….. I know that they would not do so under Daryl Hair…… the umpire may have to be changed……
Why they must? Because only they can.
C&G Trophy exposure, like the one given to Scotland and Ireland this year is an excellent oppurtunity for the associate nations. First of all, they play against many of the best, a standard much higher than what they will be able to muster on their own, and even higher than what most other domestic teams from other countries will be able to offer them on a tour. Secondly, it is great for exposure. A very talented player, performing well, will get a look in by the counties, perhaps for a stint as a second XI or perhaps even first XI player. But the most important thing is that the whole thing is played out over 3 months, on weekends, so nobody has to take time off from work, like Netherlands has to on a tour otherwise. The thing is that only a few countries can technically participate in the English domestic season; France, Belgium, Ireland, Scotland and Netherlands. The first two are not at the level where they can compete with counties, the third and 4th are already playing in the tournament. So that leaves only Netherlands (I am assuming that it would be too much of travel for Denmark to undertake, and I also dont think they would be that competitive against full county sides). England have to incorporate them to raise their standard, because if they dont, its not like India is going to do so. England being the only European cricket powerhouse has a tougher task of single handedly assisting the other associates. Once the associates become strong enough on their own, England can always take a back step and split the duties on development.
Well, I was expecting that taking the time out to play a solitory ODI against a country that is only 5 hours away by car is not going to be that difficult for England, but apparently it is as England have denied any chances of that happenning.
I believe that one of the litmus tests for the new ODI nations will be how many tickets they can sell for their ODIs that they are hosting at home. Looks like Ireland is doing pretty well. The original capacity of the stadium was 6300, which they have now increased to 8000, and nearly all the tickets have been sold (there are still 2 months to go for the match!!). This may be just because its a one off event, because its the first time Ireland is playing an ODI, or because its the first time a full England team is going to visit them.
Or it may be (and I hope it is), because the people over there really want to watch cricket.
At Pound 35 per ticket, the board is likely to make around 280K Pounds from this match ($490K) and should help the board very significantly for their future endeavours. 3-4 games like this every year, and the ICU will be able to start the process of contracting players and arranging for their tours at cost.
All of Ireland, Scotland and Netherlands are holefully going to show the rest of the associates how the transition is done, and how the ODI status is best used to develop their game and raise the standard.
This will be really good for Scotland if England do accept the invation. As one can see from the Ireland v England match this summer, these two British Isles countries manage to draw their biggest crowds against England. Scotland would be able to sell a quite a few tickets and get some money going to the association.
I hope against hope that England is also going to treat Netherlands in the same way, and also give them an ODI. Usually, it seems that England treats the British Isles countries a little differently from the rest.
One thing that the developing Cricket world usually forgets is that the English county teams, at least 10 of the 18, every year embark on a 10-14 day pre season tour to warm up for the county season. In all cases, they tour countries NOT in Europe, because the weather in March and April is still too cold to play cricket. For example, this year Essex, Somerset, Gloustershire and Notingamshire toured SA, Surrey and Middlesex are touring India, Durham is touring UAE, and Lancashire is touring St Kitts (part of WI Leeward Islands). One can see that the objective is just to warm up, because the county players are actually looking for opposition which is slightly weaker than the county sides that they will face in the season. Also, due to cost factors, the county side manages to stay put in one city, and tries to play the games with club opposition, and not domestic sides of the country they are touring. The exception is UAE, as was Zimbabwe in the 1980-1991 period, where they actually play against the national side under the logic that the national side is still weaker than the county opposition in the season.
The main point is that the cost of the tour is borne completely by the English County touring. The home side has minimal cost.
The new cricketing nations, or minnows as they are called, should make use of this as much as they can. For example, why doesnt the Kenyan Cricket board invite a county side to tour them instead of SA. It is going to be slightly cheaper for the English county as well. Namibia can do the same. So instead of 4 county sides touring SA and playing against the University teams or club teams over there, they can play against National opposition from Kenya or Namibia. I dont think the national teams from the second tier are that much weaker compared to clubs in the test nation. Maybe domestic teams from test sides are stronger, but not club sides.
The asian countries which can make use of these tours are UAE, Nepal and Malaysia. UAE is already doing it, and this is their second year running so that is excellent omen for them. Nepal and Malaysia need to step up. They have the facilities to host a cricket side for 2 weeks, and they have the grounds to play the games as well. It would be good for for them if the tours can take place in these countries instead of India.
Finally, regarding the Americas, instead of WI, the tour can go to either Canada, Bermuda or, surprise surprise, Argentina. I dont think Canada would be able to host the touring side because they are unable to get their team together due to the expenses involved in travelling. Bermuda apparently does not have the facilities (though it is surprising to me that they dont), and apparently there is a problem with the pitches on which they play. Argentina then appears to be the best bet for the touring side, and perhaps the MCC that had such a good tour of Argentina in Jan 2006 can put in a few good words for the country's cricket future.
This is just an idea, that associations need to think upon. Zimbabwe played at least 2 county sides every year from 1980-1991, and that was instrumental in their raising the standard of the game in both the first class and the one day format. It also gave great exposure to the Zimbabwean players to the county circuit, and many of them ended up becoming professional cricketers in the counties that they impressed on their tour e.g. Kevin Curran etc.