The ICC has realised that the ‘Big Three’ changes pushed through in 2014 were…
(a) taking the piss a bit; and
(b) liable to lead to the complete implosion of the sport in the long-term
They have therefore resolved to do something different instead; something a bit less shit.
Probably. We wouldn’t blame them one bit.
Imagine being down the pub with your mates, talking about cricket. The company’s good, the beverages are exquisite: you’re in your element. The next day, you find yourself in an overpriced city centre drink hole along with some colleagues. They’re talking about potential comings and goings during football’s winter transfer window. You stand awkwardly, sipping some sort of acrid liquid which you’d assumed was the best option available to you. You’re not in your element.
In his last international match – a Test match against South Africa in Delhi – R Ashwin bowled 49.1 overs in the second innings, taking 5-61. He took 31 wickets in the series at an average of 11.12, conceding 2.09 runs an over. For his part, Ravindra Jadeja took 23 wickets at 10.82 and conceded 1.76 runs an over.
The pair were strike bowlers, holding bowlers and they barely took a break. They did everything.
But cricket encompasses a lot. Today, in a one-day international against Australia, Ashwin took 2-68 off nine and Jadeja 0-61 off nine. They were bit-part players and, but for Ashwin’s wickets, it could even be argued that they were liabilities.
So it goes. Sometimes all you can do is sip your Amstel and try and make the best of things.
In an interview with George Dobell for Cricinfo, the outgoing chief executive of the Professional Cricketers’ Association, Angus Porter, suggests that men’s cricket could adopt the points method used in women’s cricket where success in T20Is, ODIs and Tests is combined to decide the best side.
Not the worst idea of all time.
One of the major issues in the sport is that we frequently have tours where one nation overwhelmingly cares about one-dayers while the opposition only really cares about Tests. They’re not different. It’s all cricket. Why not draw the formats together, rather than pitting them against each other?
For all the talk about how we can revive the ailing longer format with day-night cricket and some form of Test championship, the truth is that cricket, in a broader sense, is in relatively rude health – so why not exploit that?
Cricket is all about diversity: different pitches, different weather, different approaches to batting, different types of bowler – and yes, even different durations of match. It makes perfect sense to treat it all as one.
You want every match to have context? How about if all those meaningless one-dayers and dead-rubber Tests contributed to establishing which is the best team at cricket?
A World Test Championship? So limiting. Why not have a World Cricket Championship? Everyone could get behind that.
Coming to somewhere in India at some point in March, it’s ICC World Twenty20 India 2016!
If you think that sounds like an almost random selection of words, abbreviations, places and numbers, think again. The Twenty20 World Cup is HAPPENING.
Look, they’ve even finished the logo.
They’re not quite sure where they’re playing any of the matches yet, but, you know – details.
We’re sure they’ll have all the information out in plenty of time for- OH SWEET MOTHER OF SOBERS, IT’S 2016 IN A MATTER OF WEEKS. WHO KNEW? THE TOURNAMENT IS ALMOST UPON US. EVERYBODY PANIC!
Facing his 46th delivery, Hashim Amla inside-edged the ball past his stumps and into space. Trawling through his memory banks, he happened upon the correct course of action and moved his body up to the other end. With the ball still enjoying a rare moment of liberation, he then jogged back.
Three balls later, still high on adrenaline, he edged one through the slips and increased his total by a further 50 per cent. Somewhat dizzy, he then played out two successive maidens before accidentally defending the ball into a gap off the final ball of the next over, which forced him to score another single.
Another maiden followed, but then came the big moment; an event no-one thought they’d see. Presented with an inviting ball on his pads, Hashim Amla deliberately scored a run. In fact, he scored two and was so scarred by the experience that he then bedded down for 39 successive dot balls.
Having helped deliver South Africa’s first wicketless session of the series, Amla emerged after tea and promptly hit a four. It seems he had retrieved his gearstick during the interval – and he wasn’t afraid to use it. Upon the dismissal of Temba Bavuma shortly afterwards, he employed that gearstick to change back into neutral.