The IPL tried to put a price tag on the priceless this week. Only $260,000 for Jesse Ryder? His wrists are worth more than that on their own. Glenn Maxwell went for $1 million. In what world is Jesse Ryder one-quarter of a Glenn Maxwell? Even accounting for the fact that Ryder is not a Victorian.
Yet despite all the dump trucks of cash the IPL earns, the Indian women’s team lacked professionalism and could not qualify for the Super Sixes of the Women’s World Cup. Many in powerful positions don’t consider women’s cricket a real form of cricket and the BCCI don’t embarrass easily.
A country as inspired by cricket (and as rich from it) should not be missing out on the Super Sixes stage of a tournament with a largely amateur set up. For the price of one Glenn Maxwell, India could become a powerhouse in women’s cricket. Mind you, they did lose to Sri Lanka, which is fast becoming the thing to do in women’s cricket.
Not that Suzie Bates’ New Zealand did. The Sri Lankans are capable of amazing feats, and abject failure. So far they have achieved both in this tournament, stunning England, falling down a hole against the Windies, embarrassing India, and getting beaten up by New Zealand.
Australia, on the other hand, are unbeaten in the World Cup, and they can thank the edge of Holly Colvin’s bat for that. Anya Shrubsole and Holly Colvin did that thing that makes TV executives cry pure tears of dollars, a 10th-wicket partnership that put on 31 of the 34 runs they needed. There is nothing like watching tail-enders score with ease to start with, before tightening up when they realise they should actually win.
Pakistan don’t have to worry about that at the moment. They were cut into tiny pieces by the world’s best bowling attack. Even Dale Steyn, who hasn’t needed to take a top-order wicket in over a year, thought he’d sharpen his blades on a batting line up that played the new ball like it was a robot killing machine.
Shane Watson also came back into the side, and back into form, and beat the Windies around the head in a pointless ODI series. Kieron Pollard responded by hitting a brilliant hundred and putting a stump down his pants. But the series was over before it started, and perhaps the only entertaining thing has been the sledging match between Chris Gayle and James Faulkner, which moved into the digital world when Glenn Maxwell talked about it on twitter. I like the idea of players continuing to sledge each other on twitter, but like I’ve always said, what happens on social media, should stay on social media.
Praveen Kumar keeps his aggression on the field. Umpires in his Corporate Trophy match have deemed him mentally unfit, after his screaming, chest bumping and headbutting an opposition player who dared to enquire if one of his deliveries was a no ball. In real life, screaming and headbutting is not nice behaviour, but in a fast bowler (even one as slow as Kumar) it’s pretty normal.
Another normal is former Australian cricketers coming out with their own opinions and manifestos on the state of Australian cricket. Shane Warne at first, then Jeff Thomson, and now Warwick Todd. Todd, a flighty middle order player in the late 90s who has been quiet of recent years, was moved by the current state of Australian cricket to come up with his improvements:
CEO of cricket or GM: Steve Waugh
Boss man, cricket supremo. The coach, captain and support staff are answerable to Tugga. And Tugga is answerable to no one, except major sponsors and/or David Gyngell.
Coach: Arjuna Ranatunga
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I think a coach is not needed at the top level of our game. It’s a stupid, pointless role, suitable only for a complete loser. Arjuna’s got what it takes.
Fitness Coach: Greg Ritchie
Fat Cat’s form in this area speaks for itself. And it may be a big role but this is a bloke who has always been prepared to bite off more than he can chew.
Drugs in sport.
I have no time for cheats who use drugs. I believe in the natural high that comes from representing your country, or half a dozen Crown lagers.
Todd’s great mate and kindred spirit, Darren Lehmann, has told potential father Chris Lynn to put his fatherhood before his cricket. Now, if you are a man, and you are eating, put the food down. Lynn was hit in the testicles by Doug Bollinger, and usually all that means is a few laughs and bad taste slo-mos. Unfortunately, Lynn’s testicle did not recover after some stretches. It then did not recover even after a needle was put in to drain the fluid (glad you put your food down now, aren’t you).
“The swelling just kept on getting worse and worse. I had it drained with a needle and it went back to normal but then the swelling started again.” There is no slo-mo footage of the needle being inserted. Thankfully. Lynn will potentially miss the rest of the season as he’s having an operation of which I gladly know none of the details.
There is a picture of a man holding two balls in a story from Queensland that has nothing to do with Chris Lynn. It’s because Rhys Yorke took two hat tricks in two days.
You’re probably thinking this guy is the bestest bowler ever, but, like everything in Australian cricket at the moment, the amazing event was turned into a rant on how bad Australian cricket is by the first comment on the story. Disgruntled Valleys player of Brisbane North said: “I was his second wicket on the Sunday, I’ve never faced a slower opening bowler in my life!! Can’t believe he took two, the state of grade cricket is surely diminishing.”
Rhys Yorke, unlike Jesse and Glenn, went unclaimed at the IPL auction. Chris Morris went for $625,000, despite only seven people having heard of him before. That makes it sound like the IPL is printing its own money, and for the BCCI, it might be, but the Kochi franchise still haven’t paid money to players from last year’s IPL and Rajasthan has been hit with an $18.8m tax bill. It’s not all sunshine and happiness in the world’s biggest domestic tournament.
With the women’s team struggling, the men’s team losing ODIs against England and Kane Richardson taking back a sack of cash, things in Indian cricket are just not that right at the moment. Luckily, there is a solution: Mohammad Azharuddin has said he would love to take up a coaching position with India. I really can’t see any valid reason why the BCCI wouldn’t want him as coach.
As for Pakistan’s premier league, the Pakistan Super League, it has been postponed indefinitely. They have had plenty of interest, they say. Coincidentally, that is what I say when people ask how my screenplay of Godzilla vs the Zombies is going. It is rumoured that the boxer Amir Khan wants to buy a franchise. Luckily for him he now has a fair bit of time to find the money to do so. It was supposed to be from 26 March to 7 April. It is now TBA.
In a London warehouse an 8-a-side company cricket tournament did go ahead. In one side, players of many countries were involved in an inter-racial, inter-sex indoor cricket team. Jonathan Campion explains his team here
“I had a month to teach three Russians, a Ukrainian, a Bulgarian, a Slovenian and a Vietnamese – four lads and three ladies, none of whom had ever played before – how to bat, bowl and field. Finding time to practice together was difficult (I am surely the first captain to cancel a net because my best bowler was in Magnitogorsk), but three lunchtimes a week I took a Kwik Cricket set to London’s Regent’s Park, and made everyone try each of the skills. My teammates’ enthusiasm never wilted: Anglophiles all, they threw themselves into the challenge of a complicated English game.”
Unfortunately they did not win their competition, but the players did say after the tournament that the loss was a wake-up call, and by almost winning their last game they feel they have the momentum for the next series.
Victoria needed no momentum to defeat the England Lions this week. Rob Quiney was awesome. Because Rob Quiney is awesome.
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